AUTHOR: Marty, a.k.a. canape TITLE: Why TNT isn't going to save the puppies DATE: 7/22/2008 10:24:00 AM ----- BODY:
I came across some interesting comments yesterday while catching up on my blog reading. There were plenty of people talking about how they were avoiding Twitter or skipping posts that were about BlogHer because they weren't there and didn't want to hear about it. Some seemed to be saying it in a joking way, others not. You know how it's hard to tell sometimes what the intent is behind the written word.

What I found interesting was the sentiment that BlogHer was a giant waste of money, and if people had not gone, then poverty would have been eradicated. That all the money spent on parties and swag could have done so much good in the world were it not wasted on bloggers who wasted the money to go in the first place.

Of course the logic of this transfer of funds is quite faulty. To think that TNT would have sent several thousands of dollars to feed the children if we had all said NO to attending the party they sponsored is just cotton candy social justice. It wouldn't have happened.

They sponsored that party because they want people like me to tell you how much I like the show Saving Grace. And because they were so lovely and gave me some nail polish and a yummy sandwich, I'll oblige them. It's a good show, and I buy it off iTunes to watch because we don't have cable. End pitch.

It was tempting to leave a comment justifying my decision to attend the conference. Justifying the choice that I made with the money it took to attend. I didn't. And I won't attempt to justify it here either because it doesn't need justification.

Everyone has decisions to make with what they are given be it money, time, or talent. It's called stewardship.

We will never live in a world where people have the same amount of stuff. It doesn't work that way. We will not ever be equally beautiful. We will not ever be equally healthy. We will not ever be equally artistic. We will not ever be equally popular.

If people don't learn to be alright with that, then they are going to spend a lot of their lifetime being very bitter. If you ask me, that's a sad decision to make. But I'll respect it because I would like to have the same respect for mine.

My decision, by the way, is to continue supporting valuable organizations and people in need and attend conferences like BlogHer that enrich my life. Thankfully, good stewardship allows me to do both. For that, I am grateful.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Susie DATE:Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 12:43:00 PM EDT I view BlogHer the same way I view professional conferences. It's about connecting, recharging - learning from each other. The money spent on it is money coming out of participants' pockets, unless you were lucky enough to get sponsorship.

And you are right, if you didn't spent your money on your hotel, registration and flight, would you have given it to the food bank? Probably not.

However, that is not to say that it is not a good idea to have a fundraiser - which BlogHer did. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Bubblewench DATE:Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 1:30:00 PM EDT Very great post. I did not attend, but I am not bitter because people I know did. I don't quite understand that negative mentality myself.

I think it's great that they have such an event and it's opened the door for a lot of people to meet and get to know each other and learn about the community around the world.

Best post about Blogher I've seen so far. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous katy DATE:Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:35:00 PM EDT I like to think that things like this help people....the people who work and live around blogger got a boost in their economy from blogHer and maybe saved a job or two, thus saving a few children from being hungry. You can come up with pro's and con's for about anything if you try hard enough. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Becki DATE:Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 5:21:00 PM EDT Whether you consider it a conference, or a vacation - everyone who went made their own decision to do so for their own reasons and deserves to enjoy what they work for...if that makes any sense.

I'm glad for the people that went and enjoyed it, and for the people who stayed home and enjoyed that.

Bitter Bettys can just hush. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Liz DATE:Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 6:26:00 PM EDT amen.

i'm not bitter...i have a FANTASTIC reason for not attending this year. she weighs just over 8 pounds and is 5 weeks old. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Redneck Mommy DATE:Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 2:46:00 AM EDT Ah, this is why I love you so much. Such articulation. Great post.

i'm just so sorry I didn't get to spend more time with you. I really wanted to connect with you but time seemed to constantly slip away.

Next time. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous slouchy DATE:Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 4:40:00 AM EDT well. as one of the people who wrote such a post, i gotta say i disagree.

you're right that tnt isn't going to save the puppies.

that doesn't mean that the dissonance between all of the (needless) swag and the homelessness just outside the door of the hotel wasn't glaring.

i understand the rules by which conferences operate. still, i thought it was all a bit much. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Marty, a.k.a. canape DATE:Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 11:22:00 AM EDT I saw your post last night (after I had written this), and I don't think we are on opposite sides here. Your post wasn't at all like the comments I had read. You were there and sharing your experience - the comments I read were judgmental and from people who had never and will never be there.

I agree with you about the contrast that slapped you in the face just outside the door. My gut hurt when I was walking past the homeless man passed out on the sidewalk in the middle of the day on my way to the hotel.

The needless swag though, was advertising. Those companies aren't going to take their advertising budget and donate it to help society. The best we can do I think is to reject their products if the waste bothers us. Don't watch PBS and Sprout. Don't use an HP or eat Boca burgers. I see the correlation between excess swag and homelessness as a literary one, not necessarily a logical one (and I'm by no means saying that I don't think you are logical - I have the utmost respect for you and your writing).

We could also let BlogHer know that we care about the people where the conference is held. Is the extra food going to a food bank? Is the money they raise from fundraising going to help the local community?

There are solutions to the disparity I believe. It will be women like you that help us find them.

Thanks for raising the other side of the issue. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous slouchy DATE:Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 11:32:00 AM EDT you're absolutely right.

the contrast between the two IS literary, not logical.

never in a million years could i envision tnt, or yes, even pbs, not advertising.

but all of it in one place was truly overwhelming.

the scale of it. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous kim the midwife DATE:Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 1:29:00 AM EDT I didn't go to BlogHer(even though it is just over a bridge) because I felt like it was for "real" bloggers, like people who make money form it or have lots of commenters. I know this is absolutely not true, but I spend my conference money for midwifery conferences, so going to BlogHer would have been an excess.

When I finally got the confidence- despite feeling like its all a bit cliquish-, it was too late to get a one day ticket.

I skip most of the posts about BlogHer because I'm jealous! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous slackermommy DATE:Friday, July 25, 2008 at 4:58:00 PM EDT Amen sistah! ----- --------