A Globe and Mail photographer captures Raymi in her element.
For you cave dwellers, 26-year-old Toronto “blogebrity” (who even says that?) Lauren White has been running her widely read personal blog since “before you even knew how to attach a photo in email” (says her Twitter). From the time she was seventeen, she’s been amassing a mega intense army of followers—and just as intense army of haters—by chronicling the minutiae of her everyday life like it was her job. For those who follow along, it’s easy to feel like her biographer with all the needless details you absorb (didja know she’s related to Jack Kerouac?) and all the scene-y events you notice her at (where you pretend not to recognize her then check her blog the next day to see if you were in any of her photos). For others, it’s impossible to pinpoint the blog’s appeal, aside from the voyeurism it provides with little to no censorship. But love or hate her, when was the last time you broke up with your boyfriend only to have it covered by everyone from Eye Weekly (Kate Carraway, natch) to the Globe and Mail (with mandatory quote from subculture profiteer Hal Niedzviecki)? That’s the bizarro situation Raymi has found herself in (culminating in the Globe writer writing about it again to fend off threats of flaming dog shit from her loyal kingdom). Rather than us add to the weird discourse about someone so “uninteresting” that everyone keeps fricking writing about her, we thought we’d let her respond.
If my non-news isn’t news, why do major outlets continue adding to the coverage?
I very much agree with Kate Carraway’s epithet regarding a blogger’s high-quotient of (seemingly) undue bragging, though I feel she misses the point slightly, negatively and hypocritically so. Some bloggers (I, for one) are trying to make it. There is more to it than the cascade of here is my new jacket, here is a hamburger I ate, here I am wasted in a bar, here is my blah blah blah photos. That’s called filler. The question to know the answer to, or demand rather, is why the fuck should I care about a (scoff) blogger at all? I don’t know, why are you writing about me? Writers want to be famous too, no? What part of the picture are you missing?
We all know what blogging is. We all know for every website there is a Twitter account, a Facebook account. We know there are invisible fluorescent red desperation arrows floating around a blogger’s monitor, so in the small town what is Toronto we do not acknowledge that we read them. We barely make mention of them, how uncool would that be, and for the same token we never acknowledge when something good happens for the people we follow, or bad. I was never allowed to say, “Guess what, I’M HUUGE!” (whether fact or fiction), you just don’t do that in Canadiana, and you don’t dare ever whisper of any intent of becoming so either. Then, if and when it happens, you still shut up about it lest you jinx it. When shit is flung, you have to pretend you don’t care. You must return from whence you came, no big deal zone. It’s so easy in Toronto to just dismiss everything and everyone. People fiercely love or hate something in Toronto. I am one of those somethings.
I have been largely ignored yet secretly followed, pursued, for years. I am constantly second-guessing everything I share (I am even afraid to be typing this post right now because I know the comment suicide Torontoist can bring), but I do it anyway because I believe that it is good and appreciated and unique. Why does this post even exist at all? Who am I? To me the real story here—the big picture—is that ten years ago no one knew what a fucking blog even was, or why someone would share so much online. And now, ten years later, a national newspaper is on my case for not sharing enough.
Photo by d.summerfield.
Here’s the story in stunted form (interviewers love timelines, helps them catch up):
I’m twenty-six. Started my blog when I was seventeen. Steadily, deliberately, controversially attempted to show trainwreck lifestyle with world. Exhibitionism inspired by nerve.com, VICE and Toronto’s pre-hipster/mod scene (though none of us were mods, Mod Club at Lava lounge was the place to pretend to not want to be every Wednesday). Secretly worked as online model (webcam, live chat) while blogging at 19, living in Little Italy. Nudity from secret job inspires more exhibitionism, upping ante on blog. Show tits on blog, blog explodes. First wave of blogging trend hits the rest of world about the same time (2002/3). I pre-date that (from 2000), therefore am considered a pioneer. Went to head, also did not care, steamrolled through the rest of youth doing crazy things and showing it all on the internet. Eventually would be pigeon-holed into tits-for-hits blog, nipples become a big deal and never not get mentioned since. Always defending with excuses of art and rambly prose. Basically, my blog stood out. It was good shit, and bad. Its readership steadily grows, is consistent. Known for caustic sometimes overly defensive tone and overall penchant for flame warring, posting scathing replies to frequent hate comments/emails which I make use of for material. Am touted with, “fuck me? fuck you,” attitude. Villainous demeanor takes on force of its own.
Breakdown, leave city at age of twenty, return to ‘burbs for one year. Get caught up in more scandalous life pissing awayness. Eventually cut the shit, meet guy who is to be next boyfriend of five years. Some say falling in love kills a blog. Document, chart, show new life. Move back to city to condo. Have been with guy for three years at this point. Blog wins awards. Known around Toronto, but kind of have a geek-sheen cast plus a bit of a snub here and there from the “cool” kids. Blogs received little to no bearing in real world then, though online readership, fans, whatever, continue to prosper. Total headfuck being so “well-known” online, and silently around town. They know you but they don’t let you know they know you.
Perks begin to roll in as bloggers begin to receive more recognition and clout as viable sources for product placement (tastemaking). Stature increases. Blog benefits. More events, more blog posts showcasing them. Two years go by spent entirely drunk (and hung). Tire of events, tire of the entire scene. Begin to feel shallow and empty. Become unhappy. Attempt to cover that up via frivolous means. Outfits, things, booze. Disconnect from everything. Relationship ends. Leave. Multiple reasons why. It was tough, it really was and I’m presently still a mess but ultimately feel it was the right choice. We both benefit(ed) from this relationship, as shitty it is to even mention that. I don’t know if we will be friends, but I do know that you have no idea what it feels like to have a massive pack of people watching all of it unfold, pushing for more dirt, pretending to give a shit, or giving one.
There has been a lot of support and I am entirely grateful for it. This is another blogging perk when you connect with people, they connect back. They reveal to you the most personal of things, it’s awing.
As for now I’m overwhelmed. And taking advantage of the media attention, but it makes me feel mental and sort of a different person dealing with someone else’s life.
So why after all this should you be made to care? I dunno. All I did was start a blog, guy. Seems all the uninteresting and banal shit I upload to the intershits is interesting after all. Oh, and because I wanted you to care. I made you care. Thanks for stopping by.