Showing posts with label kelle hampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kelle hampton. Show all posts

okay I guess I'm going there after all

Quickly want to share an excerpt from the best thing I've read yet about the attack in Paris: The Blame For the Charlie Hebdo Murders. Now, I try to be more or less apolitical with my blog ever since I realized, with the help of some constructive criticism, that I have a problem with tone where religion is concerned. But twelve people are dead and it's difficult for me to sit on my hands when more influential, further-reaching internet pundits are victim blaming and spouting off ignorant shit about tolerance and moderation and the "sacredness" of "rich traditions".

So in the interest of doing what little I can to counter-disseminate:

The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West—the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be “understood” as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists. 
They are only the latest blows delivered by an ideology that has sought to achieve power through terror for decades. It’s the same ideology that sent Salman Rushdie into hiding for a decade under a death sentence for writing a novel, then killed his Japanese translator and tried to kill his Italian translator and Norwegian publisher. The ideology that murdered three thousand people in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. The one that butchered Theo van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam, in 2004, for making a film. The one that has brought mass rape and slaughter to the cities and deserts of Syria and Iraq. That massacred a hundred and thirty-two children and thirteen adults in a school in Peshawar last month. That regularly kills so many Nigerians, especially young ones, that hardly anyone pays attention. 
Because the ideology is the product of a major world religion, a lot of painstaking pretzel logic goes into trying to explain what the violence does, or doesn’t, have to do with Islam. Some well-meaning people tiptoe around the Islamic connection, claiming that the carnage has nothing to do with faith, or that Islam is a religion of peace, or that, at most, the violence represents a “distortion” of a great religion. (After suicide bombings in Baghdad, I grew used to hearing Iraqis say, “No Muslim would do this.”) Others want to lay the blame entirely on the theological content of Islam, as if other religions are more inherently peaceful—a notion belied by history as well as scripture. 
A religion is not just a set of texts but the living beliefs and practices of its adherents.

(emphasis mine) 

Thank you for reading. And thinking.


confidential to Kelle: Yeah you bet your phony ass this is in response to that ignoramus of a co-exploiter you call Dad. I know you read here, because you're too frantic of a whitewasher to not keep track of your detractors. I know your ex-fans read here, too, because my blog pops up as the number one search result for "Kelle Hampton criticism" - a distinction of which I'm proud and one backed up by the emails that trickle in, slowly but steadily, from those ex-fans.

While I have you: fuck you, for the disgustingness that is publicly monetizing your children's baths. You accepted money to post on the internet, for the uncontrolled consumption of thousands of strangers, intimate photos of your children. In the bath. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES. 

missing the important things

I made the mistake of swinging by Kelle Hampton's blog tonight and saw the saddest thing ever.

She published a post containing photos of her two young daughters playing at a swimming pool; the younger one watching her big sister carefully as she cannonballs into the water. Kelle's commentary on the photos: "I didn't notice what was happening here until I pulled these next pics up on my computer and--Nella's carefully studying and copying Lainey's every move."

There aren't enough frown emoticons in the fucking world.  :( :( :( :( :(

No, Kelle, it's difficult to notice things like the wonder in your child's expression when you're seeing it miniaturized on an LCD screen instead of writ large and beautiful on her actual face.

Fifty-five thousand strangers looking at her children, day in and day out. Fifty-five thousand. And she is completely okay with this.

I don't doubt Kelle loves her kids. But doing right by the people we love is rarely as easy as just loving them.

thoughts on Kelle Hampton

I've been thinking lately about the whole Kelle Hampton thing. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky and just skip this post. But if you must know, here's a quick summary: she's a mommy blogger (three young children of her own, one of whom has Down Syndrome, plus two teenaged stepsons) who is the subject of discussion ad nauseum on GOMI. She shot to internet fame when she published a post about the surprise, postnatal Ds diagnosis of her daughter Nella, subsequently wrote a book about it, and has since built a huge (and it seems, fiercely loyal) readership. Her blog is called Enjoying The Small Things (I choose not to link to it for reasons made apparent below).

I follow the discussion about Kelle more closely than I follow her blog itself, since a) I'm much more interested in the larger implications and ramifications of mommy blogging than in any particular mommy blogger, and b) I don't particularly enjoy Kelle's writing. (And if I'm being honest, that's partly because I'm terrified I share her proclivity for saccharine, cheesy metaphors and pat endings. I think I'm scared that if I read too much of her writing, I'll start to sound more like her than I fear I already do.)

Kelle's Instagram is a hotbed of drama, thanks in part to her father, who often jumps in to defend her against increasingly vocal critics. These back-and-forths can get pretty heated - and are often deleted summarily, presumably by Kelle herself, who has a popular brand (48k IG followers) and some major corporate sponsor relationships to protect. But if you get a glimpse of these comments before they disappear, you'll see they tend to say pretty much the same thing: give your kids a break already, and quit it with the obviously staged, materialism-heavy posts. The consensus among her critics is that her children often look exhausted, annoyed, and overly costumed in Kelle's efforts to present a twee lifestyle - one that is barely challenged (if not enhanced) by her youngest daughter's disability. 

For the record, I completely agree. And it makes me sad to see so many of those kids' intimate family moments splashed across the internet - not because they're not beautiful moments that might be worth sharing - but because they are done so with an eye to earn money from them.

Enjoying The Small Things is a monetized, sponsored brand, whose primary appeal isn't Kelle, or her husband, or her marriage - it's her school-age and infant children. They're what her fans clamor for and ooh and ahh over, day after day after day. I find this deeply problematical and disturbing, to think that kids who aren't even old enough to understand the concept of sales are being used to sell things. The first time I saw the [Target Partner] disclaimer on one of Kelle's Instagram posts, I felt a little sick. What at first glance appeared to be a sweet picture of her older daughter's Thanksgiving craft was in fact an advertisement. For napkins.

Of course, that's just one person's opinion. And someone could easily take me to task for it, saying Ah, but Ellie, you share some intensely personal moments on your blog too, no? Yes. Yes, I absolutely do. And while I'd argue back that these are the stories of consenting adults on a non-monetized personal blog, I'd do so weakly, because there is a parallel, and the point stands.

In any case, I was thinking how so much of the controversy she generates centers around the endless dressing up and photographing of her children. And I was wondering if she scaled back on that, and focused more on writing about them, wouldn't that be a win for everyone involved? But then I realized how wrong I was. It would only be a win for the kids, who'd reclaim some of their privacy. The win I was thinking Kelle would get from that plan - the chance to focus more on the skill of storytelling, without the shortcut of photos - doesn't, after all, strike me as something Kelle would consider a win. She is a photographer first; a blogger, second.

And Target and the other sponsors? No win there. Stories don't sell napkins, no matter how well they're told.

Reflecting on this, it's a short step to musing on the bigger picture - the bigger questions: What do we want to reward? Are we actually okay with monetizing our memories? Are we ready to erase the line between sharing and selling? Is there even any escape if we're not? Now that Instagram includes ads in our feeds, we're all a part of the larger system, whether we like it or not. 

I don't have a solution. I struggle with my own dueling impulses, where this blog and my social media presence are concerned. I'm not always sure that what I write is purely entertaining, and never exploitive of the people I love, or the strangers I meet. Every time I hit publish, I'm making a choice both for myself and anyone else featured in my post, and I have to live with those consequences - which haven't always been good. 

But I do know that what I see Kelle Hampton choosing feels wrong to me. And I wish she'd slow down and think about what she's doing, because she's taking liberties I don't believe she has the right to take. Her children are individuals, little people in their own right - not property for her to do with as she wishes. I cringe every time I read someone say something along the lines of "They're her kids to do with as she pleases!", as if children are so much chattel. 

I have more questions than answers, I guess. I just wish this subject was getting more play in more places, that's all.