The GSB, 82 Posts And 1 Year Later…
The GSB turned 1 recently, and the past year has been quite the fête of indulgent ranting, drooling over expensive tight, pink, and glittery garments, staging self-imposed and self-contradicted boycotts, fulfilling obsessions with animal print, and chronicling bittersweet educational escapades. I initially wanted to do this post at the end of December, but after realizing that I started this blog in late January/early February of 2011, I figured that I’d do my year-in-review post a year after I started the blog. So pour yourself a big ass glass of sauv b. and join me on my [gratuitously long] trip down GSB memory lane!
In my very first post, I explained that The GSB materialized after I painstakingly shut down my former blog in a kneejerk response to some misguided assholes’ very gross misinterpretations of one of my extra long, extra ranty politically charged opinion posts. The scathing commentary was so unexpectedly offensive that I freaked out, gave up blogging for a couple of months, and all but swore off writing in general. A few sagacious friends told me to stop being a moron and get back to the world of semi-sardonic verbosity. I agreed, and decided to start anew with something a little less heavy-handed (and heavy-headed), aiming to avoid subject matter as polarizing as meaty politics.
My old blog was a similar hodgepodge of pop-culture/lifestyle snarking as The GSB, consisting largely of materialistic wishmongering and sprinkled with recipes, rants, social observations and arrogant proclamations. The GSB was my attempt to expound the funny and curb the serious (and the “cutlery”), though I haven’t fully succeeded in that. Given my giant boner for social sciences, research, and ceaselessly churning out lengthy term papers (damn you, college!), it was kind of hard to let go of my ivory tower ramblings and curtail my style and choice of subject matter (more on this later). Still, I slowly realized that replacing academia with accessories took up a little bit less time and amassed a heftier response from my readership base. I guess most people don’t really go searching through the blogosphere for dissertation abstract fodder. Anyway, the whole blogging thing has been a huge learning experience full of trial, error, and self-actualization.
As I mentioned in my blogger nominations post, I generally do not write for mass appeal. That said, I think that blogging, or any sort of writing, really, inherently comes with at least a trace of this goal or expectation of speaking to a growing, receptive audience. Writing has a built-in ounce of narcissism, or famewhorring, or however it feels to each individual writer. Despite this natural ego-instinct, I still find myself fighting the typical blogger tendencies. My reluctance to “fit in” with the bloggy subculture is further reinforced by my skepticism regarding technological and social advancements. Because I’m slow to embrace all the cool, techy, edgy trends, I tend to be opposed to most of the stuff that all “with it” bloggers are into and I am thus impervious to friends’ helpful traffic-generating suggestions.
Per the suggestions of friends, I got on Twitter. Almost two years in, I still find it to be one of the most offensively unnecessary social media creations in the universe. Not only is it abominably dumb and conducive to egregious time wasting, but Twitter perpetuates the modern archetype of Prostitution Whore-ah-dom at a faster rate than Bravo’s primetime lineup. (And yes, there will be ranty posts about both Twitter and the denouement of Bravo’s programming in the future.)
Per further suggestions, I also tried Tumblr and Blogspot, and hated both with every fiber of my being. Tumblr’s “simplicity” and hideous theme options made me want to crawl under a rock and vomit, and in my early days of blogging, I could not find a single “TUMBLRLOG” worth following because everything I came across consisted of poorly articulated, unoriginal vanilla bs, reblogged blogpaganda, and atrociously trite inspirational quotes. I had to give it up. (To this day I don’t understand the point of Tumblr…I mean, if you want to post a bunch of short quips and pictures, why not just do so on Facebook or on el diablo poquito, Twitter ?)
And Blogspot, what with its “beginner-friendly” user interface that is more counter-intuitive than an Apple product (had to throw some shade just for you, Kimmy ), its creepy stat analytics that show readers’ locations by town, and its Google-based algorithm that refuses to let you fully delete your account as it meanders around cyberspace privacy infringement? That wasn’t so great either. The logistical limitations and general milieu of Blogspot were not worth the purported
famewhorring convenience benefits of GoogleConnect, and so I settled with WordPress. Despite my disdain of Freshly Pressed, the inability to accurately stalk my stalkers, and the nuisance that is this host site’s ixnay on monetized blogging, I’ve learned to appreciate the clean, straight-forward, and relatively professional platform of WordPress. I’ve also found a TON of incredible blogs here. Sticking with this platform has made signing on every day a happy adventure: nothing is more relaxing than catching up on my WP subscriptions!
Finding great blogs was a serious process of trial and error too, though, especially when I joined IFB last spring and tried following all the IFB bloggers who filled my inbox with lucrative offers to “be a part of the great network…as long as you visit my blog and leave me a comment.” I tried to understand what the fuck the armada of Eurasian pre-teens was trying to say to the blogosphere with their insatiable need to post nothing but weird, wordless “inspiration collages” of sullen models shot in a greige filter clad in esoteric labels, with photographs that were obviously lifted from little-known shutterbugs’ websites. Writing “great post!” a million times seemed disingenuous. After making a few “friends” from all over the IFB zone by tossing a handful of tepid compliments and letting the chips fall where they may, I realized that IFB faux-courtships were probably not for me. Nevertheless, I managed to find a few blogs worth befriending, and I still check in to IFB’s website every once in a while just to see if I am missing anything good. (So far, with the exception of their conferences, not really.) Although I just can’t seem to embrace IFB’S FASHION BLOGGER CULTURE, I remain hopeful and partially open-minded to that strange, hoi polloi sector of the blogosphere and what it represents.
Not meshing with IFBLOGSPOTUMBLR has taught me a lot, at the very least, and for that I am certainly grateful. Aside from just realizing that this whole bizarre world exists in the first place (which was unbeknownst to me as recently as two and a half years ago), I’ve learned more about human nature, as well as about myself. I’ve made so many little discoveries about writers’ tendencies; about the relativity (not to mention, the finiteness) of originality; about people’s perceived reality versus actual reality. It’s amazing, from a sociological perspective, how the construct of uniqueness functions within this particular subculture. Case in point: in a subculture (fashion blogging) which distinguishes itself from other subcultures, members follow a certain schema, almost to the T, almost blindly, in such a way that their actions practically ensure that said members are virtually devoid of originality. I guess when everyone is talking about the same exact “It!” trend in the same exact “It!” vernacular using the same exact “It!” stock photos, there is only so much room for creativity. I guess this is the essence of my frustration with blogging in the first place, and why I am always 2 posts away from throwing in the towel myself.
As for my personal journey to self-discovery, I’ve learned that despite my love of the high and haute, I cannot stomach schlocky-but-attempted-to-look-super-cool street fashion. I might pull off fuschia fur, day-glo running pants, or zipper-encrusted bandage dresses, but I cannot do the whole “edgy/sloppy/clashy” thing, and I don’t condone it. I’ve learned that I fucking despise hats (aside from trapper hats, that is.), gladiator anything, rompers (ok so maybe I didn’t need to read any blogs to realize that), and clothing that is ironically oversized (with the notable exception of moon boots and furry vests). I’ve learned that my personal style is defined by the schizophrenic melange of Audrey Hepburn, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Weir, and little else. (Though thankfully, my three distinct style personalities do not usually come out in the same outfit.)
On an existential level, I learned that I am not easily amused, and that I find myself falling below my own standard of good writing, since so much of this blog is comprised of pictures of things that are furry or pink or sparkly, followed by maniacal odes thereto. This is also why I take extended breaks from writing: part of the periodic hiatus is due to my busy schedule, but part is due to the fact that my Materialistic Mondays et al. are mostly driven by (gasp) materialism, and that makes me really ashamed of myself. Materialism, like, really gross, stop-at-nothing-to-get-that-hot-new-bag materialism, is something that I’ve worked to curb for most of my life, against the grain of my Russian culture (and, hell, against the culture spoon-fed to us by Marie Claire and E! News). Perhaps this is why I am so drawn to academia: what could be more diametrically opposed to the desire to procure concrete, unnecessary objects than the desire to analyze abstract, complicated ideas?
I try to have a sense of humor about materialism and my affliction therewith (I mean, you kind of have to, if your idea of a snazzy party outfit is predominantly comprised of shit found in the crafting section of Michael’s and you’re hopelessly obsessed with birds), but nevertheless, I cycle from Russocentric labelwhoredom to shame and disbelief at my own hypocrisy like I have a well-documented Type-II mood disorder. Hey, at least I know how to issue-spot! This will help in law school, right? To further play self-therapist, I also try to view fashophilia less as a materialistic boner and more as an appreciation of an art form.
Maybe Missoni zigs and Pucci paisleys appeal to me on a very base, id-like Garish Street Bird level, but what about vintage Dior, or anything done by Alexander McQueen? That’s art. Use of textile, color, material, and drape is just as much an art form (applied art, if you will) as a post-modernist piece of mixed media abstract art…except unlike a funky painting, everything on a garment, a shoe, or a bag actually has to work. So perhaps seeing this process – from the construction of fashion items to appreciating them on an aesthetic level – is just like appreciating art. The hard part is drawing the line between appreciation and acknowledgment and avariciously adding to one’s growing art collection. Just like you can only fit so many paintings in a gallery until it reaches the point of saturation and ends up looking like an ironic kitschy bar in Williamsburg, you can only have so many “magical pieces” and “staples” in your closet before you start to look like a hoarder.
In the end, keeping these ethos-challenging questions in perspective and re-examining them from time to time is a helpful activity. And who knows, if I didn’t have this ranty ass blog, I might not think about shit like this at all. So all in all, this is a good thing. In the future I think I’m going to try to appreciate the art of fashion more than its price tag. But I’m also going to try to expand my subject matter beyond the contents of my Shopstyle Alerts, and maybe address some other fun stuff that doesn’t require a credit card. I’m also going to be writing for my new blog a lot more. (By the end of 2011 year, I realized that I wanted to start a second blog that deals solely with academic/theoretical issues of law. Wish me luck as I try to navigate my own thoughts and translate them into legalese without dropping a single f-bomb or an obscurely colloquial piece of cosmoebonics!)
Thanks for a really fun year, friends and readers, and by the way — if there’s any subject about which you would like to read a short sardonic treatise here on The GSB, please let me know and I will be happy to oblige!