On the Occasion of being Called Unoriginal

by Janelle Hanchett


I have accepted my lameness in most areas. I have fully embraced my sub-par performance in pretty much every facet of my life, particularly parenthood.

But today, somebody referred to one of my blog posts as unoriginal.

And that pissed me off.

Because it was true.

It was unoriginal. She was referring to the last post I wrote (about Ava getting flipped off). I could begin with a link to the post I wrote about sarcasm so perhaps this commenter could see that I was just ranting for the sake of ranting in a silly, over-the-top way and there was not much seriousness in it at all. But the truth is that when I got to the end of the post I said to myself “and…now what, Janelle? Where you going with this. Say something interesting.”  But I was too fucking tired. And I just wasn’t feeling “deep.”

I’m sure that has never happened to the commenter in question. I’m sure she is universally profound.

Not me, though. Sometimes I just rant. Sometimes I write shitty blog posts. Sometimes I FAIL. Thank goodness there is always somebody though, standing at the ready with their flaming sword of truth to show me the error of my ways. Ah, the flaming sword of truth. I stole that expression from a friend of mine.

So setting aside the fact that she misunderstood an entire blog post on account of the fact that there is no sarcasm font (or something) and somehow thought the purpose of the post was something other than a base, superficial rant, I would like to write a few things about my ACTUAL response to this whole flipping-off thing.

But wait a second. Can we talk about context and purpose for a moment? Let’s get something straight. Some posts are deep and profound and REAL. Other posts are silly and shallow and NOT REAL.

But I digress.

This commenter also discussed “veiled violence” and admonished us for going on and on about how we’re going to “cut a bitch” (which is so funny it’s making me LOL as I write this. I effing love you people.)

The Flaming Sword of Truth. Yay.

Beyond the cute use of alliteration, I’m not totally sure what her point there was with the “veiled violence” thing – perhaps that we should be teaching our kids something beyond “cutting people.”

Oh COME THE FUCK ON lady we were JOKING.

You wanna know what I really told my daughter? You want that? You want fucking original? Fine. You got it.

I told her people are assholes. I told her some things happen that leave us feeling desperate and abused and vulnerable. And that hurt turns to rage. It manifests as anger as our ego tries to protect itself. Then comes the urge to retaliate, the apparent need to act out and “get somebody back,” thinking for sure if we “really get ‘em” we’ll feel better and some of the hurt will go and we won’t be angry anymore. But it never works. We talked about the futility of that retaliation, how when we retaliate with more violence, we just become sick inside ourselves, and end up feeling worse than before, deep down, no matter what we may tell ourselves. We suffer like our abuser by holding onto rage – and we infuse with power that which we struggle against.

I suggested she look for the Buddha nature in that woman – for the spirit of God within her, making her our teacher.

I told her about Ghandi – about how he was shot in the heart point-blank on his way to a speech, and as he fell, he looked in the eyes of his murderer and whispered to him a blessing of love and forgiveness.


No, I did not suggest to Ava we hunt this woman down and kick her teeth in. I did that on my blog, where it’s safe to be over-the-top, shallow and sarcastic.

Well, usually.

  • Jane

    I just don’t understand the kind of commenter that feels the need to wield the flaming sword of truth about something as innocent as a blog post.

    Fuck ’em.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    You know what happened… This commentor, was obviously RELATED to the woman who gave your daughter the finger.
    You know in a 6-degrees of separation way.. we all know eachother.


    Did that make you laugh? I hope it did.

    Blogging is what you make it.
    And, your last post was by no way, shape or form a FAIL.

    I liked it, it had a nice flow to it, and came from a place of truth. The MBPOV… *pauses* You don’t get it… do you? Ahem, “Mama Bear Point Of View.”

    Not that negative critiques aren’t helpful… Just sometimes… people need to see the sarcasm, the veilied violent joke… beacuse in the end… You need to alleviate the anger some way… Before you actually do find a sketch artist for your daughter to depict said Finger Flipper.

    Sharpening My Shiv for these people. 😉

  • The Sweetest

    Jesus, what is it with people who read blogs? Do they read just for an opportunity to take a stab at someone else? Let’s see her fuckin write something. I am actually waiting for the day that someone makes a tacky comment on my blog because that will mean I will have really rubbed someone the wrong way. In a world that would otherwise be boring.

  • Shan

    I didn’t join in the cut-a-bitchery on the last post because I was too fricken latently lazy (Makin’ my own alliteration!). (

    By the way, my favorite use of that phrase, “she’ll cut a bitch,” was from another one of my blogging buddies regarding what her 15 month old daughter would do if anyone tried to snag her favorite food. It never occurred to me that I should be steered off the veiled violence. Note to fucking self.]



    (That last bit was added by Fynn.)

  • Shan

    I would just like to add that I *love* all the typos in my comment. Ugh.

  • Amy Grace

    I loved the post. I loved the response to the response to the post. I write a weekly blog column for a mom’s site, and you would not believe the comments I get sometimes. Write something as benign as how bad the process of buying a new car sucks… and the whole world goes stark raving mad.

    People can mutate what you have to say, and more importantly what you mean, in more ways than I ever imagined possible. Wanna Rant? It’s YOUR blog. If we are to address the sword of truth aspect, then I’d have to tell you to “Cut the bitch!”

  • Michael Ann Riley

    Exactly. It IS your blog. It’s for YOU to write whatever the Hell you want. I am frankly shocked that that post garnered any kind of backlash. Sheesh.

  • Jennifer Allen

    You rock! You not only responded with genuine wit and self-effacement but you quoted Buddha and Ghandi. I thought I loved you before, now I have you on a pedestal, you have your own little pedestal in my head. Stay true and don’t listen to the ugly crap people spew in hopes of feeling better about themselves. You are the voice inside my head, truly. I’d better go before I start pinning pics of you on my wall and following you around.

    Mother of 3 who does most things badly and admits it…

  • Rachel Howells

    Nothing is more discouraging than unappreciated sarcasm. I have a similar problem to the one you describe, where people do not always get that I am rarely if EVER being serious; even my more serious posts have a satirical edge to them.

    At work I’ve had to resort to the unfortunate and excessive use of smiley and winky faces, lest I insult someone’s delicate sensibilities, which pains me because emoticons detract significantly from the intended humor of my sarcasm. One dimensional people are annoying, but you’re awesome and I’m sure your real fans appreciate, as I do, your witty sarcasm and insight. 🙂

  • sherilinr

    that commenter was your finger flipper. she did to you exactly what the bird flipping lady did to your daughter. she put herself into the position of rain & headed straight for your parade.
    i don’t understand people who are empowered by making others feel small.

  • Janine Kloss

    Haha, exactly! Rain, parade, this is dead on! You know haters are a sign that you’re doing well! Similar to people peeing in your cheerios 🙂 Anywho, it makes me sick how good you are at parenting, especially when you make such fun of yourself. I would have never thought of that stuff. I lean more towards the mama bear side of things… You know, I can mess with my family, but no one else better take my baby’s innocence away! I have a feeling this will get harder as they get older… 🙁 Hopefully you know that your original post wasn’t a fail and that the majority got the sarcasm. I went back and read the comment and I really didn’t get what she was saying… It was a blur of would be compliments and *veiled* insults reminding me a lot of passive aggression, which is my least favorite kind of aggression!

  • Momtothree

    Ok, I have to blow against the wind on this one. I love this blog. I love it for it’s honesty, open-mindedness, frank and sometimes kooky thoughts. But I have to say I don’t think Starla deserved to be chastised. When you write a blog, you put yourself out there. In black and white. If you aren’t prepared for some of the people to disagree with you some of the time, then maybe you need to stop and think about the why. Am I trying to convince the entire universe to see things my way? Not possible. Am I uncomfortable with criticism? Maybe. To write this, I know you put yourself on the line, J, and I love you for it. But I don’t think your commenter is a ‘hater’.
    I thought your post was original, and funny. And very sad too. As a mother, I have come to feel protective about kids – all kids – not just my own – that are sensitive, and full of wonder and who take knocks too early in this big, bad world. I think you dealt with the nasty woman issue just fine.
    Just saying …

    • renegademama

      Thanks so much, glad you like the blog. And yes, I asked myself the same question about why exactly I was annoyed with her comments…and especially after I read your comment I thought about it more, and I realized it’s not so much her criticism – heck, I agreed with her criticism that is was unoriginal. It was more being admonished and talked down to by somebody who misread my blog – telling us we should not teach violence, etc., when we were all obviously joking. There was another commenter who said he/she would have done the same thing (flipped my kid off) and though I replied to her comment with some choice words, I certainly didn’t write a whole post in response. I can handle dissenting voices. I can handle criticism. I have very little tolerance for people who do this holier-than-thou I’m-gonna-teach-you-how-to-parent thing — and I have even less patience for people who do it in response to something they read misread.

      So really it was more an annoyance with the general way people miss sarcasm and don’t catch tone differences, BUT all that said, you are totally right – IF I’m going to write a blog, I better be ready for people to misread it, thrash it, criticize it and put all that in writing in underhanded, passive-aggressive comments.

      So thank you for your insights. I have actually decided not to do that again…write in response to a single commenter – for most of the reasons you indicated. I’m new to all this. Learning.

      but then again, on the other hand, i write this thing from my gut and my heart, and I really felt like writing that last post…so I don’t want to impose too many rules on myself – I’m really upfront about being irreverent and inconsistent and unprofessional — wow. this is getting complicated.

      Once again. I’m lost.

      • Momtothree

        Hey, honey, I do NOT pretend that I have any profound insight. I just have a gut feeling when things seem unfair sometimes. And if you were face to face with that person, looking them in the eye, and reading their body language, you might read their comments in a wholly different way. It’s so easy to be misconstrued on the internet …
        This btw, is not passive-agressive. I whole-heartedly (does that count as alliteration?) want to encourage you, since I believe you have carved out a totally original space with your blog – you write about motherhood in a refreshing, irreverent way, like no other person I know.
        Don’t stop, whatever you do, and don’t censure yourself. But allow for other voices to come forward too, and sometimes echo, but also reverberate in different ways. And to add to what another poster noticed, I think that specific comment was also trying to vehicle some clumsy form of compliment. We cannot all be as eloquent as you, my dear.

  • Karen Hug-Nagy

    Sounds like you’re an awesome Mom! And I love your blog. During my Christmas shopping I am beginning to realize that there a quite a few “one celled organisms” out there driving around without a pleasant thought or comment in their heads. I appreciate your humor and your honesty!

  • Barbara

    Just found your blog via Twitter and will have to go back and read more.

    Love your honest writing style and as for the flamethrowers, they should get a hobby or better yet a blog….then they can see how hard it is to write something awesome. That said, some of the posts I’ve written that I thought were awful got the most comments. The ones I’m most proud of….nothing but cyber crickets.

    Ah well, I will tell readers what I tell my children…”Sometimes you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

    • Jackee

      I’m not exactly sure how the hell I got here; if you read blogs you know how that works. You start one place and end up someplace TOTALLY different.

      That said, I don’t know RenegadeMama OR Starla, but I will ALSO say: a blog is a personal kind of thing and one does not necessarily HAVE to open themselves up to, or accept, any sort of criticism if they don’t want to.

      That’s NOT to say that people aren’t shouldn’t have an opinion or that they should keep their mouths shut.

      I’ve been blogging online somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years. These things started back in the Stone Age of Geocities and Crosswinds, when everybody was anonymous and they were called journals and they drew a LOT of closet exhibitionists, lol.

      In any event, this is a great blog.

      Thanks for letting me poke my nose into your life.

  • Starla

    LOL I think it is super funny that I am a villain
    for letting you know how I feel. She is talking about
    me people IT IS IIIIII. Now I don’t read your posts often and your
    sarcasm is and was obvious. So is your ego. Your blog response
    shows how your anger leads you, as an example. I was entertained and therefor expressing myself (anger
    gets you no where) but I guess this site is not for differing opinions-it
    is only for blog critics that say GO Renegade Mom!! Everyone else is a sword wielding demon fighting “us.” Curious, is there a frog in your pocket-or are you talking about other readers (like me) of whom I was not addressing.
    We are creatures of habit, yes? Because you did not respond to my thoughts as though Ghandi or Buddha crossed the metal paths before your fingers touched the keys. Rants…..should be like slipping on the pavement, sometimes it happens but you clean the blood up
    and do your best to avoid it next time. Instead you are building mamas up to keep their anger-and with that-happy blog sailing Sacramento-I AM OUT,

    • renegademama

      I’ll be honest, I found your comments condescending and preachy. And that annoys me. I hate helpful parenting advice. I’m very upfront about that.

      HOWEVER, you have taught me an important lesson regarding not ripping people new ones because they make irritating holier-than-thou comments. Because if I do, I create an atmosphere that is intolerant to dissenting opinions, and that is not my intention.

      And with that. I am out. If you need me, I’ll be desperately seeking the high road.

      • Starla

        “I’ll be honest, I found your comments condescending and preachy. And that annoys me.” In my first comment I trying to
        feel out this blog…..To your words the story went
        unfinished-and basically, if you reread my comment,
        I am saying the same thing. Totally misread me.
        You have a strong writing voice (obvious compliment)
        interesting style (obvious compliment) and nowhere
        was an attack made on you or your readers, well; unless
        you count me. In fact your writing voice is so strong that
        I think all but one of the comment to this post were a verbal
        attack on me-and my reaching out to participate in this group.
        The many names I have been called…AND NEVER WILL I KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT.

        • renegademama

          I apologize for misreading you and for the backlash I created. As I say, I’ve learned an important lesson and I won’t be doing that again. Thank you for your compliments though I don’t really feel that I deserve them in this particular instance. I feel pretty shitty about myself and my behavior as it relates to this situation. I’m glad you’ll never keep your mouth shut.

  • Patti Green

    Love the renegade mother. I have recently become a grandmother. My daughter was sitting on the couch, I was in the rocking chair with my arms around a very new person. My daughter read out to me the “I died to live” She was crying I was crying. What a beautiful precious gift you have. You speak to and for mothers. Is there any room for Renegade grandmothers?

    • renegademama

      YES! We love renegade grandmothers!You paved the path for us!

      • Patti Green

        from the grandmother point of view. A very sharp double edged sword. I am still fiercly protective of my gorgeous girl, to the point when she was in labour I didn’t want her to be hurt,
        but I so wanted to meet my Grandson. He is 12 weeks old today, and I am there for my daughter in ways we never knew existed.
        She now knows how I feel about her . . . and the lengths I would go to protect her and keep her safe. And that little boy . . . I will protect him with the same vengenence. Sometimes I see myself, standing in front of them against the world and I hold a flaming sword to all who threaten them.
        And yes, I will put them both ahead of me . . .

  • Sarah

    In 2004 I shut down an entire blog over a comment accusing me of munchausen by Proxy. When I decided to start a blog again at the beginning of this summer I vowed to not let negative comments hurt me. I haven’t recieved any negative feedback yet (possibly because my readership hovers at 100 people, 25 being my family members lol) but I imagine my response will be similar to that of a petulant child. Your response was to admit on sentance one that she might be right, it was just her tone that bothered you. To me that takes courage, to admit someone else is right about your writing.