Apologies in advance for going a little meta here- I’m about to blog about blogging.
Anyway, as I was waiting for an Important Phone Call, I ended up amusing myself by watching an episode of House. I was never an avid week-to-week watcher of the show, but despite it trying its best to be complex, it’s really a show you can drop in on at any episode and not be totally confused by.
The episode in question is called “Private Lives,” and it’s from the episode’s sixth season. In it, House and co. treat a famous blogger. “Interesting,” I thought to myself. “I wonder how stereotypical this blogger will be.” The answer to the question- WAY stereotypical.
It was apparent right from the first scene, as the blogger sat in semi-darkness, typing a mundane anecdote about her fighting with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend then comes into the room, and she accidentally lets it slip that she blogged their argument. He gets pissed and says something to the effect of “I don’t want you blogging about me, delete it.”
It only gets worse throughout the episode. A reader of the woman’s blog comes to visit her in the hospital, and the two women are on their laptop, with the reader reading the blogger’s blog. At that point Wilson says “You know you’re in the same room, right?”
Later on (potential spoilers if you must see episode six, episode 15 but haven’t yet) the woman finds out she needs a new heart valve, and must decide whether to get a valve from a pig (which would allow her to have children, but she’d need surgery again in ten years), or to use a plastic valve (which could be used indefinitely but would require meds that would cause birth defects). Her boyfriend puts in a passionate plea for the pig valve, the blogger for the plastic, so to tie-break their argument, yep, she asks her readers for advice. They were supposedly the ones who convinced her to become a vegetarian, so naturally they choose the plastic valve.
What all of this illustrates (there’s way more blogger stereotypes in the episode but I don’t want to write about any more of them) is that TV shows and movies still don’t know how to accurately portray people who blog for a living or hobby. Yes, there are definitely some bloggers who are probably like the House character, but don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
There are plenty of amazing, passionate people who blog about things other than every mundane aspect of their personal lives. I think of people like Steve Munro, a transit blogger, a guy who is super active in the Toronto community. He’s an expert on the stuff, but he’s certainly not a shut-in. Or I could even talk about my friend Steph, who has a wonderful website you should all look at called Snacking on Sunshine. She blogs about food while having amazing adventures in London, England (or wherever she is now).
What House also did is make it look like people who blog about everything in their lives are bound to get a lot of readers. People with such general-interest blogs rarely amass a huge following. For every one person that gets famous blogging, there are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of blogs that are read by no one or few people (this blog probably falls a little more to the latter category, as you might guess).
Will an accurate portrayal of a blogger ever exist on TV or in the movies? Probably, and the most accurate portrayal of a blogger would be to cast a regular person, not someone who must grab their laptop after something momentous happens.