This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

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.

  • Anonymous

    The Today Show interview was a joke – I’m sorry they didn’t give you the respect and time they should have. I feel sorey for KLG and I think your perspective on the whole experience is great. I enjoyed the Nightline segment very much. You did a wonderful job with both opportunities – keep up the good work and know that many of us out here in the world appreciate you! Wishing you continued success. Love, a first time commenter but long time reader

  • El

    Hmmm…I sort of took Kathi Lee’s comment as an expression of concern not criticism. Like…”people know where you live and what your daughter looks like. Are you worried about crazy stalker, kidnappers?” Not necessarily a criticism for writing about your family, which she can relate to because she’s done it, and invading their privacy or something.
    That’s what I thought she meant anyway… for what it’s worth.

  • LC

    That Morning Show interview was a blip.
    I saw the piece on Dateline. You are officially my hero. And you and Jon are officially awesome.

  • You showed more professionalism, poise and intelligence than both of them, and I would also add the producer for employing them, combined. What is happening to TV in your country? Scary. The BBC has been accused of dumbing down over the years but this was dumber and dumber.
    I laughed – I also hate the word blog and blogger (blogette?) it makes me feel cheap but “I am a writer” smacks of pretension. I get around it by saying I have a website (as in I have a house in Africa à la Meryl Streep) that seems to foil them for a while. Julesritter.com Switzerland.

  • Amy

    I think you did a fantastic job and you looked sensational. Kathy Lee is kind of a tool, we all know this. But it stinks that you couldn’t make your point. Cuz it’s such a good one. That aside, great job. And great post. :o)

  • JennyM

    The Nightline segment was really good, by the way.

    I don’t have children and probably never will be a mom myself, but your voice definitely speaks to me and has for years. Cheesy, but I really do admire you tremendously. Keep on rockin’ on…

  • LC

    Dateline/Nightline – whatever. I don’t live in the US so I am sorry for the confusion!

  • I wouldn’t go into a meeting a work that uninformed and having done that little research on a subject, let alone do an interview on national television. Shame on NBC for letting their interviewers get away with that kind of lackadaisical attitude. I mean, it’s not like it would be that difficult to sit down with your blog and at least read some of how it got started and what you’ve written about Leta. Ridiculous.

    But you looked fab, and all of us out here who understand why what you do matters can at least feel comforted knowing that those people are responsible for providing us with in depth coverage of world events (good gravy).

  • Jamie

    I thought you were great, and I agree with your thoughts that KLG was totally out of her element. She seems to be the kind of silly “television personality” that turns everything into a story about herself. She looked nervous, and you looked like a confident, competent woman who was waiting for the real interview to start. Maybe you should have let Chuck do the segment. His gravitas might have calmed her down a little.

    Also, I would wear the title “The Woman Who Made Kathie Lee Gifford Uneasy” as a badge of pride.

  • Heather –
    I’m really glad you posted about this because I was so frustrated with Kathy Lee’s comments. I thought – for sure- she would relate to you after the unbelievable scrutiny she has experienced over the course of her career. Talk about putting your children in the public eye!

    I was really upset by the show when I watched it and again every time I think about it.

    You, however, handled yourself SO WELL during KL’s version of the Spanish Inquisition.

    All the best to you!

  • Anonymous

    Let me echo what so many others have said… you looked fabulous! And you seemed so much more intelligent than the ‘hosts’. (Is Hoda there to keep Kathy in line?)

    I was very disappointed with the interviewers and sad that they didn’t allow enough time for you to sneeze or anything. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t watch the Today Show any more… they want quanity over quality.)

    If nothing else, you got a great makeup session. Right?

    I always enjoy your writing.

  • Terra

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your interpretation of everything that happened. You are a great writer and I always enjoy reading your long posts. I was in such disbelief after watching the interview that I just wanted to laugh and scream at the same time at the absurdity of it all. I commend you for how you handled yourself in such an awkward situation. I truly admire you.

  • Yet another reason to dislike Kathie Lee… it just came across like she was trying to throw you under the bus at the end there. No matter, you handled her with grace and you looked fantastic — good choice on the dress!!

  • Kelly

    I thought you did well. And as someone who’s neither a mommy or a wife; I love your blog.

  • I think you did great with what they gave you. It was obvious at the end that she didn’t want you to fill in the blanks for her. Lame.
    Too bad they didn’t give you the time you deserved!

  • I am writing about the exact same thing right now. She put her kids out there for the world to see and she’s saying she’s uncomfortable? Not only that but now to know before hand she said she related to you???
    Hmmm, so we’ll chalk it up to ratings, popularity, feeling more unsafe because it’s a computer and not a TV?
    Good for you for being nice but I have a big problem with it. She took a lot of flak about her kids being thrust in front of us every morning. Her kids took a lot of flak too, which I think could potentially be damaging. And I guess it makes me angry.
    Also, I have an 11 year-old boy and he loves when I write about him. I’ve said it before, I am able to express my feelings for him better in words than in person. So, through my blog he gets to see how I love him in an outsiders sort of way. Nothing but good has come of it. Your daughter will enjoy reading about her early years. Sorry, novel, here. Touchy subject I guess.

  • AnonymousJ

    Its a shame your blog hasn’t gained even more notoriety, or you could have really let KLG have it for her ignorance. I think you did well to play it cool and not stir things up.
    You looked great, and you handled it all with the utmost grace.

    I am sure she was indeed given a cursory review of blogs, etc., but as an interviewer its your job to know what you are interviewing the person about, not to let staff try to explain it to you last minute. This is a good example of that strategy not working. Unfortunately, with her “REVILED!” comment, KLG showed us her lack of experience on the subject.

    revile[-viling, -viled] Verb
    to be abusively scornful of: his works were reviled and admired in equal measure

    re·vere (r-vîr) tr.v. re·vered, re·ver·ing, re·veres
    To regard with awe, deference, and devotion.

    I think miss KLG was actually going for the word “REVERED” and somehow mis-spoke, but I am not affiliated with her nor do I speak for her so I can’t say this is true.

    I think the truth would be that this blog has been BOTH.
    There were the early years where Reviled would be accurate, but the segment was to be about how it is NOW, where the word Revered would be much more appropriate.

    Definitions from: http://www.thefreedictionary.com
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

  • Dag you put this well. Your perspective, always a pleasure.

    I do hope someone, somewhere, sees the opportunity to really ask the good questions about blogs (mommy or not). I figure this very post might in part inspire that discussion.

  • I had an experience where some of my close friends were going to do an interview on Good Morning America after a tragic accident hiking, but they got bumped and eventually cancelled altogether. I’m sure there’s reason behind it on their end, but it really just makes you feel like big TV execs don’t care about your story. They’re just looking for ratings and apparently, the number of hits on your website couldn’t actually equal ratings for their show because blog readers don’t watch TV. We just wait for you or Jon to post the video on your blogs. (Not true.)

  • Hi Heather. Thanks for the peek behind the scenes of the Today Show interview, and for sharing your thoughts.

    I will never be a fan of KLG, and have to say it was great to see that the Nightline interview was everything that the Today interview was not.

    Continued success to you and Jon!

  • Didn’t Kathy Lee use to talk about her kids on, oh let’s see, TV!? Who is she kidding? She and that other woman are painful caricatures of Stepford Wife TV anchors, spewing frivolous, useless, nonsensical nothings. They must be so embarrassed!

    In any case. You have this and you seem happy. People can be jealous. You came across like a whole, interesting human being (on both shows) and I am very happy about all your success. Smart women fucking rule.

  • Rosemary

    I watched you live that day, and man, as soon as I say Kathy Lee I knew what was coming. After you were done, I was laughing at the fact that she had no idea how those few minutes were going to make internet people hate her. You did a great job. You have this way of creating success for yourself that I am jealous of. You definitely deserve a proper interview by qualified people.

    I also have a clear view of the Today show were all the anchors sit around the table talking about segments of the day, or making humorous small talk, and Al sitting there, beginning to say “Hey, did you guys hear Dooce talk about my nipples?” – You have got to make that happen.

  • Ok, that was weeeeird. I think you’re right that it is part of the beast of broadcast television. After all, the fact that they stuck you with someone who doesn’t even “get” the subject matter of the interview didn’t matter because she is Kathie Lee.

    I’m sorry that she made it odd at the end there but you should be really proud of what you put out there. I thought you did a great job.

    Also, your dress is fantastic!

  • Anonymous

    Loved the Nightline segment!

  • Anu

    First of all, let me congratulate you for looking so ravishing and completely at ease on national television. I think you did a great job talking about your blog and why you do it. I feel that your are right in not blaming Kathy Lee for the way the interview ended. I’ve watched countless interviews on the Today show and have felt many times that the guest is never given enough time to say what they want. In fact I stopped watching the show for a while because I was so irritated by the hurried manner in which they conduct their interviews. All said and done, it was a great opportunity for you to be known nationally and hopefully it will direct more traffic to your blog where you can say all you want without being rushed or interrupted.

  • Karissa

    “Scared of computers.” Well how fortunate for you that she’s the one to to the interview! I rolled my eyes so hard that they almost got stuck.

    You handled everything exceptionally well and looked amazing while doing so.

  • Jennifer

    Perfect timing for a Family Guy Quote:

    “Peter: Lois, there were only two cakes left and trust me, you do not want the one of Al Roker with the Hershey Kiss Nipples on it.”

    That and…I am SO friken jealous and happy for you.
    LUCKY!

  • Katrena

    Heather – I’m upset you didn’t call Kathy Lee a bitch! She totally was and I was dissapointed in the interview. You did handle it with grace though and Kathy Lee looked like a fool.

  • I found you on a search i did on blogging yesterday. I was searching to learn more about it because of this email my son received from his cousin who is a young mother and a huge blogger.. her little girls raised over 2000,00 in three hours for my sons therapy. The letter and his website http://www.gogarrett.org are self explanatory. But the rest of the story is that this money raised was largely due to the blogging that went on the week before the lemonade stand opened for business that saturday morning.. its a beautiful story and shows what great things go on in the blogging world.. I enjoyed learning from your blog and thought you were splendid in New York. Thanks

    Mitch

  • Natasha

    KG came off as bitchy vapid [kind of like a 5th avenue queen who just doesn’t understand why the masses are so dirty] . More fun to watch than a fair treatment would have been.

  • Anonymous

    I would just love to see yourself and KL go toe-to-toe(and boob-to-boob) in a Jello-wrestling match. It would have to be lime-flavored Jello. Hey, it’s my fantasy…

  • Anonymous

    Kathie Lee Gifford is a fruitcake, there’s no debate there, but I don’t think she did anything horribly wrong in the segment. Yeah, most interviewers don’t take the time to become informed on a subject, but that’s to be expected I think.

    I can understand how most people would be a little unsure of the world of blogging and the implications it may have when it concerns a child. It’s not incredibly hard to see how many would have that stance. I think it’s a pretty typical response. It does suck that the segment ended abruptly, without any real time to debate the issue a bit.

  • The Nightline segment was terrific and insightful.

    I’m a longtime reader who, sadly, apparently doesn’t fit your target demongraphic. I’m a mom, but I’m not young. And I’m not reading your blog for connectivity.

    I read your blog because you are an articulate and authentic writer, and I appreciate those who have a way with words.

    Good on you for this additional publicity. You wear it well.

  • I’ve been waiting for this post all week! congrats on the show! annoying how kathy lee acted at the end, but all the same, you got some serious publicity!!

  • Andrea

    Heather,
    I thought you looked and did great in the segment– it’s unfortunate that you were not made a priority. I also think that you’re handling it well (at least from what I can tell) in not calling names or pre-judging. Just one more reason that I love reading what you write (you writer, you).

    I also wanted to let you know that, yes, you do have a large audience base– I just graduated college and have been reading Dooce for 2 years and am defiantly not a Mommy. I read not only to find out about Leta (I love kids) but to see the products you use in your day to day life. I love your style and many of the things you feature in you style section and though pictures of you house I’d love to have in my life too.

    So there you have it. Some professions of love… but I’m not hitting on you.

  • I’m with you sister

    I remember thinking when I saw your segment originally air on the Today Show… a) Kathy Lee, if you’re going to raise an objection to the concept of blogging, at least know what your objection IS and b) don’t make a stupid comment which clearly demonstrates you have no idea about the macro subject matter it entails (“I guess I just don’t know very much about computers…”). You looked smart Heather, she looked very, very stupid. You deserved a better interviewer than that. Sorry….

  • What a great experience in spite of Kathy Lee’s “unfortunate” comments. Was that politically correct? In any case – it will be nice if we ever evolve to the point where women stop judging one another. And you are a writer … and a very good one at that.

  • Missykitty

    I think the only thing KL was afraid of was the wide perception that if you post kids’ pics on the internet some perv pedophile will become obsessed with them and eventually try to kidnap them and do awful things to them. I don’t think she was referring to Mommy bloggers baring the ugly details of home life. Unfortunately, not only did the segment not give Heather time to respond to the perhaps unfounded fear, but it did not even give KL time to expound on or explore her fears enough for others to understand what she was trying to communicate.

  • Loved the “poor bunny” part & this entire post.

    I saw the interview on youtube & thought what the heck kind of interview it this. Then Kathy utters the famous “I’m not a computer person” line … And then I thought, you should have been on the original time slot with Matt or Al. Hellooooo NBC!!!

    BTW I am just a Mommy to 3 cats & I love your bloggy! It makes me appreciate my Mom.

    Smooches,
    The Tart

  • geminijen

    Kudos to you for still going on the show once you knew it got bumped and would be talking to KLG. I would have cancelled immediately! I was disappointed, but not at all surprised by her. bleck!

  • AnonymousJ

    To Clarify:

    Being reviled is what happened when you lost a job over this blog.

    Being revered is why you were on Today, and Nightline both! 😉

    PS-The Nightline Segment was Awesome!!
    It was well done, and professional.

  • Michelle

    I hardly ever watch the Today show. Watching this segment made me happy about that. While you were great, they did not extend you the courtesy that you (or any person being interviewed) deserved.

  • When I heard all the outrage and then saw the interview, I was like, okay. That wasn’t mean. She had a right to bring up that aspect of what you do, but what angered me was 1) the OBVIOUS hypocrisy (CODY!CODY!CODY!) and 2) the fact that neither of them had any clue what you do or what a blog is or anything at all about the matter at hand. I’m so glad you wrote this post because I’m happy to see that the way I interpreted things was the way you saw them too.

  • Amy

    I thought you looked, sounded, and acted with a lot of class on both the Today show and Nightline (I TiVo’d you), and in this post. Brava! You’re doing all of us “mommy bloggers” proud!

    And I am so excited about the “talks with Hollywood” that you mentioned. Can I play the wannabe blogger who visits your blog and posts trying to get traffic to her own rinky dink little blog? Let’s rehearse. http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

    Hahaha!

    Amy
    (lacks class, shamelessly self-promoting, decidedly undoocely)

  • I was so surprised by all that the interview WASN’T, and that’s shame on the Today show. But you did great and handled yourself great and looked great . . . I was proud to be a “mommy” blogger watching you represent.

  • dani

    Yes – that was very left field. But I cannot say I have ever watched her before (they don’t show that in Australia). I think she was told to bring up the ‘contraversy’ that you didnt have…

    Anyway your dress looked great! Your hair awesome! and those earrings…

  • Kathie Lee wishes she could fit into a pair of Polly Pocket Shoes. I think they cut the segment short because Kathie Lee sounded so idiotic and it was obvious she did not know WHAT she was talking about.
    I am a proud Mommy of two and I am all for blogging of all kinds. But, your site is the absolute best.
    You are an amazingly talented WRITER ( get used to the word ).

    Can my four year old daughter Gabriella have a playdate with Leta? We live in NJ.

  • I always wondered about the mommy blogger label myself because when I think “mommy blog” I think “online equivalent of scrapbooking complete with glurge-filled vellum stickers” and not, say, writing about calling poison control last week when my toddler ingested a naturally-occurring form of LSD.

  • Jessica

    I thought you did an excellent job with what you were handed, it would have been great if they hadn’t cut you off and let you explain yourself and by the way? You looked HOT. Hair was absolutely fabulous and your accent? Loved it.

  • Wendi

    This was a great post… I don’t really have anything to say about the Today segment that hasn’t been said, EXCEPT that you seemed as totally uncomfortable in the hairdresser’s smock as I always feel! You looked fantastic though, so I guess a little smock time was worth it 🙂