Terryn from Dopereads.com interviews The Champ, as he talks about the origins of VSB, humbling experiences, and his distaste for the term “relationship expert.”
One of the best parts about this whole blogging experience is the interactions it creates. You get to meet new people and exchange ideas with people you’ll likely never ever see in person. The hope is that you matter enough that when it’s all said and done people remember you, and the hope is that the memories aren’t negative.
Well, in similar fashion, one of my favorite parts of blogging is the feedback. And the criticism, and perhaps masochistically when people come at me sideways. I’m like a battle rapper in that regard. All beef is worthy of being taken on. So is all criticism if its sincere. And to be completely frank, all writers, artists, what have you need honest criticism and feedback in order to grow and mature as a craftsperson and as a human being. So when I received an email yesterday from Tina Watkins, letting me know that while she’s a longtime fan and reader of VSB, her readership has waned because most of our posts are ridiculous and that my post on the teacher breastfeeding in class and the comments that followed disturbed her. It was with that in mind that she felt compelled to pen “An Open Letter Encouraging Very Smart Brotha Writer Panama Jackson.”
Now, I’m not about to encourage everybody with a grievance to write open letters to VSB – heavens no – but if you do, and especially if you call me out specifically, know that I will respond. And I don’t mean that in an aggressive, antagonistic way, but in a “I respect you enough to hear you out and engage.”
So with that being said, Ms. Watkins brings up some interesting points and I’m going to discuss what I got out of her letter.
PS. Can we keep things civil around here today. I don’t want anybody reading her letter and disagreeing with any of it and taking aim at her. She’s a VSB contributor folks, let’s all play nice. It’s Friday.
What I got out of her letter was this: “with great power, comes great responsibility”. And when it comes to issues dealing with women, that taking some of the stances or presenting issues the “man” way that may or may not exhibit any real empathy or attempts to understand is not only counterproductive, but maybe even doing a disservice to the growth I purport to be seeking out. Oh, and I have a daughter now so I should think of how my daughter would be affected by the way I think, etc.
That’s what I took from her letter. And my guess is that’s something that’s been said to and about a vast number of people who venture here on the daily.
Quickly, much like I’m the kind of guy who always has nicknames, I must also be the kind of cat prone to receiving letters questioning if I was wasting my gifts. I can remember at least two other instances where I received either handwritten or typed letters indicating that the writer felt like I had all the fits in the world but were squandering them by not using them for greater change, etc. One even told me that I should be using my talents for God and and that I was using the vast talents I had for the devil’s work. That might have been the most backhanded compliment I ever received, by the way.
Moving on. I’ve always had a problem with the “with great power comes great responsibility” tagline when it comes to bloggers. Why? Glad you asked. See, while I understand it in theory, in practice it more or less implies that at some point, should you reach a point where you could be considered influential, you have to shift from what makes you happy to what does the most good. While that may sound selfish, the fact is, what usually brings people to you in the first place as a writer is your sincerity and honesty which is largely personal. And you’re ability to connect to people however it may be which is again, usually largely personal. Plus, we tend to pick and choose who we think should be responsible for social change. Diddy has way more influence than I’d ever have but there’s no movement to get him to change the world. And maybe that’s because he told people to vote. Me no know. Maybe it’s because nobody really respects his mind but his business acumen.
Me no know, but the point is if you gained power by being true to yourself, should you alter that version of yourself to hopefully “move” the most amount of people? I don’t know how I feel about that. Now that isn’t to say that you can’t or shouldn’t grow. In fact, if you’re not growing in this business then you’re not only going to lose your fans but you definitely are wasting time. However, how that growth materializes is a very personal thing.
I wrote that post two weeks ago about losing my edge because that’s how I feel. It was honest. But it wasn’t to change anybody’s life. It was because that’s what I felt like writing. That’s how Champ and I have treated VSB. Sure there are times when you feel an obligation to speak on something happening in the social consciousness. That’s part of the gig. People want and need to talk about certain things so you do that. And hell, since we’re a people too we also feel that need. But I know that very little of my writing has an agenda. Hell, that’s probably part of the popularity, there isn’t one…though we’ve been accused of being Kanye d*ckriders on more than one occasion. But largely, I don’t have an opinion on anything until I realize I have one. Which is why me writing about women’s issues would be largely disingenuous.
For the most part, my observations about womanhood are reserved to the differences between the sexes. Of course, on occasion I’ll weigh in on a topic that either matters to me because its been introduced into my world via my child or something. And it’s not because I’m afraid of those issues, its just that I’m not a woman. I don’t even realize half of those issues are issues. Does that make me oblivious…perhaps. I will say that there are some realizations that I’ve made though as of late about being a woman that I intend to broach here. But I also won’t feel guilty if I don’t, nor will I feel like I’m doing myself or our audience a disservice.
Also, I’m not even sure how Wednesday’s post could be considered incendiary. Sure, I focused on the breastfeeding and that was likely only a secondary issue but let’s be real, that’s what the majority of the discussion centered around. I’m not sure if I’m trending towards the mean there or if the mean is just mindless men who don’t realize that boobs are for feeding. Point is, while it’s a shame that we live in an oversexualized, yet taboo-centric nation when it comes to the female form, the fact is we do live there and boobs are boobs. Sure women don’t see the big deal, but that doesn’t make them not a big deal. It’s a larger problem…agreed…but I’m not sure that I feel any obligation to attempt to undo that pathology. Maybe that’s a problem. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know.
Perhaps this is all a copout because I have never had any designs on being an influencer or somebody who would change the world. For the most part I feel like my obligation is to my family and to ensuring that I don’t bring shame to them. Everything else is fair play. I’ve shifted some of my thinking towards creating a legacy that my daughter can be proud of. At this point, between everything I’ve written, all the music I’ve created, and all of the videos floating of me out there, I can make sure that my daughter never has to wonder who her father was should something happen to me. That is honestly one thing that does motivate me. The ability to stay alive through my words for her. While she may not like everything that she reads, she won’t ever think of her father in a negative fashion, I hope. Or at least not permanently.
But does creating a forum with a large following make one a de facto leader? Eh, I’m not sure. A facilitator maybe. But leader? Now, in life, I’d probably be considered a leader but that’s because I can only follow for so long, plus, I’m arrogant enough to think that in most forums I’m as good if not better than everybody else at what we’re doing. Let’s be real, I blog at a place called Very Smart Brothas…arrogance came with the price of admission. However, I don’t know that I ever wanted to use this forum to “effect change” so much as provide a place to think out loud. However, should I ever decide to take on an issue or attempt to change perceptions and bridge any gaps, I’d definitely feel comfortable enough to do it, but it would also be because at that time, it’s just what I felt in my soul.
Which brings us full circle. I get where Ms. Watkins is coming from, assuming I’m interpreting her letter properly, and she’s fair to make that critique and offer her encouragement. It’s all in play and all in bounds. I’ll even take it under advisement. But I also don’t know that I truly feel compelled to become an “issue” blogger just because I have the platform to do so. But who knows, maybe I’ll feel that way at some point. Perhaps a particular issue will compel me to dive headfirst into something and attempt to save some souls or something. Maybe not. But I get my any means on whenever there’s a drought…get your umbrellas out because that’s when I brainstorm.
So I guess we’ll see.
“Now before I finish, let me just say
I did not come here to show out, did not come here to impress you
Because to tell you the truth when I leave here I’m GONE!
And I don’t care WHAT you think about me – but just remember,
when it hits the fan brother, whether it’s next year, ten years,
twenty years from now, you’ll never be able to say
that these brothers lied to you JACK!”
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka HE WHO IS LONG WINDED aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3
Hey guys. Liz here.
Just wanted to give you the heads up that there is no new post today because the site has been on the fritz the past week, as I am sure many of you have noticed.
I wanted to take a minute to apologize for the downtime and the jankyness factor going on here at VSB lately. It’s been a rough week, rougher than usual, but I believe we have fixed most of the problems for now, and we have upgraded our server so the site runs faster.
Yes, that means less 404s, 503s and OPPs.
Sorry if you had problems accessing the site this week. Also, really really sorry for some of you throwback Internet Explorer users who were getting forwarded to a pr0n site when coming to VSB. (Some of you may have actually enjoyed that, I’m not really sure.)
I also wanted to take the time to remind you that you can always subscribe to our RSS feed via your RSS feed reader, or email. That way, you can read our published content in your RSS feed reader or in your email inbox even if the site is down or slow. Click here to subscribe via email or RSS.
If you ever have any technical problems with VSB please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help troubleshoot. And by “us” and “we” I mean “me.” Panama and the Champ can’t help you on tech problems. SMH.
Have a good weekend! Make sure you read P’s very important post from yesterday, since the site was down most of the day.
Thanks for your patience and support!
The homey Max wrote a post last Thursday entitled, “The Trials and Tribulations of the Female Sex Blogger”. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a splendiferous account of the travails of going all full monty for the masses on a daily basis. Kudos, Max. Kudos.
Similarly, we here of the schlong have similar trials and tribulations. While this here blog doesn’t focus on the ole yum yum, bouncy bounce but more of the relationshipinal relationship between the gods and earfs, we still manage to have our own sets of trials and tribulations. And trust me, they are a plenty.
1. We actually have relationships that we have to protect.
Quite a few male relationship bloggers are actually in relationships. What that means is that unless you managed to convince her that the blog is offlimits, wifeyboo is going to be all up in the posts, just like everybody else. What THAT means is that you’re personally accountable for anything that you say on the blog…at home. While I’m not in a relationship right now, I have been for the majority of the time VSB has been in existence. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten into full blown arguments because of things I’ve written on this blog or had to explain myself further because of my particular word choices, etc. Shucks, if you all could be privy to some of the IM convos The Champ and I have had about who could and could not write about certain things because of our relationships…let’s just say, there are a lot more topics left on the table that neither one of us was ready to discuss at home. Blogs are great, but you always have to take care of home first. Trust me.
2. Men who are funny, witty, and can read = lofty expectations.
While generally this is a good problem to have, expectations that cannot ever be met are a pain in the derriere. Oochie coochie, la la la. While this has never happened to me (as far as I know), I’m fully aware of a few male blog cats who were placed on this curious pedestal online, but when coming into contact with actual people, their profiles fell faster than bikini tops at a BangBros pool party.
3. Possible to burn a lot of bridges.
This plays back into #1, but even as a single man, there lots of topics I’d love to touch on that I just won’t because I don’t want to put anybody out there like that. Even if nobody would ever know who I’m talking about, it just doesn’t seem right, because that one person would know. And really, I don’t know if they’re reading or not, but some things just ain’t right. Plus, I know my daddy so its better to err on the side of caution. It’s never nice to hurt people’s feelings. Unless of course you hurt EVERYBODY’s feelings at once, then its okay. Let’s just say, practicing restraint can be very difficult.
4. People assume that you know better than to make mistakes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a mistake of some sort and I’ve been hit with, “you write about this stuff. Come on, dude. I KNOW you know better.” Truth is, everybody should know better about myriad things we all f*ck up on, but we don’t. I’m only human. I’m flesh and blood. A man. It’s assumed that we’d always know how to see situations upfront or figure out how to get out of any situation because we write about these things. It’s like Economics, we’re writing about it all ceteris peribus. Writing is objective, real life comes with all kinds of extra variables and emotions, etc. You’d be surprised at how often its presumed that despite all of our explanations of our mistakes, we’ll never make them again. It’s like good girl problems…when they do f*ck up, it looks that much worse.
5. Women have better memories than we do.
As a writer, you’re accountable for everything that you write. Understood. Thing is, men’s recall is generally much slower and much more recent in general than women’s. If you start dating a woman who reads your site, she will be more than happy to quote you contradicting some stance you took on voyeurism or politics. You’ll find yourself in an argument with a woman who will use a post you wrote against you and what can you say? You wrote it. And do you know where this shoots men in the arse? Platonic friends. Let’s just say, if you ever tell a woman that you have female friends, make sure that you DIDN’T write that you don’t believe in platonic friendships.
6. People really do think they know you.
This is an across the board “personal” blog problem but there are people out there who actually do not like me because of this blog. I find that almost comical. Mostly because I don’t give a sh*t, but generally because I get so far away from personal (down to the refusal to let anybody know my real name) on this here blog that its impossible to really know who I am from this blog. I’m a complicated man. Nobody understands me but my mother. Heck, at some of these happy hours, some folks have told me, to my face, that they don’t really f*ck me with like that and prefer Champ. Which is cool with me, but blow me. I didn’t ask for that unsolicited information. But oh well, I can take so let’s take shotshotshots, shotsshots, shotshotsshotsshosts.
Anyway, those are just some of the issues that come along with blogging, and being a male relationship blogger. I just felt like sharing. Does any of this make sense or am I just full of sh*t? Male bloggers, what else do you think? Heck, some of you commenters have had similar experiences…what are your trials and tribulations?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka 21 KOOKAROO GANGSTA aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3
That’s right, folks. Today, March 31, 2010 is our Anniversary. The day that marketh the conclusion of the second year of VSB.com’s birth.
A few words from the VSB Leadership
Panama Jackson: I, Panama Dontavious Jackson, just want to thank you, heavenly father, for shining your light on me. You make me happy, so very ha…waitaminute. Oh. Right. VSB. We just want everybody to know how much we appreciate you all coming thru over the past 2 years. There have been ups and downs. Tears and fears. Sometimes we traded tears for fears but at the end of the day, the fact that I’m a 3 never railroaded me. And since no trains were run during the making of this accomplishment, today was a good day. It is definitely hard to say goodbye to yesterday, but tomorrow will bring, a better you, a better me. To all of you folks who come here everyday and read and comment, or just read, thanks for sleepwalking. We’ve got some bigger and better things on deck and hopefully you all will come along for the ride. We’re going from a 4.0 to a 4.6. And you know the difference between those two. And if you don’t, I’m sure somebody here will tell you. Peace to the Gods, the Earths, and the Seeds. Your friendly neighborhood 3. Thanks for real. For I am nothing, nothing, nothing…if I (we) don’t…haaaaaaaaaaaave yoooooooooooooooou…Word. Life.
The Champ: in the last two years we’ve seen a black president bring back light-skinned black male points, the dumbest thing out of alaska since the last season of “northern exposure”, the births of twitter, facebook lesbians, kanyes shag, and the overuse of the word “vet” as well as the deaths of the king of pop, hip-hop, autotune, gatorade, corey haim, john edwards’ career and kat stacks’ vag1na.
still, all of this pales in comparison to the rise of verysmartbrothas.com, the modern day continuance of riley and springers lonely shanty nights, a deadly culmination of panama jackson, liz burr, liz burr’s boobs, and an eggheaded cat from pittsburgh, and I graciously thank you for allowing us to be the most important thing any of you have ever had in your lives.
Liz: If I went by our email inbox, half of ya’ll don’t know who I am or that I help keep VSB afloat, but that’s alright. I still love you anyway. Thanks for making these past two years freaking awesome, and for putting up with us PJ and the Champ. It’s been fun working on such a large site with such an awesome community. I have enjoyed seeing the site grow and blossom to some wonderful wonderfullness, and I hope you’ll like the cool stuff we have planned in the near future.
Now, for the BIRTHDAY PRESENTS
Some of you may remember for our Centennial post we gave out (virtual) Commenter Awards. To celebrate our Second Birthday, we wanted to give a special thanks to the 10 most commenting-est commenters on VSB for the last two years. That’s right, we’re GIVING AWAY FREE VSB T-SHIRTS to these special folks. And not just any shirt, we have some new shirts coming down the pipeline (designed by a real designer!), and these Chosen Few will be the first to receive our brand spanking new exclusive design. Without further adieu …*drumroll*
The Top 10 Most Commentingest VSB Commenters of ALL TIME!
- miss t-lee
- Me fail english?
- blackberry molasses
- pgh muse
- Gem of the Ocean
These super VSBs and VSSs have comment counts into the several thousands. Impressive. We appreciate their time and dedication to never shutting the f*ck up moving conversation here on VSB and would like for everyone to give them a nice VSB soul clap and throw a lil VSB glitter in the air. (If your name is on this list, we will be e-mailing you shortly about t-shirt options and delivery.)
The Best of VSB
10 Most Viewed Posts
- pants on fire: 7 things we (men) like much more than you think we do…even though we’ll never admit it
- clutching the pearls: the 4 sexiest scenes in black movie history
- can’t trust it: 9 women to avoid at all costs
- School Daze: 4 Reasons Why HBCU’s are Better Than Wherever You Went (Unless You Went to an HBCU)
- sadie’s suspect: four reasons why women shouldn’t pursue men
- love. actually.
- That’s What He Said!: 8 Great Quotes From Movies You Love (When The Rainbow Isn’t Enough).
- all points bulletin
- nevermind: five surefire ways to scare her away
- Blackness 101: 10 Things All Black People Should (At Least) Be Aware Of…
10 Most Commented Posts
- better than the alternative
- Thursday Amusement: If You Don’t Know Me By Now.
- the black pass
- link of the week: chelly o and the “angry” black chick conundrum
- Judging Books By Their Covers: 13 Nouns I Just Can’t Trust
- It’s Our Centennial, B*tches!
- things that make you much more randy than they probably should
Time for a group hug
Thanks again for taking the time to visit VSB everyday. This is the part where all the lurkers take the time to de-lurk, and leave their first comment on VSB. Everybody else? You know what to do…