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Monday, August 11, 2008

A long-overdue bit of feedback from the management

Dear Readers,

I am pleased and proud that so many of you take the time to come here. While you are not the primary reason I started this thing called treppenwitz, you are certainly among the primary reasons I haven't gotten around to stopping.

I love writing about the stuff in my head... and I love reading what you think of that stuff.  While I don't always get a chance to respond to every comment (much as I really, really want to), be assured that I read, and genuinely consider, every single one.

I write primarily for myself.  I want you here and encourage you to leave feedback to what you read here.  But I am sharing my thoughts with you... not sharing myself.

Our relationship is one of words and ideas.  Be assured, I have learned far more from the collective 'you' than any of you have learned from me. However (and this is a really big 'however'), when your comments cross the line from addressing something I've said, into that very personal territory called 'judging me', you lose my ear, my interest and my patience.  I am not a child in whom your stated disappointment is likely to produce contrition or improved behavior.

For instance, if you feel that something I've written is insulting, demeaning, or just plain wrong... let me know.  Chances are pretty good that you are 100% correct and either the criticism is  expected (and deserved), or I made a decision that what I had to say was more important (at that moment) than the risk of insulting or demeaning someone... or of being wrong.

So yes... go ahead and tell me when you agree as well as when you disagree. But if you go beyond my comment, and move on to me... well, we have a problem.  You see, I don't know you and you don't really know me (much as you think you do).  When you read a few posts (out of more than 1000 I've posted) and decide, based on that small sampling, that I am anti-this or pro-that... kindly keep it to yourself.  You are almost certainly wrong.

When you finish one of my occasional rants that includes some ill-advised language or offensive sentiments, and you feel disappointed in me... keep it to yourself.  To feel disappointment in a stranger you (possibly) admire is perfectly valid and appropriate.  To express that disappointment in a direct comment is to cross some important lines.

If you enjoy coming here even half as much as I look forward to your presence and contributions, then I'd say we have a pretty wonderful thing going on here.  But I am not open to emotional blackmail.  If you think that at my age, threats of boycotting or solemn finger-wagging is going to change the essence of who I am, you are, sadly, trying to teach the wrong pig to sing.

[And no... this is not the angry post I was sitting on yesterday.  That one is still incubating quite nicely beneath my ample posterior.]

Posted by David Bogner on August 11, 2008 | Permalink


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One of the reasons that I love to read Treppenwitz is the very moderation of the tone. Your even-handedness has often helped me to tame my sometimes "just to the Right of Atilla the Hun" thinking, which helps me to curb my mouth and my keyboard. Anyone who insults the author is clearly stupid, as he has not only hordes of bees, but the formidable Zahava, as his life-long enemies. Not to put too fine a point on it, the cretin would do well to sleep with his eyes open.

There. I feel better.

Waiting patiently for the "angry post," though the coffee tasted pretty damn good without it.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Aug 11, 2008 11:54:21 AM

Well, we are all very glad that you blog around here, because otherwise we would not have had the pleasure of a lovely Shabbat.

Your blog is your living room. People who visit it are guests. If they don't like what you have to say, they don't have to drop by--being impolite to your host via email or comment is not any less rude than doing it in person. I'm not sure why anyone would feel otherwise.

Posted by: uberimma | Aug 11, 2008 12:08:06 PM


corny but true

by the way, did the word "incorrigible" ever appear on your school report card??

Posted by: asher | Aug 11, 2008 12:48:07 PM

I assume this is about me, right? You're actually a die-hard Citizen Kane fane, and all my Casablanca quotes are deeply offensive.

I apologize.

Or, should I say..."I was misinformed".

BTW, after last year's post, I have to ask what you did for Eichah this year.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Aug 11, 2008 12:53:01 PM

Can you teach me how to answer people back like that?

Posted by: mata hari | Aug 11, 2008 4:36:47 PM

David, You are indeed my favorite J-blogger because you speak your mind on political matters and also blog about all sorts of other aspects of your life. You have a beautiful family! It is indeed one of the pleasures of the internet to enjoy the lives of people thousands of miles away, however vicariously.Keep up the blogging! And I hope, someday, IYH, we'll meet in person. I so enjoy your writing.
Helene in California

Posted by: Helene Rock | Aug 11, 2008 8:32:05 PM

Nicely put! You're gifted.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Aug 11, 2008 9:07:48 PM

That reminds me. I was about to comment about your poor hygiene.

Posted by: Albert | Aug 11, 2008 10:23:05 PM

Not that you need my $.02, but I've mostly found your site to be rather temperate, considering the subject matter you often deal with. Also, you make a special effort to engage those who disagree with you - a trait not often found in the blogosphere. Again, it's your blog, and you don't need either praise or criticism from me. I've enjoyed reading over your shoulder the last few years - don't give it up now.

Posted by: psachya | Aug 11, 2008 10:25:07 PM

What psachya said.

Your rules of engagement are a model for civilized bloggers everywhere. Now, if only *I* were civilized...

Posted by: Elisson | Aug 11, 2008 11:49:34 PM

I'm sorry. Sending you a hug really is too personal!

Posted by: triLcat | Aug 12, 2008 12:14:58 AM

Just keep doing that voodoo that you do so well. It's hard to have to hear everyone's opinions. All people need to comment is, well, a computer. That doesn't necessarily make them discerning.

Posted by: larry | Aug 12, 2008 12:20:51 AM

Mata Hari wrote Can you teach me how to answer people back like that?

What he (she?) said.

Clearly someone pushed your buttons. I wish I could respond with such grace, and set my limits so clearly. Kol HaKavod.

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Aug 12, 2008 12:26:07 AM

to Rivka with a capital A:

Posted by: mata hari | Aug 12, 2008 2:16:20 AM

Look, you're a Sox fan which tells people an awful lot about you. It is clear that you are a masochist, or at least used to be. ;)

I suppose that I have probably made the odd remark about that East Coast accent and have made far too many comments about the "gun slingin' chef" and Schnappi the Krokodil lover, but...

Anyhoo, in the last couple of posts you did come up with some good titles for a band, "Hungry and Grumpy" and "Ample Posterior."

One of these days I'll get you those sausages. In the meantime better hope that Manny decides to stay here in
LA because there is a rumor that he wants to go to the Yankees.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 12, 2008 10:58:56 AM

jack -- band names like "hungry and grumpy" and "ample posterior"! hah! sounds like something out of spinal tap!

Posted by: nikki | Aug 12, 2008 4:08:28 PM

Two things:
ONE: I know you are an anti-smoker, whereas I am a proud tobacco-lobbyist - ergo, this must be your reaction to something I said years ago, which ahs sat and festered. Oops. Oh well. And errm.

TWO: Ample behind? You know that simply peaks our interest. Years from know, someone looking for 'ample behind' on the internet is going to leave an incredible offensice, and very tempting, offer right underneath this post. At wich point we will not forgive you if you do not tell us all about it. Is that understood?

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Aug 13, 2008 4:17:49 AM

Well not that you need my kudos, I see you have plenty of them already:)

I am mostly a reader, not a commenter. I am a secular Jew but a fierce Zionist, and have learned so much from your blog about how the "other half lives" (dati) - and that's after having lived in Israel for almost 10 years a long time ago.

Keep doing what you do, you are very talented, funny, and not afraid to speak your mind!

Posted by: Ima in Texas | Aug 15, 2008 7:53:56 PM

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