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Friday, August 04, 2006

Into the Lion's Den

My Blogging friend, landsman, and one-time dinner partner Neil Kramer writes an hysterical blog about Hollywood, Judaism, and...well...stuff I can't mention here. I can always count on a good laugh when I read his site.

Lately, however, he's come under attack by some of his readers for standing by Israel in the recent conflict. He brings up a good point, one that I've mentioned here and I've read over at other blogs:

How should personal blogs that usually deal with the mundane deal with world events? Should we even address them at all? What's the point when the political blogs do this much more thoroughly and persuasively?

The answer, it seems, is in a guest post that he wrote for Paris Pafait, a blog that has not been kind to the Jewish view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Go read what he wrote. I think it shows that, perhaps, simple people like me and Neil can have more impact on the opinion war than you would think.

People expect rhetoric from the political blogs. And to a certain extent, they discount it as just that -- rhetoric. But Neil and Jack and Pearl and Danny and I have opened our lives to our readers. We're not just about Left vs Right or Republicans vs Democrats or Islam vs The West. We're about food and kids and tuition and love and family and Cave Men and movies and bass guitar and...you get the point.

When you say, "Jews are bad" or "Israel is oppressive", you're not just insulting some distant bad guy. You're insulting me, and Neil, and Pearl and the rest. I don't care if you hate the Republican Party, or if you think that Stem Cell research should be banned, or if you think Battlestar Galactica is for geeks. You're entitled to your opinions. But if you mess with the Jews, or Israel, you're messing with me. And I take that personally.

Maybe personal bloggers can do this better than political bloggers. We can keep it personal. We can make this a discussion between associates or friends, rather than a perpetually adversarial situation. Political bloggers or journalists have to remain polarized. Personal bloggers do not. We can listen to each other. I was listening to Sean Hannity in the car last night. A guy called up and spoke very intelligently about why he disagreed with Israel's position and the war in Iraq. And rather than hear him out, Hannity talked over him and tried to shape his argument into something ridiculous. I would have rather had Hannity listen to what the guy said and then refute his specific points, which from what I heard were easily refutable. But that's not how talk radio works. But it has to work that way in the real world or we're never going to get anywhere.

You may not expect someone as goofy as Neil to have such a well put-together view of the Middle East. That's why what he has to say is so important.


Irina Tsukerman said...

Very good points. I've been struggling with that very question for a while now. On the one hand, I blog a lot about personal things. On the other, I've been writing about Israel quite often lately. And sometimes, I have trouble defining myself: am I a political blogger or a personal one? I think, whatever the case may be, as long as your readers are making their points politely and are willing to listen to your opinion, even the purely political bloggers should listen to them and respond accordingly. I don't think shouting over the other without ever responding to someone's points is a good idea at any point.

Anonymous said...

okay well here we go...

Hezbollah Launches Deep Rocket Strike on Israel

torontopearl said...

"...We're not just about Left vs Right or Republicans vs Democrats or Islam vs The West."

Or, PT, Americans vs. Canadians.

I didn't realize I was in the position of needing to be defended as a blogger, but thank you for coming to my defense, anyhow. Who says chivalry isn't dead?
I stay as far away from political positions on my blog, mainly because I continue to remain uninformed enough to hold a "debate" or discussion. I'd rather just tune in on other blogs to see the words fly.
Kol HaKavod to Neil for allowing his 2 cents to be heard -- um, I mean read!

cruisin-mom said...

great points P.T. I won't add anything political, because I'm a personal blogger. But why should there be categories anyway? Robert has certainly gone from the deeply personal to the outspoken political...so it's really up to the individual.
You and Neil both have plenty to say that is beautifully personal but always inspirational food for thought.

parcequilfaut said...

People can talk about whatever they like on their blogs. Even if I disagree with someone politically, I'm not automatically going to stop caring about their kids/tuition/Cave Men if I did before.

Me, I stay away from political things, other than reminding everyone to vote at the appropriate times, because I have to deal with that on the personal level in my family every day (my dad is a local politician) and honestly, unless it's really getting all over me for some reason, I don't want to write about it. That's me. I enjoy reading the personal bloggers more, honestly; I get a much more rounded idea of how individuals feel, which is, to me, more balanced than what the media will give you on any issue, ever.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Good so I don't have to feel guilty for not posting politics:).

Ralphie said...


Sorry, what I meant to say was:

Battlestar Galactica is for geeks.

Jack's Shack said...

Good post. Thanks for that.

Jack's Shack said...

Did you see the article about Reuter's photo manipulation?

Sweettooth120 said...

I don't see anything wrong with the occassional diversion from the humor to express something that is very close and personal to one's self. But I can understand how taken back some may be. I have to admit that I was a little surprise to see your reaction, PT, or even Cruisin Mom's recent posts and comments on other people blogs. It's a side that we rarely get to see. Which is a good thing, but when one has their heart and mind in the mood for humor or satire and they get a dose of reality instead, I think it throws them.

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I very much appreciated this post, as I apprecite the blog in general.
The personal beats the political any day. I've been here in Israel since this started - here for the summer - and before I came I decided not to talk about being here while being here. I've slipped a bit though...