An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Didn’t that woman blog about Al Roker’s nipples?

When the producer for NBC called me and asked if I’d be interested in flying to New York to be on a live segment of the Today show to talk about the business of mommy-blogging — okay, wait a minute, I think I should address this right here, right now, this label MOMMY BLOG. Do I consider my website a mommy blog? Not really, no. When I sit down to update my website I don’t think to myself, “What will I say today on my mommy blog?” The first thing I think is, how can I give my father a heart attack? And then I back up a second and go, nah, I’d miss him too much, I will just have to write this story about Jon’s Brazilian wax in my personal diary. Dad, are you paying attention? It’s because of you that the world does not get to hear about Jon’s genitals. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.

But I also don’t get offended when people call this website a mommy blog. Not at all. Because even though some people use that label to belittle the fact that there are women out there writing about their experiences as mothers, how dare they? Who do they think they are? NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR KID, YOU MOMMY BLOGGER! Yeah, that. Turns out lots of people want to hear about your kid. Oh, and did you hear? All this writing about motherhood is bringing people together and changing lives. So you go ahead and wrinkle your nose and dismiss those mommy blogs. And I’m going to sit over here at my laptop and be totally flattered that someone thinks I’m worthy to be among their ranks. Hell yes, I’m a mommy blogger.

So I was prepped for an interview about mommy blogs, the lot of us, how this thing we started to document the tiny and intimate moments of our lives has transformed into our jobs. Our jobs that pay us money. And I was totally under the impression that it was going to be a more in-depth interview than the usual, so, tell us about your blob, is it? Your blop? Your blonk? Little anecdote here, the driver they sent to JFK to pick me up turned out to be Chelsea Clinton’s personal driver when she’s in New York, which does not have anything to do with the point I’m trying to make here other than that he said she is always shouting from the backseat, “GO FASTER! GO FASTER!” And I don’t know why but just knowing that about Chelsea makes me want to invite her over to play Scrabble while chugging Kentucky bourbon. It just makes me love her even more to know that she gets impatient at stop lights, and that maybe she has once or twice waved her middle finger at a stranger, not because it would make any difference or cause traffic to go any faster, but because IT FELT SO GOOD.

Anyway, the driver asked me why I was in New York and what I did for a living. My friend, Maggie, is going to be so proud of me for this because I told him, “I’m a writer.” And I thought it was going to sound natural coming out of my mouth but in fact it did not whatsoever. I could have said, “I teach English to genius pandas,” and the look on my face would have been the same. He asked me what kind of writing, and that’s when I looked around to see if anyone was within earshot, and duh. It’s New York. At any given moment there is someone having intercourse with a goat within earshot. So I whispered A BLOGGGGG. And I am not even kidding, his whole face shriveled inward as if he had just been sprayed with mace, and he said, “Does that hurt?”

Yes, it hurts. But I’m taking antibiotics.

So I got a call from the producer about 20 seconds before boarding the plane to New York telling me that they had bumped the segment to the fourth hour of the show, and that I’d now be interviewed by Hoda and Kathie Lee. I knew right then that the interview that was supposed to happen was not going to happen, but I still had hope. I knew that a taped segment featuring other bloggers (Kristen Chase, Mir Kamin, and Jill Asher) was going to run before me, and I thought I’d still be able to get in a word or two about why I think companies are so interested in marketing to this group of people, why they are sending us thousands of PR emails saying DEAR BLOGGER, PLEASE WRITE ABOUT MY PRODUCT ON YOUR WEBSITE. Except how many times have we been sent an email addressed to the wrong person? I’ve been called Heather Anderson, Sarah Armstrong, Hannah, Halley, and one time someone even called me Jim. Note to PR people: maybe pretend that you are paying attention.

I’d been to Rockefeller Center before but never inside the Today Show studios, and I don’t know how to say this without someone deliberately misinterpreting it, so I’ll just go ahead and blurt it out: it was kind of sad. The green room was tiny, and the make-up room looked like it had been haphazardly set up in someone’s garage. Not that I was expecting the walls to be lined with gold, but you look at the set and see how sharp and clean it is, and then you go backstage and, oh my god, has my daughter been playing in here? Because there was stuff and paper and little bits of things everywhere. Like, I had a thought that if I took off my shoes and walked around for a little bit back there that I’d stumble over a Barbie corvette and maybe cut myself on that missing Polly Pocket shoe.

And that is less a judgment than it is an observation, because the experience I had with the make-up people was more than professional. They handled me with great care and made me feel like a million bucks and didn’t mind Jon as he furiously circled the room with our camera:

Just as I was about to walk back to the green room I asked Jon if he thought my make-up looked okay, and in front of about 10 people on the Today show staff he said, “Okay? OKAY? I’d lick you right now if we were alone. COME ON!” Someone started laughing, so Jon continued: “What? WHAT? Doesn’t my wife look good? I’m allowed to say that about this woman because I saw a baby come out of her body!” And thus commenced a chorus of disgusted EWWWWWWing. And I was all, okay Jon, you can stop. And he was all, “Not just ANY baby! MY BABY! OUT OF HER BODY!” This is obviously proof that one side effect of Prozac is acting like you’re drunk when in fact you are not.

15 minutes later I’m sitting on a couch opposite Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. And we’re making small talk in the four minutes leading up to my segment. They’re asking me all sorts of questions about my website and where I’m from, and then I think but I can’t be sure that Kathie Lee Gifford winks at me. Just out of nowhere. WINK WINK. And I’m so caught off guard that my face changes its expression involuntarily, and she says something like, yeah, that was a wink, it’s something we do on television. I go, okay, so you weren’t trying to hit on me, just clearing things up. And she says, no, she wasn’t hitting on me, but honey (she called me honey), I am totally her type.

I am Kathie Lee Gifford’s type. You know what? I am not even going to start decontructing that, and instead I’m going to let you consider what that says about my husband.

And then she said something to me that made the rest of my day one giant confusing puzzle that I have still not been able to put back together. I don’t remember her exact words, but she asked me if I get a lot of criticism for writing about my family on the Internet, and when I said yes she said she could totally relate. Because people were all over her back in the day when she talked about her kids on television. She told me she could empathize. For those of you who have not seen the segment I’m going to post it here, and afterward you’re going to think to yourself, “HUHHH?”

I don’t know what happened to frighten Kathie Lee in the span of four minutes, but my guess is that she had either been instructed to bring up that controversial aspect of mommy-blogging, or maybe she herself thought that she needed to layer the interview with that perspective. Either way, it did not make her a friend of this community from what I’ve read on other websites and forums.

And here’s my take: this is obviously a case of an interviewer not being adequately familiar with the topic at hand (also, probably not a good idea to have someone afraid of computers interviewing someone about their job using computers). And I’m not about to jump into the crowd and start calling Kathie Lee names, she does not deserve that from me. I’m not so much angry at her as I am disappointed that this topic was not given the service it deserves. Blaming Kathie Lee for that would be misguided, and in fact, I don’t think there’s really any one entity responsible for how this played out other than the beast that is broadcast television. The segment got bumped, things were shuffled around, and maybe because of some miscommunication here and there it wasn’t the piece it was supposed to be. Instead of looking at this as a setback I’m thinking that this is a great opportunity for someone out there willing to take a look into the heart of this community. Start the interview with the fact that you are uncomfortable with what we do, and then let us answer you. Unless you are afraid of us, and if that’s the case, well, here, let me rub your head, you poor little bunny.

  • Kim

    It would’ve done a lot (or a least a little) to humanize KLG’s image had she said that bit about empathizing with you, etc, etc, on-air and not merely in private.

  • You are so gracious. Well done.

    I wonder if Cody and Cassidy had anything to say about this on their myspace pages. Surely those exist?

  • Didn’t the Today show do the same kinda thing to Melissa Summers? Asked her to the show for one thing and then it became SO something else? Perhaps that’s their schtick over there at NBC.

    Oh well, kudos to you!

  • i’ve been looking forward to this post for a long time. i knew i would laugh out loud, and i did, at jon totally freaking out when you could have used some cool. can’t say he’s predictable! thanks for your blog, and for giving it the old college try on the today show. and i agree, this topic does deserve more, but this’ll do for a start.

  • I saw the segment when it aired, and that’s exactly how it struck me – I figured Miss Kath was given a real, real quick, rudimentary, bare-bones overview of what you do and what she should ask you, and then she went from there into all kinds of wacky conclusions. It’s what happens sometimes, and it’s a shame.

    Though what was with her turning around to Hoda and going “She’s REVILED!” What was that.

    You’re not reviled, Heather. Not by me, anyway.

  • You know, I was Twittering the whole time about what an idiot KLG is. And now, I just feel sorry for her ignorant old self. Good for you for taking the high road, and letting it be.

  • You looked great. And this post, so very eloquent and funny, is the “Craig Fergueson” response of “mommy bloggers”. If that makes any sense what-so-ever.

  • Melissa

    That Kathy Lee part at the end seemed so strange, perhaps you’re right that they instructed her to say that, because she says it and then the segment ends. It seems as if she were throwing it in there just because.
    Good job though 🙂

  • Hate that the interview was not what it could have been. 🙁

    You still looked great. And AWESOME pics by Jon. 🙂

    And because you said not to be mean about KLG, I won’t say that OMG I CAN’T STAND THAT WOMAN. GAWD.

  • I saw the segment when it originally aired. I was annoyed by Kathy Lee. And kind of embarrassed for her. And I also thought it was all rude when she cut you off about not living in New York. But I thought it was totally AWESOME that the preview of your blog they showed mentioned Al Roker’s nipples.

    I never watch the Today Show anymore, so my kids were all whiny and “why can’t we watch cartoons instead?” And is it weird that I was all excited and came thisclose to saying “Because I know that lady right there!” (Yeah. I’m a dork.)

  • Kathy Lee is so bizarre. Why is she still on TV? I thought people didn’t like her? Oh well, keep up the great work! I often have to explain myself as to why I keep laughing at the computer like a crazy person.

  • WOW! This post is as intelligent, insightful, gracious, warm and genuine as your interviews have been!

    I’ve commented on Blurbomat and since we don’t get all that many chances here – it is wonderful to see the mutual respect, encouragement and support between you and Jon.

    Best, best wishes to you, Jon and Leta – may all of your success continue!

  • Mike Z

    I think KLG probably thought she was speaking for “Jane Six-pack” when she said she didn’t like what you were doing with the website. She saw how angry people got with how she kept whoring out Kody & Cassidy way back when and assumed people were feeling the same about you, not realizing that your personality is much less grating than hers is.

    I must say, after watching the Nightline piece, I would watch a Dooce reality series.

  • I wish I could say “Hell yes, I’m a mommy blogger.” Love that you outed yourself as one. Keep at it!

    Also, LOVE the mop-top photo.

  • A very balanced persepctive considering YOU were in the room and know all the facts. Thanks for that!

    I of course, was all fierce and protective of you in the face of Kathie Lee and her winking and sass, and to me, feigned distress over the use of your child on the (gasp) internet! It has been said eight ways to Sunday that she was the exploiter of her own kids (not to mention the ones in the sweat shops!) throughout their early childhood, so no need to belabor the obvious hypocrisy.

    So stoked you are getting much recognition and one day hope that I can relate to you on levels that include an actual husband and kid of my own. For now, I will continue to enjoy your humor and humanity and pretend that you are my friend drinking whisky sours together!

  • Kristy

    I am glad to read your reaction to that hideous interview (you were awesome!) BUT more important than your thoughts on that particular issue I want to know what happened to the dress you posted in your style section?!?

  • p.s. KLG was just thinking that she would totally have been licking you if you’d been alone.

  • By watching it, I remembered how much I disliked KLG. She was uninformed and vapid. She accused you of putting your daughter at risk and didn’t let you respond. You did great even though you were probably nervous (hair flipping gave that away). Didn’t get to see Nightline as I was asleep, but will look and see if the film clip is online.

  • RJ

    As a new reader I can safely say that the best part about the interview was the fact that it bought me to your blog, which I love to the point I am rereading it from the start 🙂 I only continued to watch the Today show to see the segment and I was totally disappointed about the lack of time and research that was given to the blogging subject.
    Although I must say why are we all surprised? At least once each day I get completely frustrated that the segment that I was wanting to see has been squished down to allow another segment deemed to be more ‘informative’. Unfortunately is seems it is just a part of the morning shows makeup – that is program loads of mini segments into a short time span thus reducing any thought provoking information/dialogue/active thinking to emerge. Guess will just have to log on more to hear your views on this and any other subject that pops into your head.

  • I think it is wonderful that you are getting this kind of publicity. You are so brave to share as much of your personal life as you do each and every day.

  • Amanda

    You did great! Sure the interview didn’t go the way it was planned but I think it made Kathy Lee look like a total fool! KLG (because I’m too lazy to type her name) looked like a total LOOSER….seriously this day and age and AFRAID of the computer…hahah!

    You looked awesome and keep up the good work!

  • JennyM

    You: are awesome.

  • Lily

    Like anyone can’t just Google her name and then have a thousand different entries on her and her family appear…. Nobody cares that much, do they?

    Earth to Kathy.

    You are on the internet.

  • Crocomama

    Heather, you were great! You were very professional – especially given the circumstances. It probably would have been good for Kathie Lee to know prior to interviewing you that she had posted on Today’s Family Blog back in April:

  • I wonder if KLG was pissed because she wasn’t better prepared for the segment. I know I wouldn’t want to come off uninformed or old fashioned, particularly in front of a younger, competent woman on the rise. And I wanted to thank you for your thoughts on “MOMMY BLOGGER”. I have resisted the moniker because as soon as you tell someone you blog about being a mom they assume it’s all first tooth stories and romper pictures. It’s been some of that for me, but my blog has also been a way to reach out beyond motherhood because it is only one part of my life (albeit a rather large and consuming part).

  • lsr

    the pre-taped segment: mostly fair

    your live segment: mostly unfair

    you conducting yourself with more professionalism and credibility than either of your interviewers: totally predictable.

    Think of the future and potential reach of blogs, and the the future and potential of…daytime TV, and be comforted in your clear and decisive WIN on the cosmic score sheet.

  • It wasn’t until I saw your segment that I realized Kathy Lee Gifford was a part of the Today show. When the heck did that happen. No matter though, YOU did a great job and the exposure is so much greater than any of the little bumps you endured to get there. Good on you!

  • Dooce, I’m sorry but you’re not taking this seriously enough. These women are afraid of being replaced by you, the whole television industry is petrified that bloggers, especially ones who use (VIDEO)…are going to replace them (which we are). Do you not know women well enough to know they were trying to sabotage you. Where’s my Psych 101 notes, oh, here
    . Just scroll to the bottom of those boring ol’ comments.

    Next time, insist that I go on with you and I’ll take care of mesmerizing those beauties, while you get to say what YOU want. Peace out!

  • Anonymous

    Great analysis. On a totally different topic – I saw you on Nightline last night. That was awesome. I think it turned out great. What did you think?

  • I dont like Kathi Lee.. I never ever have. I didn’t watch her when she was with ‘reeg’and it was very hard to watch her with you.
    She just plain gets on my last raggedy nerve.

    By the way.. the look on your face.. was brilliant.

    oh and off the topic completely..

    I just had the joy of watching the movie Hitch (ok it was a little funny).. you are the spitting image of the “rich” girlfriend in that movie. just thought I’d share.

  • Heather, you did so well on that show. And I could listen to your voice read the phone book!

    I won’t call Kathie Lee names either, because I’m with you. I think she was ignorant, and kudos to her for admitting as much.

    There will be more [and better] interviews, and you’ll go to interesting places and, just like life, sometimes it’s gonna be good and sometimes it’s gonna be not-so-good.



  • kitty

    Thank goodness for the Nightline piece. Watching the KLG video upset me because it’s true what others have said — she really didn’t do you any justice. It’s not just that she didn’t know what was going on, but that she seemed so *unwilling* to understand and so cutting. Boo to KLG!

  • I think it’s great that you got the press, and hopefully more dedicated fans. But honestly? I think that show was a complete waste of your time. The hosts are a couple of boobs (not the good kind) and there was absolutely nothing of substance said the entire time you were on.

    I’m just glad you got to go to NYC, sell books, and take pictures.

  • You showed a lot of restraint, considering what you were up against.

  • The interview was a major disappointment because it seemed rushed and like it was thrown together at the last minute. I think its nice of you to defend Kathy Lee but I don’t think she’s that insightful to throw out other people’s perspective, I think she was throwing out her own thoughts and clearly like she said, she’s not up on the whole computer thing, and obvious the wrong person to interview a segment on blogging. Anyways it was great seeing you on television and I’m happy for your success, I love your blog!!

  • I think it’s getting to the point where it’s almost irresponsible for someone in Kathie Lee’s position to be so ignorant of the internet, especailly given the subject of the interview.

  • I saw the segment, rehashed it on the forums, but your take still had me peeing in my pants (and I wasn’t coughing OR sneezing). Having worked in tv, I suspect you’re right about last moment shuffles and such but still she had overnight to research (have her assistant research and she read the notes) on what blogging is, etc. You’d think she of all people would support moms being innovative about finding a place in the working world. I was just upset you didn’t get to ask her about Al Roker’s nips. Maybe next time.

  • You know? I first looked at this interview the day after it aired – and I thought, “Man. Kathie Lee is not prepared!!!” In fact, I have no resentment towards the woman at all (although I’ve known a chef who used to do cooking segments with her and he didn’t have nice things to say)(And my boss was at her baby shower) – but I have to comment that I’m wondering if Kathie Lee thinks she’s so good at what she does, she needs no preparation… It’s not the case. If she didn’t know much about it, she should have opened the segment with “So – I’m new to blogging – and my understanding is that it’s like a diary or digital scrapbook… Is that right?”

    I hate it when broadcasters make their videos more about themselves and less about their guests… KL is already a lovely, accomplished tough woman… She needed to let the subject shine – and I think missed a cool opportunity to do so.

  • I’m a blogger parent, so my view may be skewed… but I think your site and what you write about your family is wonderful. It’s real, and that makes it very entertaining and gripping to the core of all of us parents. I worry about my kids’ exposure so I’m sure you do too, however, I really doubt Leta will be anything but proud of the WAY you have shared her life with the public. It’s touching and it reflects the person she already knows as her Momma.

    I have a question for you that would probably answer all of my questions about that though. If you lived in Chicago, or New York, or Washington DC or Dallas, would you feel as secure about sharing so much personal information? ie. does SLC give you a bit more security about your home and family?

  • Congratulations for taking the high road. You are a better person for it.

  • BLAH! My first impression of the interview before this post was exactly what you hit on: Kathie Lee’s ignorance of computers, much less these newfangled things we call BLOGS on the EEN-TER-NET. Seriously, an eight year old child would have appeared more intelligent on that sofa. Shame on the industry for putting an ill-equipped person in the position to interview you. You should have just done something totally ridiculous to turn the attention from her blathering!

  • Though it isn’t really hard to look intelligent when placed in the middle of such obvious ignorance, you did a splendid job of relaying your initial points and looking fantastic. It is unfortunate that the has-been interviewer would end someone’s often Only shot at ever being on television with such a childish-‘hah’-I’m-not-wrong-you-can’t-get-me attitude. Such is the world of network broadcasting, I guess.

    The child in me wants to kick her in the teeth with one of those FANCY SHOES you got. Regardless, you were phenomenal.

  • For a short segment on a network show like “Today” I thought that it probably couldn’t have gone any better than it did. I know that this is a *lame* comparison, but my b-i-l is a self proclaimed “superhero” and has been on all sorts of talkshow circuits and is constantly mis-represented. There’s just no way that they can get it right in 2 minutes time.

    My hat is off to you for allowing yourself to go on a show like the Today show. If for anything else than to make people more aware that mommy-blogs exist in the first place.

  • Since you’ve shown so much restraint, I’m going to say that what KL did was LAME (I have a post almost ready to be put up on my blog). And the Nightline interview was WAY better.

    Hmm…I’m trying to see how I can set myself apart from all the other comments saying the same thing, and I just wish you could see me immitating the BLEEEHHHH, with tongue sticking out, that you did at the end of the Nightline piece. That’s what I’m doing right now.

  • Hi Dooce!
    I’m soo excited to post a comment on your site. I’m a university student living in Germany and just discovered this blog a few weeks ago. I haven’t commented yet but I just had to jump at this one.
    I am shocked to hear them pin pointing you as a mommy blogger, or saying that you are the goddess of all of them. Of course I don’t disagree with the goddess part – you changed my life and I started my own blog through your inspiration, I read yours daily, starting at the back and working (although it’s more work than fun 😉 ) my way to present.
    What I am appalled at is the fact that they reduce you to being a “mommy blogger”. Now I’m not saying that that is a bad thing per say. I get that it’s an important subject and am worried to hear that it was not shared before that hey, raising kids is damn hard. Why not speak up about that adn share experiences?
    But to me, is so much more! Frankly, if all you wrote about was Leta, I wouldn’t be reading this, despite your uncomparable humor. But you write about all kinds of stuff, through the whole span of life.
    So I guess what I’m saying is please keep it up, don’t let the labels get you, and you have one fan more to counterbalance the hate mails 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Not that I was expecting much more from KLG, but the way she handled the interview totally left the viewer wondering what else the very interesting woman (w/great hair) on the screen with unprecedented success in an up and coming field had to say, and left the viewer totally uninterested in outdoor furniture. Oh, that, and her dress was awful. You were fabulous, keep up the great blogging.

    In Louisiana, we say “colors” instead of “cray-ons” or “crowns.”

  • You’re far too fair to Kathie Lee. How can you be a professional “journalist” and not understand computers? It was a disappointing interview and I wish you’d had a chance to express your opinions more thoroughly. Thank you for your work in the blogging medium. It inspires me and so many other people.

  • Rebecca

    I think you should be called a Hottie Blogger as well…thanks for putting a smile on my mommy face every day! Your dedication is amazing!

  • Heather.

    As usual, there is something about you I find inspiring. I am not yet a mother, I don’t have pets and I am not/was a mormon but I feel the same based on your writing on so many topics and subjects. I love reading about your daughter and your daily life. I think your segment was unfortunate because that cow Kathie Lee Gifford did what she always does, makes it about herself because she is confused and jealous….and so should she be with you in the room. Keep up the great work and writing and thanks for being an inspiration for us that need a smile everyday

  • what i found weird about the whole thing was the interminably long taped intro to “mommy bloggers” before the interview. why was that really needed? did it really need to be that long if they were then going to interview you? it seemed pointless, in my mind and ate up too much of your interview time.

    i thought you did great, though, considering the circumstances they put you in.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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