The first time I was nominated for an award on WordPress, I had only just started blogging, and had never heard of such a thing. I thought I’d won a Pulitzer Prize! So I checked it out. It was a chain letter. I give an award to seven people, who give it to seven people, and so on until everyone has got one. It’s just silly. I turned it down, as tactfully as I could, and went on about my business.
But I was wrong. It’s not a chain letter. There is something manipulative about chain letters. Something sinister. “Send this on to twenty people or else!” And most of them really are pointless, like a large scale Mexican wave that no-one gets to see.
The awards that go around WordPress are nothing like that. They’re mostly there so that people can be nice to each other. Which can’t be such a bad thing. South Africans tend to feel a little edgy around people who are being nice, and start backing towards the door, but that’s our issue, not anyone else’s, and we need to pull ourselves together.
There is, of course, an ulterior motive. But that motive is to put your blog out there and get people talking, which is kind of what we’re all here for anyway. And if the best way to do this also happens to make someone feel good about themselves and rewards what they are doing, I’m all for it.
But it was too late for me. I’d said no. Politely enough, I hope, not to hurt anyone’s feelings. But no nonetheless. And so, when another one came along, I had to say no again. The person who had nominated me for the first one was one of my tiny handful of followers. I couldn’t risk alienating them by dissing their award and accepting someone else’s. And doubly so for the next one. And so on.
At some point, it became a “thing”. If you, like me, are a devastatingly cool person, you will know how “things” work. You start off doing something for a perfectly arbitrary reason and it becomes part of your vibe. Something you just do. When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to expect, and didn’t have a clue how my ramblings would be received. Just in case people started throwing stones at me, and mocking my blog became an internet meme, I didn’t use my name.
It didn’t turn out that way, but by the time I felt confident that no-one was going to send me a “cease and desist” letter on behalf of the general public, I was 23thorns. Anonymity had become a “thing”. So 23thorns I will remain.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have an issue with WordPress awards, though. They are, you see, too damn nice. They have names like “The Versatile Blogger Award”, and the “One Lovely Blog Award”. They are there for happy people with good, well written blogs and sunny dispositions. That’s just not nice. What about everyone else?
Don’t worry. I’m here to fix that. Not everyone can be the favourite child. There are other bloggers out there, too. Bloggers who excel in different ways. I’m here to give them their day in the sun. In the interests of fairness and equality, here are the first of the new series of “23thorns Blogger Awards”
The Yes, I did a Post about That Award
I’ll start off, just to be fair about things, with the award I’m most likely to receive myself. There are an awful lot of bloggers out there who have set themselves artificial “blog every day this month” type goals. There is no reason to let the fact that you have nothing to say stand in the way of achieving your goal. As I always like to say; If you have nothing to say, just say it louder. That way, no-one will steal your spot in the limelight.
There are also people out there who have a genuine drive to share every moment of their lives on the internet. This happens much more on Facebook and Twitter, but it happens here, too.
I’m not talking about those delightful souls who can take the most mundane aspects of their lives and turn them into something witty and engaging through their mastery of English and comic timing. I’m talking about those who can’t. But try anyway.
At the very least, what these people are doing takes a certain bloody minded dedication, and I think it only fair they be rewarded for it. With this;
It’s the “Yes, I did a Post about That Award”. Stick it up in your sidebar and nominate five other grateful souls to receive it. I expect mine as soon as this gets out there. Then answer these 6 questions;
1. Breakfast. It is without question the most thrilling meal of the day. Do tell? Pictures?
2. Feeling a little tired/weepy/grumpy. Don’t suffer alone. Share.
3. Been to the gym? I smell a story there. Give over.
4. This one time, I went to the library, but I found that I had left my library card at home, so I just went for coffee and then came home. Anything that exciting happen to you today?
5. Tell us more about how you didn’t have a duck when you were small. Please include a picture of yourself without a duck.
6. The weather? Sunny? A slight breeze?
The Sexy, Sexy Sex Awards
I like sex. If I look around at the number of small people wandering around wiping snot on people’s curtains and lying on the floor screaming in shopping centres, I would hazard a guess that I am not alone in this. And judging by the number of people around, I would hazard a guess that people have always had a certain fondness for night time shenanigans. But something new seems to have happened. We’re supposed to be clapping when people talk about it these days.
The first time I became aware of this was when I worked in a bookshop and started selling a book by a woman who called herself “Belle de Jour”. She was a prostitute. But she was no ordinary prostitute. She was a blogger, too, and blogged about her exploits. Everyone was terribly impressed by this. She was smart, educated and eloquent, and somehow managed to present herself as some sort of post-feminist icon.
Which must have been nice for her. But she was followed by a tidal wave of blogger prostitutes. And sadly, there aren’t that many ways to say “We had sex and then he gave me some money.”
“Sex and the City” has a lot to answer for, too. There were sex columnists before, but after the show came out the world was suddenly filled with people discussing sex in frank and open ways, and then pausing to allow for applause. I can’t read the news without someone reviewing a five-speed, three-headed sex toy in alarming anatomical detail or giving an eye watering account of their recent encounter with three longshoremen and a trapeze artist. Yay. Aren’t we all so grown up?
If I turn on the radio at lunch time on a Friday, I can hear people phone in to talk about overgrown labia and erectile dysfunction. How people managed a hundred years ago is beyond me. It’s not like we have interlocking parts and a raging hormone machine driving us on or anything.
WordPress has not escaped unscathed. A few years ago, some sweet, innocent young college student made the headlines by auctioning off her virginity. She was instantly famous. Her parents must have been so proud. But here’s the thing. Yesterday, while browsing through my WordPress reader, I came across two other sweet young things auctioning off their own innocence. It must be such a sad and lonely thing to do, because by now, no-one cares. It’s been done before. It’s not clever any more. They are just also-rans with cut-price virginities. They must be in dire need of a hug.
So let’s fix that. Let’s show these lonely sex bloggers some love. Let’s give them the “Sexy, Sexy Sex Award”.
To accept this award, they need to stick this badge up somewhere on their blog, being careful not to obscure any arty nude shots of themselves in leather bondage gear.
They then need to answer these seven questions, and nominate five other sex bloggers with whom they have slept.
1. Sex, ay? Nudge nudge, wink wink. Sexy sex? Do tell?
2. Vaginas. Discuss them in as much excruciating detail as you can fit into three sentences or less. Pictures not necessary.
3. Size matters/ Size doesn’t matter. Not nearly enough has been said on this subject. This is your chance to fix that. Calling a previous partner “Mr Big” is not technically against the rules, but is discouraged due to lack of originality.
4. Disparage a previous partner’s performance in less than 150 words. Do your best not to give away the fact that they hurt you deeply and that you pine for them in the cold, dark, lonely hours round midnight.
5. STD clinics. Do you have a favourite, and why?
6. Does your mother know you are doing this? Has she told her friends?
7. What advice would you give to those poor, sad, unfulfilled losers you see holding hands in the park and not writing about it, while you bone your way through a football team, taking notes and coming up with nicknames for their genitalia?
The F@#k You Award
When I started out blogging, I tried not to swear because I knew my parents would be reading. I’ve relaxed a little over time. Swearing is something that people do. If you’re going to be writing about people, the odd little bit of Anglo Saxon is going to pop up from time to time. Sometimes it is apt, and sometimes it is funny.
This award is not for people who write like that. This award is for those hardy souls out there who like to keep it real. Gritty. Hard-edged. People who aren’t going to tone it down just to please a bunch of limp-wristed, namby-pamby mama’s boys who might stumble across their stuff. People who drop the F-bomb four times while talking about breakfast, and slip in the C-word to describe their bacon. Good job, guys! Here’s your award;
Stick it the f@#k up on your sidebar and nominate five other f#@king w#@$ers who know how to use language like a sledgehammer in a pottery store. Then deal with this shit;
1. What the f#@k? Seriously.
2. Do you know what a synonym is? An adjective? A metaphor? F#@k that shit, right?
3. Have you ever worked out why that asshole professor rejected your thesis on Middle English narrative poetry?
4. How many f#@ks do you have to give right now? If none, explain why?
5. Have you ever worked out why you lost your job at that Christian summer camp?
6. Creative use of language makes a piece of writing more engaging and accessible to a wider audience. If this is the case, why aren’t more f#@king f@#kers following your f#@king blog?
7. Construct a single sentence in which the F word is used as a noun, and adjective, a verb and an intensifier.
So there you go. Let’s bring everyone in from the cold. Let’s share the love. Everyone deserves a little recognition. Even me. Just don’t nominate me for a “F#@k You” award. My mother is watching, and if I get one of those, I’m @#$%ed.