Monday, December 20, 2004

Loose Fingers Sink Ships

I can't quite figure out if I'm the relic of an earlier and gentler time (always possible, of course) or if I'm just naturally shy, retiring and reticent. But after reading this (The New York Times > Magazine > Phenomenon: Your Blog or Mine?) I begin to wonder if I come from the same species as the people--particularly the women--mentioned in this article. Perhaps the woman who blogged about her sexual conquests--some paid--in Washington thought she was working toward some higher good, but I don't get it.

Um...if I were being paid for my sexual favors--at least, if it was coin of the realm and not a diamond solitaire or a mink or some other bit of trumpery--about the last thing I would do is blog about it. If nothing else, the possibility that indiscretion in my blog might bring the Vice Squad to my door would have a chilling effect. For what it is worth, the last thing would be to put up a billboard in Times Square, but blogging isn't far behind. This may render my blog lackluster, but I find there are still a few things I don't actually want the whole world to know about me. My sexual habits (and whether I get paid for their excercise) are on that list. So are the contents of my refrigerator, my weight, what medications I'm on, what the rudest thing I've done in the last six months is, and the actual count of dustbunnies under the beds in my house.

I'm fascinated by the idea that there are people who post lists of their sexual partners (and other details) or discuss the progress of their therapy, or anything of the sort. My fascination extends to one of the few reality TV shows I occasionally watch, "Airline," where camera crews are stationed at various airports to watch how badly the passengers on an economy airline behave, toward each other but more particularly toward the airline staff. Aside from the complete lack of self-awareness ("What bad language? What shouting, you moronic bitch!" a man screams at an airline employee) the thing that kills me is that each of these people had to have signed releases giving permission to the production company to use the video footage of themselves, drunken, abusive, foul-mouthed or just stupid. I imagine one stand-out woman gathering her family to watch her appearence on the show, proudly pointing out "that's Mama on the TV there!", serenely unaware of how grotesque and brutal she looked. Yikes!

Me, I shame easily. I still flinch over things I did when I was five, let alone last month. I am well aware of my shortcomings; I don't need to post them here and see them on display. I don't think I'll be breaking up the career of Washington diplomats any time soon, but if I do, I won't blog about it.


Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Bear in mind, Mad, that if that Washington sexblogger's activities were at all typical, they wouldn't have been in the newspaper.

The tell-all blog of 2004 is really no different from the webcam (I may not be remembering the term right) of five or six years ago. That young woman is automatically uploading photos of whatever goes on in her bedroom! Le blog is a good deal more mediated and selective than that.

But basically I agree: there are some salacious bits we should just have to wait for the biography to learn.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

HA! You're not a relic at all! In fact, I found your blog to be among the most readable and relatable of the last 5 or 10 that I've read! You hit the nail on the head with 2 things: Something in the NY TIMES made you uncomfortable, and the fact that you "shame easily". These are GOOD things, considering today's media culture! I have a blog at, go take a look, and comment if you like!

4:30 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

It's not just the sex, Greg. It's the whole notion that any exposure is good exposure. Boggles my mind.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that while I am in fact quite shy, I cover my shyness with a demeanor that is not particularly reticent or retiring. But with every moment that passes, I become a bigger fan of discretion...

10:22 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...


"You hit the nail on the head with 2 things: Something in the NY TIMES made you uncomfortable, and the fact that you "shame easily"."

It wasn't so much that that the TIMES (my hometown paper for most of my life) or the article itself made me uncomfortable. It's more like the feeling one gets going past a car wreck: Oh my God, those poor people, (And secondarily, Thank God that's not me there,) Then I start considering why it's not me and realize that I don't behave in a way that's likely to get me in that particular kind of trouble. And the TIMES article doesn't boggle my mind as much as do the people who =want= to be on AMERICAN IDOL or AIRLINE.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

And upon further thought I have to note that the things which will eventually make ink in my wholly fictional and salacious biography are not in the main the things about which I feel decades old shame or guilt.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Ken Houghton said...

Jessica Cutler was actually rather discreet, all things considered.

Ms. Cox has never been described using that word.

7:25 AM  

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