Dorothy Parker

The Disciplined Blogger

Even though I, at times, very much dislike That Certain Social Media Site, I’m finding that it’s much easier to toss off a one-liner on social media than it is to keep on blogging. I’m having a day when it is undoubtedly all about the process. This is my third attempt at a blog entry this morning. Yes, everything I’m thinking is dull and everything I’m writing is ponderous and I have mentally committed to the process of updating this blog a couple of times a week.

Here we are.

“Here We Are,” by the way, is the title of one of my favorite stories by Dorothy Parker. Parker conveys social awkwardness better than any other writer I can think of. And she describes the pathos and humor of social awkwardness during the time between the wedding ceremony and the wedding night in a way that makes me wince and smile at the same time. You should read “Here We Are.” Really, you should.

I do wonder, sometimes, would Dorothy Parker keep a blog if she were alive now? She was very much a woman of her time, mastering the art of the short story and the art of reviewing during a time when new magazines were the mass media and it was possible to make a living writing for them. Would she now be sharing her epigrams on That Certain Social Media Site? Or would she save them for her colleagues at the lunch table?

I am in every way confident that Dorothy Parker would have kept a blog going, even if she would have driven online editors crazy by not updating it often enough because she was trying to get every darn post so darn perfect. Of course, her blog would be linked to the website of a famous magazine, not some solo spin-off like this.

I wonder, though, whether she would have felt the appeal of an online blog with an online pseudonym where she could feel free to vent about the irksomeness of her society while hiding in plain sight.

Oh, look. Here I am, drifting into a comparison of myself with Dorothy Parker. Unspeakable arrogance. And undoubtedly a strong signal that I should stop now.

Here’s my blog entry for the day, everyone. Isn’t she a beauty?

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

Vacation Pics: Yesterday and Today

Social Media + iPhone Camera = Many, many vacation photos.

Oh, so very many.

If you’d like to walk back in time with me into a fictional setting, let us visit together Dorothy Parker’s short story, “But the One on the Right.” It’s an interior monologue from poor Mrs. Parker, who is attending a dinner party. She has the misfortune to be sitting next to a gentleman who has no idea of putting himself out there to make pleasant social conversation with his neighbor. She is bored out of her mind and wracking her brains for possible openers:

“Really, I suppose out of obligation to my hostess, I ought to do something about saying a few words to this macaw on my left. What shall I try? Have you been reading anything good lately, do you go much to the play, have you ever been to the Riviera? I wonder if he would like to hear about my Summer on the Riviera; hell, no, that’s no good without lantern slides.” —Dorothy Parker, “But the One on the Right”

Just think. Back in Mrs. Parker’s day, a person had to put real planning and effort into getting people to sit still and look at vacation pictures. She would have to invite them over, set up the slide lantern and possibly some folding chairs in the living room, and probably offer her guests refreshment. She would have to Make An Effort in exchange for boring her friends silly with her slides from her Summer on the Riviera.

Here in 2014, sharing vacation photos (pics! Sorry, of course I meant pics) has become all too easy. I’ve never done it myself, because doing so is just a little too close to smug for me. “Oh, look! Here we are traveling and having fun! Wish you were here!” The only exception I will allow is a proud parent who got a picture of multiple offspring together, looking happy, in an attractive setting. Such an occasion is so rare that it ought to be shared with one’s friends.

Yet another shot of palm trees against the sunset? Not so much. Ho-hum, Ms. Vacationer, it may surprise you to learn that that one’s been done before. A few times, even. At every souvenir stand that sells postcards anywhere. Oh, right, sorry, of course these are your palm trees against a sunset you are experiencing and kindly sharing with the rest of us. That makes it so much more riveting. Really.

Unfortunately, Ms. Vacationer jumps quickly over the line from Tedious to Just Obnoxious when she shares her pretty beach pictures with those of us back home who are continuing to grit our teeth to get through a particularly severe winter with lots of snow and slippery roads and cold temperatures. If you’re lucky enough to escape this kind of weather by jaunting off to warmer climes for a week, would you be kind enough not to point that out repeatedly? I mean, yes, we all know you are far away enough that we can’t actually slip poison into that nice tropical drink you’re enjoying. When you do come back, though, beware the wine at my next party. No doubt I will have a few willing conspirators who are as mean-spirited as I am about other people’s jolly fun times.

People on social media who want you to enjoy their vacation right along with them because they are just so excited to be there?

Simply Too Precious for Words.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy