The Privilege Denying Dude Meme Lives On!

So Diana Lopez about two weeks ago decided to create a meme (several examples surrounding) called Privilege Denying Dude, that according to Colorlines writer Channing Kennedy

stand[s] out [because] he directly, and strikingly, parodied the frat-boy culture that fuels much Internet comedy in the first place—privileged, incurious, and ready to educate you about what your problem is.

And the Bitch Magazine blog writer Kjerstin Johnson said this meme

shoveled smarm back in the face of the privileged cluelessness that litters YouTube and social-justice blog comment threads alike (not to mention IRL).

There were over 1,500 PDDs created on the Tumblr feed…and the photographer of the original photo has contacted several sites that put up meme-ed versions — and some have taken down the photos or replaced them with alternatives.

According to Jezebel, the reason for the not-quite takedown requests had to do with the terms of service for use of the original photo because the:

photographer argued that the use of the photo violated the content licensing agreement, and said the model [“young fashionable man” in the iStockphoto database] had been insulted for being associated by those messages.

Tiger Beatdown put the terms of service /contract/copyright issues into a Kanye West style ALL CAPS snark rant:

YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE A MEME. THIS MEME INCORPORATES A PHOTO OF A MODEL. THIS MODEL: HE IS JUST A MODEL! HIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS PURCHASED ON ISTOCKPHOTO. AND HE’S A VERY GOOD MODEL, TOO!

REGARDLESS, HE DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY OF THE STATEMENTS MADE IN THE MEME THAT INCORPORATES HIS PHOTO. OTHER INTERESTING FACTS: CHRISTIAN BALE DOES NOT DRESS UP AS A BAT AND FIGHT CRIME, AND STEVE CARELL DOES NOT WORK AT A PAPER COMPANY IN SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA.

AS FOR OUR USE OF THE PHOTO: IT WOULD APPEAR THAT CRITICISM, COMMENTARY, AND NEWS REPORTING ARE FAIR USE! READ ON, THEREFORE, FOR SOME CRITICISM AND COMMENTARY. AND ENJOY!

Thankfully, there is at least one volunteer to be the PDD — the dude in the sweater (and for some reason, the actor Ryan Gosling has also joined him).

But regardless of the original legalities (or not) of the original photo, this meme will live on, in the way memes do, because the purpose of this meme is to not to pay attention to law and attribution, but to share and share and share … something that is funny because it is what so many non-privileged people experience.

Because despite Audre Lorde’s statement about the masters’ tools on the internetz sometimes privilege can be taken down using its own tools:

Somewhere, deep down, all of us thought that we knew exactly what Privilege Denying Dude would say. We’d had that fight; we’d heard that excuse; we’d read that column. We knew Privilege Denying. We saw this dude’s face, and we knew exactly what it would say. But to have it meme-able — to have a lovable little puppet who could re-iterate everything that had ever made us angry, in bold white font denoting its inherent ridiculousness — was a boon we had not foreseen. Because it was stupid. It was quick. It was funny for approximately five seconds, which is as long as it took for us to scroll to the next post. IT WAS INTERNET.

Being a Princess Doesn’t (Have To) Mean What You Think It Means

I’ve thought about princesses more in the past week than I have in a couple of decades. I read an essay on TheRoot.com  this morning, “There are no Black Kate Middletons” in which writer Helena Andrews laments the lack of black celebrities with which Black women can project their fairy tale fantasies, a la British princess-to-be Kate Middleton.

My first thought when reading the article was “who cares! there are better things to be than a British royal anyway”  But after reading the article again I realized I may have missed another of Andrews’ points: that black women must always consider their burden of race and (often) class, even in fantasy. Her case in point, the recent Disney film, The Princess and the Frog, which features a black female waitress who works and saves money to fulfill her dream to be a restaurant owner.  Andrews says:

As an adult I recognize that the fairy tales I told myself as a kid don’t always come true. That being a “strong black woman” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. That there are indeed many cracks in that stank face. That the bitch armor — chinks and all — is no lasting replacement for a knight in shining armor. Nevertheless, I was excited last year when Disney released The Princess and the Frog. Black women and girls everywhere were overjoyed that finally they’d get to see themselves on the big screen. But the movie didn’t tell your typical princess story… Of course, when we get our princess, she’s pushing a broom and counting her pennies. “It serves me right for wishing on stars,” Tiana laments once she’s transformed from a waitress into an amphibian. “The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work….”

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Is the Golden Age of Blogging Over? Part Two

We’ve talked about blogging’s premature death announcement way back in 2008, and it’s interesting for me to read how I felt back then about the future of blogging as I set here in the present. Back in 2008 I said:

Clearly, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, who needs a blog to get your ideas across, right? [but] blogging has evolved as a medium, as all media do. I don’t think this evolution will affect the old workhorses of the so-called “blogosphere,” the ones who started blogs back in 2002 or earlier, who now blog out of habit, or because they have something new and creative to share, or they have an audience of friends and acquaintances and random people who read regularly.”

In some ways i was pretty wrong and Paul Boutin, who wrote the original “Blogging is Dead” article for Wired was more spot-on than I ever thought. Long gone are the days when having “blogger” on your resume was a mark of shame. Check out the reports from Technorati’s 2009 “State of the Blogosphere Thousands of professional and semi professional bloggers are making a living through their blogs in ways unheard of back in 2002. Meanwhile, hobbyist bloggers have updated less and less, moving to microblogs like Twitter and Tumblr to express themselves.

This evolution has fundamentally changed what it means to be a blogger, with new bloggers jumping into the fray with the intent of making it a career direction, rather than something to do for fun or as a hobby. Which is fine, I am personally thrilled there are opportunities for individuals to create careers from their passion.

On the other hand, those bloggers that have no interest in monetizing their blog, and simply want to create a platform for their own creativity are now the outliers. Expression and inspiration threatens to take a back seat to SEO strategy and personal branding. Again, not a bad thing for professional blogs, but it is a bit sad to see the end of an era, where anyone with an original voice and a personal passion could build an audience through serendipity.

Still, I disagree that old school bloggers should hang up their hats, or that new bloggers shouldn’t bother. There is still room for original voices and new ideas in the blogosphere; it just means that hobbyist bloggers may have to work a lot harder for an audience.

Is the Golden Age of Blogging Over? Part One

Considering social media avenues (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr) getting attention and stories about “the death of blogging” starting about five years ago, is blogging, as the kids say, so over? (Editor’s note: The kids don’t really say that).

What blogging is has changed over time — moving from the simple logging of events to serving as an online diary to many different things — a meld of personal/professional writing, updates about a specific fandom, group blogs around a theme, and a means of reaching out to users/customers.

But many have also stopped blogging. Some blogs have stopped because of too much personal information being found out by employers or others, some due to lack of interest in the topic, some because the purpose blogging served in their lives is now filled by social media, as well as other reasons.

Perhaps the naive high point for blogging was when Mimi Smartypants got a book deal for the first couple of years of her blog. But other bloggers didn’t get similar deals (but she *is* still blogging).

And blogging is hard work. Even if one doesn’t post everyday — or week, blogs require the maintenance of  new posts, through coming up with new ideas, and writing those posts. We’ve certainly struggled with keeping The Learned Fangirl on-point, relevant, and interesting over 175 posts in the past three years.

So many blogs have fallen by the wayside over the years, including some of my favorites, including Sivacracy, where Siva Vaidhyanathan described the end of his blog thusly

So why am I suspending this blog? Mainly, it’s a distraction from my day jobs. I have a massive and painful book deadline coming up. If I continued to blog daily about the election and the state of the world and everything else I would drive myself and everyone around me crazy.

Plus, this is less fun than it used to be. Back in 2004 it seemed fun. Blogs were the bomb. Now, I think my blogging voice is hoarse. And I am tired.

More recently, Bitch PhD also closed its doors. But most blogs fade away when they die, to be sucked into spambotland.

In a followup post, we’ll write about the change in the economics of blogging.