January 22, 2014

I Miss Fanny

Is it me, or are blogs beginning to look more and more alike?

Fanny Cradock: Under-appreciated Camp Icon
When I started blogging it was the Wild West.

Now there are book deals and cooking shows to be had and Tombstone has turned to Stepford, with the most successful blogs sharing either the same tedious Spike Jonze meets Zooey Deschanel aesthetic or attempting the sort of domestic goddess with a hint of carefully-calculated marketable vulnerability that makes me want to claw the drapes.

If everyone's quirky then no one is quirky, they're just dull...and Nice.

The cult of being Nice --not too challenging or opinionated or smart or sharp or too good at anything because after all, you're just a gal with a glue gun and a dream-- has made us toothless. It's like meth, but with your pinkies out and it's a damn shame.

I long for the days when Fanny Cradock, not the Pioneer Woman (simply the first blog to book to TV juggernaut I could recall) would storm a laughably meager sound stage kitchen in green chiffon and Bankhead kabuki makeup. She wasn't there to make friends; she was going to teach you how to make a decent dacquoise for once in your wretched life and she couldn't give two shellacked spit curls whether you found her relatable or not.

Of course Fanny's downfall was the same acerbic tongue that made her famous in the first place, but twas ever thus and no villain goes unpunished as long as she's female.

Speaking of La Cradock, I'll actually have my first cooking tutorial on the blog later this week: a quick and easy recipe for authentic Mexican flour tortillas and although I didn't wear a ball gown, a girl wouldn't be complete without a bit of sparkle. Fanny would've wanted it that way.



16 comments:

  1. The Cool Cookie1/22/2014 7:53 AM

    The best blogs are the ones where people put some effort into it. And I ADORE Fanny Craddock because she talks to you and tells you that you can do it, and makes you feel like you can.

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  2. People make money or are hobbyists at similar things all the time. I make a hats or bread for gifts, but I am neither a haberdasher nor a baker. The difference with blogs is that the internet is far less finite than a hat, so it's more likely to run across a hobbyist's work. People putting out professional quality writing deserve income.

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  3. When I started blogging 2 years ago, your site was one of the first plus size sites I'd read, I loved it I asked to be on your blogroll. You generously agreed and then I found that not every blogger was so generous. LOL. I still read what you say and have so much respect for you.
    So...in 2 years, although I've tried, I've made a meager living from my blog. I'm not good with the algorhythms, etc.
    One thing I will say is that whenever I get into a political arena, my weight seems to be thrown in my face as evidence of my stupidity.
    For example: Ma'am, have you gotten on a scale lately? You're hardly the thinnest woman I've seen."
    Or: "Nice profile picture, trying so hard not to show your double chin."
    I don't mind people disliking my opinion, but how is my weight even a factor?
    I know I have to break through the fashion/beauty posts and put more of my own thoughts to paper of computer.
    Anyway, just wanted you to know that you're still one of my all time faves and love that you're liing life on your own terms.

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  4. Andrea Gideon1/22/2014 11:32 AM

    I think you missed my point. I've been blogging for over 10 years, before anyone made money at it. It still feels weird that suddenly, it's a real career. Yes, I am a hobby seamstress and was a professional seamstress in the 90s. I understand that people can make money at things other people consider hobbies. Maybe I'm just showing my age that I'm surprised and somewhat uncomfortable at a career path that is younger than both my children.

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  5. Oh, I just love Fanny! (that sounds weird,doesn't it? No matter...)
    She commands respect, not empathy....and that makes for a better teacher all around, I think.

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  6. I don't mind people making money off blogs. I started out as a blogger for a newspaper and produced the same quality whether it was in print or online. What bothers me is the dearth of actual expertise in so many of these lifestyle blogs because they started out as hobbies and instead of developing technique for what they do, they developed how to look good doing it. A profitable blog will usually be profitable because it fits some tried-and-true algorithm of how blogs "should" work, which means people willing to stick to that format (which admittedly is a commitment and not without merit) are more likely to be successful, get book deals etc than the person who is an expert in their field but whose voice/vision/discipline doesn't allow them to go that route. I don't think anyone benefits from that.

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  7. Exactly. Her tastes and techniques might not have aged well but I admire her tremendously for managing to be both glamorous and no nonsense. I'm an old hand at new media and photo styling. I know exactly how much effort it takes to style, shoot and edit that casual kitchen snapshot, and in my opinion that's time that would be better spent testing recipes or explaining WHY something works better than something else. Food styling is nothing new or wrong, and Lord knows Photoshop can be a godsend, but it strikes me as a little unfair to perpetuate the myth of the simple home cook who just happens to turn out magazine-ready confections. It sets the novices up for failure and the experts up for irritation.

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  8. Ugh. Just ugh. I'm sorry you have to put up with that. I have such a low tolerance for trolls, and there are more and more of them out there. If you're going to be a plus-size fashion blogger of the OOTD sort, it's just troll city. One of the best things about not going totally mainstream is I've always had pretty great commentors (your good self included, naturally) with a minimum of trollage. If I spend too much time reading the comments section of, well pretty much anywhere, I get so disheartened I need to leave.

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  9. Oh I think we all know how you feel about Fanny.

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  10. I agree a lot of folks have an understandably hard time making the mental leap from blogger as whiny kid with a LiveJournal in 2001 to blogger as legitimately profitable career. It's just so new. There are other careers: social media analyst, SEO expert, that are even newer, but because they seem to require a more easily identifiable non-hobby skillset, people tend to have an easier time of it. I was one of the first professional bloggers working for a mainstream news outlet and even though I wrote every day, my grandfather only believed I *really* worked once a week because my writing only went out in print on Thursdays.

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  11. The Cool Cookie1/22/2014 6:54 PM

    Yeah, I see the ones that think they are the next Julie and Julia by copying Julie and Julia. But you are going to be the next big thing, or just be you, you have to be an original.

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  12. Thank you so much Rhiannon!

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  13. I am a mom and I think that means I am supposed to read mom blogs but I DESPISE them. They are all the same "Look at us, we are so perfect and well behaved and don't ever watch TV and our live is just gorgeous and I am just so happy to be a mom, nothing better and nothing I ever need to do with my life again.". I feel the same way about most fashion blogs. However, I read a lot of cooking blogs. There are so many out there and lots of bad ones too, obviously but the ones I read, I just adore and I am always happy when I see a new post because they are, in my opinion, almost poetic. And then I buy their books too and I haven't been disappointed in any of them. The Wednesday Chef and Orangette are my favorites. I love them so much, sometimes when I read one of their posts, I forward them to friends because I love the writing so much.

    The internet brings out the worst of us but also the best of us. It gives people a voice that nobody would have even wanted to listen to 20 years ago and every once in a while, it allows the quiet, beautiful voices to be heard too.

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  14. Kreepy Tin Man2/23/2014 10:02 AM

    Fanny was good.

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  15. Kreepy Tin Man2/23/2014 10:02 AM

    I liked Fanny.

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  16. Kreepy Tin Man2/23/2014 10:02 AM

    Good column.

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