I might safely estimate that well over 80% of the material I have read on WordPress is what we writers might call “fluff” pieces. A “fluff piece” is a news story or pieces of writing which are essentially feel good op-eds. The writing is meant to be cute, funny, or something like that. For example, if a writer does a story about kittens, it is a “fluff piece”. Stories about kittens are essentially unimportant (oh, I can hear the hate mail churning!) The writer chose to write about kittens, not because it was important, but because it is cute and may help his/her viewer stats.
Fluff may take on numerous guises. Aforementioned kittens? Fluff. Family travel logs? Fluff. Best make-up products on the market? Fluff. But to me, the most offending piece of fluff on the WordPress market today are the countless stories that try desperately to convince the reader that the universe we live in; the planet we inhabit; the relationships we take shelter in – all of these somehow rotate within and upon some essentially pleasing spindle they call “goodness.” Mostly, this goodness online is ego-defined as some omnipresent benefactor lovingly watching over us, raining upon our precious little heads measures of good fortune, benevolence, and unconditional love. Yeah…fluff!
You have to travel far and wide into the ether of WordPress to hear an opposing viewpoint to this endless vomiting of “goodness.” While the writer of such pieces may feel justified because he or she just can’t contain the fact that something made them happy, they have to purposefully put on blinders so as not to disturb their nirvana with snapshots of the truth. The world is not essentially “good.” Fluff is fleeting.
More than 5/8ths of the world’s population live in impoverished and violent conditions, whether that violence is nature driven or man-made. To them, this vaporous concept of “life is good” is like a fleeting but violent wind that passes over them and cuts them sharply to the bone. They are as aware of the “goodness” showered upon the fortunate few as we are willfully ignorant of their pain and suffering.
If you are fortunate enough to own a computer and have the luxury of spending your free time posting online, chances are these people live in the periphery of your vision. You only glimpse them briefly on sensationalized news channels that can be quickly turned over to a “fluff” program like American Idol. It just “feels better” not to notice. Don’t lie…we have all been guilty of looking away to ease our conscience.
Yet there they are…the majority of the earth’s population starving, dying of treatable disease, buried to their necks in the fire-ant-ridden blazing sands of poverty and violence as the majority of us munch away on cheese-laden nachos while watching the Super Bowl. It just feels better not to notice. We need the “fluff” in our lives with which to stuff our ears and block out the infernal screams of our dying brothers and sisters. By the way, if the term “brothers and sisters” offend, I’ve made my case.
You need proof? Admit it. Most of those who started reading this post have surfed to another WordPress freshly-pressed site about kittens, or dating advice, or how-to-be happy sites because, well…it simply “feels better.” We need our goodness fix. We need our fluff. The only people who will read this through to the end are the artists and poets who understand that life is anything but benevolent and “good.” They recognize, in their works, the crush of human apathy and indifference toward the brutal suffering of the “least” of our brethren. They know because they don’t run from suffering…they run toward it. Not to shun it, but to embrace it and evolve as human beings.
It appears the editorial staff of WordPress is complicit in the spewing of “fluff” when you consider that poets and artists are freshly-pressed much, much less than the feel-good article writers. You won’t read this on WordPress because it feels “bad.” It probably isn’t a conscious decision on their part; it’s basic fluff survival 101: who wants to read depressing shit? It just doesn’t sell!
The artists and poets of WordPress may be less visible, but they are there. Shame on WordPress for making them enter in the dark and through the back door. They struggle in vain to instruct a worldview that is ultimately a call to action. They use their words to scatter the razor-toothed rats that gnaw on the emaciated bones of the poor, the hungry, the murdered masses. Poets and artists know there is goodness out there…they truly do. They see “goodness” descend upon the more fortunate, while the bulk of humanity suffers in despair and agonizing isolation. They just refuse to wear the blinders.
For myself, I no longer really give a damn about this fleeting goodness. I’ve been shot, stabbed, robbed, and violated in a thousand ways that more than fill one lifetime of despair. And yes, in case you’ve ever read my writing, I have buried my grief and pain in ample cups of amber absolution and beneath the press of fentanyl patches. I, too, am a coward. If there is goodness in my life, it is only there to mock the other 99.9% of my existence so far. I’m not happy, that is true. But I’d rather spend eternity locked in the pages of Baudelaire and Rimbaud than spend another minute reading about your “kittens.”
Perhaps that’s why most of my postings are poems. Poetry allows a writer to scream invectives to an unjust, unhearing, apathetic God (who, in my opinion, is the ultimate piece of “fluff) I’ve seen others (Sandy Hook, Aurora, Iraq, the Sudan comes to mind) who have seen their human potential snuffed out by either extreme violence, (human against human) or natural disaster (famine, floods, disease). I’ve seen the children of Syria and Libya and Somalia, and, well…spin the globe and press your finger upon it. It will almost certainly stop at one of these hellholes devoid of human compassion. The majority of the world’s populations are simply ground to dust by the merciless millstone of life.
I am happy for those of you who believe the illusion that “evil” is the transitory state of humanity and that “good” is the true, permanent human blessing. WordPress appears to exist so that you can dine on a steady diet of “fluff.” I just don’t see that wide-eyed gorging of “feel good” backed up by facts. I’ll continue reading your fluff because people like me are more in need of a laugh than just about anybody. I just can’t join you at that particular ”hallelujah” table. Enjoy the fruits of this “goodness”, but never forget that even more of your brethren have never known such feel-good promise in their lives…and “fluff” just won’t fill distended bellies or bind up the bleeding wounds.
4 thoughts on “The Case Against “Fluff” Pieces on WordPress”
I believe in light vs dark….sometimes I see light…mostly just dark. Americans for the most part are spoiled rotten and I am one of them. I am worse now than when I was younger. I like to think i have a tough skin but in reality….I know I don’t.
I do believe in love though, but I don’t think it exists much.
A great writer (and that includes you!) can always channel those aspects of life that cause the soul to recoil. Being able to write about the darkness in life doesn’t make you morose, but not being able to see the evil around us makes you part of the problem. Yesterday’s event in Boston just slammed a giant exclamation mark behind my article. I wish it weren’t so.
I think balance is needed in all things. If we did not have the “fluff” or the happy people—maybe you and I would give up…maybe others would give up and call lit a day…however, I DO get your point and I do get your thought that “being able to write about the darkness in life doesn’t make you morose”—each time I have written a sad or difficult reflective piece on the “crap” in life—someone inevitably criticizes me. However, I think IT has to be put out there—so we do not live in our fantasy world while everything is going to hell around us—I write about sad and awful things so that people WAKE UP and think…and try to BE better and NOT do the dumb, hurtful, devastating things that we tend to do to each other– it also helps ME to think beyond myself…and be part of the solution,not the problem. Forward, I say!
Bravo..you are one of the few who understood my post. I need to be a better writer! Thanks for reading my blog.