Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Apparently, I'm snarky, sarcastic, and condescending...

I don't generally make a habit of looking for criticism.  I rarely Google myself or my blog.  I figure I might find something I'd rather not see.  Last night after dinner, I was sitting with Bill in our living room.  I used my iPad to look for comments and check my stats with Statcounter.  I had  typed "The Overeducated Housewife Blog" as a search term on my Google app so I could easily find it.  I usually don't look beyond the first result or two when I Google "The Overeducated Housewife".  For some unknown reason, last night I decided to see what the other results were.

I found a number of other blogs called "The Overeducated Housewife", all of which were aborted after just a few posts.  Then, maybe a few more results down the list, I found a reference to my blog on a Web site on Tumblr called CharmedXConfessions.  It appears to be a fan site for the old show Charmed, starring the actress Alyssa Milano.  I noticed that the mention of my blog on the Google results indicated that I'm "snarky, sarcastic, and condescending".  Naturally, I was curious about that, but because I was on my iPad, I couldn't search in detail at the time I discovered the comment.

Just now, I went back to see what was said about me and I came across the following passage, which was apparently in someone's English composition entitled Alyssa Milano College Essay- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.  I have cut and pasted the mention of my blog exactly as I found it.

In contrast to this positive publicity, Alyssa Milano’s television pleas for UNICEF have also drawn detractors. One blog particularly singles out her commercials and those of Sarah McLachlan for the SPCA as “melodramatic pleas for donations…when I watch those ads I feel manipulated, emotionally blackmailed…even shamed” (Overeducated Housewife 1). This blog dissects and raises issues about the pictures/techniques used by UNICEF and other international children’s charities that form the backdrop for Milano’s and other pleas. The blog says these commercials show:

—the depiction of fly-covered, malnourished children with large eyes and

anglicized names

—the plea for only 50 cents or the cost of a cup of coffee daily

—the shaming technique of repeatedly asking what’s your excuse for not calling

NOW to pledge support

This blog questions the use of charitable dollars to pay for expensive television advertising. It also asks whether the celebrity spokespeople are paid for these commercials. Finally this blog raises the question of whether these celebrities personally donate substantially to the causes they are asking others to support. A defender of Milano on Overeducated Housewife points to her $50,000 donation to UNICEF and challenge to corporations to do the same. But questions about the appropriateness of wealthy celebrities pleading for the disadvantaged, the use of charitable dollars for self-promotion, and the lavish staff salaries paid to the leadership of some of these charities (i.e. the CEO of UNICEF makes $454,855) remain and are echoed on UNICEF’s Facebook page, in other blogs and in circulating emails. Milano’s association with UNICEF could, in some circles, taint her as minimally naive or even worse, as complicit in these questionable uses of charitable dollars.

The Overeducated Housewife blog in general features a number of snarky, sarcastic and condescending articles on a broad range of topics. The majority of articles seem to be critiques of writers, celebrities or other public figures who the blogger does not like. The blog links to a Facebook page with the name “Knotty” (a pun on Naughty? A reference to the knotty issues it covers?). The face is blurred on a number of images including the profile picture so it appears this blogger is choosing to remain anonymous. Her motto on the blog is “just another boring blog about being a boring housewife.” This motto and the blog’s tone seem to define its audience as educated women who feel they are overeducated for the boring job of being a housewife. The critics of Milano’s involvement with UNICEF, in general, come across as whiny, rude, privileged and nit picking people who are criticizing both a charity and a celebrity who are seeking to impact some of the world’s most pressing and recalcitrant problems. They are not seen as positing positive alternatives, but simply as critiquing and seeking to tear down others’ efforts.

I am not really offended by this person's observations, by the way.  In fact, I am kind of amused by them.  It's pretty obvious to me that the author of the essay did not spend a lot of time reading my blog.  I'm even more amused that this person would include my comments in what appears to be an attempt at a "scholarly" paper.

The commenter found a post I wrote a few years ago about the ads for charities that typically reach a fever pitch during January.  I happened to mention Alyssa Milano in that article from 2012 because she was, at that time, pitching UNICEF.  Although I generally like Alyssa Milano and grew up watching her on the show Who's The Boss, I found that particular ad for UNICEF very annoying.  I chose to write about it, along with ads done by a number of other celebrities collecting money for causes running the gamut from the ASPCA to the Christian Children's Fund.  I certainly didn't devote an entire post to how annoying I think Alyssa Milano is.  On the contrary, I admire Alyssa Milano very much.  In fact, I also admire UNICEF and the good work it does to make the people of the world healthier and happier.  I just didn't like that particular UNICEF ad.  I also think the commenter completely missed the point of that post.  It's not that I object to celebrities who do fundraising for charities.  I object to the manipulative ways they go about doing that work.

Celebrities who do good deeds are to be commended.  I think it's great when someone with money and influence is able to effect positive changes in the world.  I don't have a problem with anyone involved with charitable organizations, especially if they happen to be public figures.  However, as a bored housewife who sometimes watches too much TV (at least when I'm stateside), I am often irritated by the melodramatic, guilt-mongering, begging commercials for charities.  That's just my opinion and I feel free to state it on my personal blog.

I didn't realize it was my duty to always be uplifting, positive, and looking for ways to make the world a better place.  But I am flattered that the person critiquing my blogging efforts apparently feels that I am important enough to have that role.  It's funny, because only on my blog has anyone seemed to care much what my opinions are.  Past commenters have chastised me for being too negative and reminding me that I have a "wide audience" out there in Internetland.  According to them, I have a "responsibility" to always be fair, kind, honest, and positive when I write my posts.  Ha!  Actually, I find the above comments about my "overly critical" attitude toward Alyssa Milano's UNICEF commercials kind of rich.  Isn't the author of the English composition guilty of the same thing?

My nickname "knotty" is short for knotheadusc, which is an Internet handle I came up with around 1999 or so.  Originally, I just wanted to call myself "knothead".  That was what my dad used to call me all the time when I was a kid and it seemed appropriate to call myself that at the time.  Others had the same idea, since I frequently found that name taken when I tried to register it on different Web sites.  Since I was a graduate student at the University of South Carolina at the time, I added the letters USC to the end of "knothead".  After awhile, people who got to know me online started calling me "knotty".  When I started this blog, I was trying to stay somewhat anonymous, mainly because I didn't want trouble from my husband's ex wife or others I vent my spleen about.  So I called myself knotty on my blog.  The nickname "knotty" is not a play on the word "naughty", though some people might think it fits.  They'd probably be right.  Honestly, had the paper writer just asked me, I would have explained it.

Anyway, now that my husband's kids are adults, I don't care so much if people know who I am.  My real name is Jenny.  I have even mentioned it a few times on this blog.  Call me that if you think it's more appropriate than "knotty" is.  The blurred pictures the commenter mentions are probably more because I'm a shitty photographer and feel too ugly to show my face than a real desire to stay anonymous.  But even now that you know my name, wouldn't I still kind of be anonymous to most people?  What difference does it make what I call myself if you don't actually know me personally?

As for the title of the blog, I named it so because I spent seven years in college and I am a housewife.  It's not because I think I'm "too good" to be a housewife.  On the contrary, I actually feel like even if I wanted to find a full time job, no one would want to hire me.  And yet, I do have all this formal education, which is not required for me to do what I do every day.  Believe it or not, I am not bragging about my education.  As a matter of fact, I sometimes wish I'd been smart enough to just stick with my bachelor's degree.  It would be nice not to have to pay so much for degrees I don't use.  I surely don't look down on housewives.  How could I?  I have been one myself for a long time.  I'm not even a very good housewife.  It is what it is.

Most people who read this blog are drivebys looking for information on specific topics.  The person who thinks I'm snarky, condescending, and sarcastic clearly only read my post about UNICEF and maybe glanced at a couple of other posts to get a very basic idea of what this blog is about.  Since this blog is almost six years old and one can see a list of the most popular posts by glancing to the right, I don't think the commenter got the most accurate picture of The Overeducated Housewife's contents.  I do feel kind of special, though, that someone referenced me in their English composition assignment.  Wow!  I'm in someone's bibliography!

I was a student once, too, and I'm pretty sure the author's ideas about me and my blog were not at all personal and were gleaned very quickly.  Shucks!  He or she probably just wanted to finish their paper and used my comments about charities as something to flesh out their required essay.  And it's also not lost on me that I've done the same thing with today's blog entry.  

Folks, let me remind you that I'm just a regular middle-aged woman living life.  If I come across as snarky, sarcastic, and condescending and you find that offensive, I do apologize.  I am just being myself.  Not everyone likes me, but that's true for every living person because it's impossible to please everybody.  This blog was more or less originally meant as a place for me to vent.  Contrary to apparent belief, my blog is not that popular.  I do have some readers who lurk and read everyday, but there really aren't that many.  Even fewer bother to comment.  I started the Facebook page to give people a way to contact me other than commenting on the blog itself.   As you can see, it doesn't have that many followers, either.  

I hope the composition earned a good grade, though if I wanted to be snarky, sarcastic, and condescending, I could probably rip that paper to shreds using my overeducated English lit skills.  I won't bother, though, because I have better things to do with all the time on my hands.  I think I'll go troll YouTube and see if there's anything there begging me to write one of my "snarky" blog posts.  Bonus points for something I can rag on posted by a public figure.

For those who are curious... This is what I look like.  Actually, I look better than usual in this photo because I was dressed up to go out on a date.


  1. It's a beautiful picture.

    You're sometimes snarky and sarcastic (characteristics that I don't consider to be pejorative) but I've never felt that anything you've written was in any way condescending.

    1. Thanks Alexis!

      I try not to be condescending because I don't like it when people are that way to me. But I will admit to being snarky and sarcastic and I definitely admit to being negative a lot. I think it's funny that I got referenced in someone's paper. I guess I've arrived.


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