I’m going to talk about Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable today. This is a blog found at http://karencordano.blogspot.com/, written by a high school friend of mine. Compared to some of the electronic literature and games we’ve been studying, I’m not sure that a blog really fits the bill. But it’s such an important new genre, and one of the few that I feel comfortable with, that I wanted to discuss it.
In her blog, my friend Karen discusses the challenges of motherhood, often as they relate to her sometimes paralyzing anxiety disorder. The subject matter is highly personal, and true to its name, it often makes me uncomfortable. The diary-like tone adopted by many bloggers makes me feel like a voyeur reading something secretly, and I don’t like the feeling. I’m a private person, and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who tell-all. In our culture, however, telling all is the norm, and not doing so can make you seem like a Luddite. When Karen’s 2 October 2012 post discusses her body image and especially her fat calves, I felt profoundly upset. This is a concern that any woman can have, and had I read this in a magazine article written by a stranger, I would have sympathized. But because I know Karen, I was embarrassed for her. I wanted to shush her lest someone unkind overhear and make fun.
This got me thinking. Karen chose to expose her fat calves to the world. She must not be embarrassed by them in the same way I am. Sure she’s embarrassed, that’s what the post was about. But sharing them with the world is within the realm of possibility for her. And that means that there are other things that are not within that realm. I started wondering what Karen doesn’t blog about, and I realized that even something as highly personal as a blog is exquisitely crafted to present a persona—and not just any persona. It presents the persona the author wants you to see. So Karen is happy to be seen as an anxiety-riddled mom with fat calves. And that’s who she is. But there is so much more to her that she can never express on that blog, yet the blog reduces her. Instead of making me more comfortable with the genre, it makes me more suspicious.