I'm not an expert but...

... that doesn't make my sharing the things I've done and how I've done them utterly irrelevant on that basis alone. OK, if my content is utter bunk then it might be, but simply based on the fact I'm not an "expert"? In all possible politeness, if that is your point of view, screw you.

If you've missed it, a quiet storm has been brewing over comments Martha Stewart made in a Bloomsberg interview about bloggers. I can empathise with her disdain, which in the full transcript seems to have not solely been aimed at us bloggers, but also at the likes of Gywneth Paltrow. In her own words, 'She wants to be a lifestyle arbiter. Fine. Good. I think I started this whole category of lifestyle.' 

Her multi-million pound business isn't being helped by us new kids on the block, bloggers or otherwise and she got pissy. Fine, her prerogative  and who am I to tell her what to think. There are a few things about Martha's rant at food and lifestyle bloggers, you know, the ones who do the stuff she made her money doing, that really upset me thou.

'Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. 

Sorry Martha dear but neither were you. Martha you studied Art and Architectural History right? Thats your degree according to the great and good Wikipedia. So no relevent training in cookery before catering your first event? Or in journalism before becoming editor-in-chief of your first magazine? Your career started because you catered a book event and a publisher there liked the food, and asked you to write a cookbook. That's a lucky break Martha, congrats on that. Who taught you to cook? By the looks of your well documented history, it was at your elder family members knees. Like most of us you've been inspired by the people who raised you in the all the "lifestyle" things that you used to make you a millionaire.

By the way Martha, some bloggers ARE trained journalists and some are also trained in what they blog about. But I, like you, will ignore those.

I mean there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done,'

Hands up anyone who has followed a recipe in a book or magazine and had it go MASSIVELY wrong? And then asked a friend or been to someones house and they've done the same with the same disastrous results?? I'm calling you out, Jamie Oliver and your Baileys Banana Bread and Butter pudding. I know no one who has not made that and had masses extra custard. But then, maybe Jamie doesn't test his recipes either. But that would be OK, seeing as he went to catering college and isn't a blogger - unlike Martha.

'So bloggers create a kind of popularity, but they are not the experts. And we have to understand that.'

This is the bit I've been ruminating on. Bloggers are popular. Yay! good news for me whats wrong with that. Oh right, not experts.

Don't think any craft or lifestyle blogger I've read  has actually claimed to be an expert in anything. We're critics and amateaurs for the most part right? Unless a blog it attached to a business site. Oh right, did I forget to mention, like she did, that Martha is also a blogger? 

------

My brother writes a fairly awesome economics blog, and while other people may have referred to him as an expert in his field, he never has. He may make out he is an expert, to be honest its all a bit over my head, but economics isn't a creative industry, and that is what annoyed me about this. Sewing, cooking, crafting, whatever you make its a creative thing. Its art with a practical use as I see it - be that wearing it or eating it. You can't be an expert when it comes to making art your good or bad, but either way you can still like it and are still able to share it with others. If they like it and they tell others and wow its great. If not you can still blog, just maybe no one will read it. You can be an expert critic sure, but an expert artist? I think that's just an artist. 

What Martha is effectively saying, to my interpretation anyway, is that unless your blog (blogging the stuff hers does) has a team behind it testing every recipe, and unless you have an editorial team working on making it "fabulous darling" then, at best, you can't know what you are talking about. Or worst, you are a plagiarist. No chance at all you might be a blogger that writes great copy and posts great recipes. Why not Martha? Why do you feel the need to belittle the competition? Who made it your call? Oh right... because you invented this lifestyle thing

One name. Isabella Beaton. 

There have been  lifestyle writers for A LONG TIME. You didn't invent it, you have, however, monopolised the industry for a long time. That monopoly is over. GET OVER IT

I'm not going to say Martha Stewart is an idiot, or that she should shut up. What I would like to point out is that there have been food writers that wrote books that are still bestsellers who didn't extensively test recipes with a team. Some of their other recipes are awful, but others are classics, classics that have been  and continued to be copied and reworked by cooks and chefs for decades. Including, I dare to say, you.

I have a confidence problem, its pretty much why I had to be brow-beaten into trusting my "talents". Not everything is awesome, don't get me wrong, but some things are pretty damn fine. Its good enough that I have friends who wish they could do what I do. But I'm not an expert, nor do I claim to be, I'm just a woman who likes to make stuff, sharing it. If I wasn't I'd charge for my recipes. If I did that thou, I would, and could afford to, get them tested. 

Some bloggers that do the "lifestyle" thing are crap, there is no denying that. I really hope I'm not one of the bad ones(but if I am, for gods sake tell me). There are some excellent ones thou, some people who really know their stuff, write well and they are the Martha's of my generation. They too have been inspired by their mothers and grandmothers to make things to make our home and life. We just have a new medium in order to share that knowledge with the world, and I say thats awesome. 


No comments