Did you know that the widely read and widely respected* Ree Drummond has a following of hate bloggers?
At first, when I found Marlboro Woman’s blog, I was a little shocked that anyone would speak so unkindly about the woman whose food photography impresses me to no end. And then, I actually read it. It’s a short blog, considering it was just started last week. I got a really bad taste in my mouth and not just because I had finished a cup of tea an hour ago. The accusations leveled against our dear Pioneer Woman were disturbing and smacked loudly of *gulp* truth. MW was right… I had never read a negative comment in her blog. Never! And that can’t be because there aren’t negative things to say. Have you seen how much butter she uses in her recipes? And what is with all that salt?
And then, I realized something even worse: I have never made a recipe from PW that I’ve liked. I know I’ve only made two recipes. But that is largely because I rarely come across one of her recipes that I even want to make. What is going on here? Have I been taken in just like millions of others in the world and dazzled by a created brand? Have I been hoodwinked by the possibility of winning a beautiful bright red Kitchenaid mixer just for leaving a silly comment?
Here’s the twist: this blog post is not a PW-bashing blog post. Rather, it’s the opposite. I will continue to read and to love Ree Drummond’s cooking blog**. I will be slightly disappointed that she bans dissenters from her comments, but I will drool over her photographs anyway. And, at the same time, I will absolutely and whole-heartedly agree that Ree is fake, that she has invented herself, created a persona for herself that she portrays to the world: a super mom, a super cook, a super farmer’s wife*^. And yes, maybe she’s got the world fooled. After all, Marlboro Woman is right: her recipes aren’t particularly original, and many of them maybe not even that good**^. And she does recycle beautiful photos over and over again. But what kind of marketer isn’t trying to fool the world? And if you’re out to make a living as a blogger or, really, any money at all, how can you do so without creating your brand? What awful thing has Ree Drummond done that has all these other bloggers so upset?
It’s very simple really.
* Or so I thought.
**I will also regularly read Marlboro Woman’s blog because I strongly believe that every story has two sides, two sides that need to be equally acknowledged. Also, it’s kind of like watching a train-wreck…
*^Though if you were actually a farmer’s wife, you would know she is definitely not — farmers’ wives are not housewives.