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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

My 'Good Readin' list

Ever try to talk to little kids while holding something shiny or sweet in your hand? You would have to buy yourself a microscope to locate the chance-in hell that they are actually hearing the words spilling out of your mouth.

Apparently the disclaimer on my ‘about page’ which clearly implies that 'the stuff I enjoy reading may not be someone else’s cup of tea', fell on deaf ears (eyes??). I guess telling people that they 'might not enjoy something', while simultaneously showing them such tempting links (stop looking over there while I’m writing at you…Cheeses! It’s like I’m talking to my kids!!!) is similarly distracting.

So…for the benefit of everyone who may see this entry before it gets pushed off the bottom of the page…A word in your ear (eye??):

I read. A lot. I read things I don’t always agree with. I read things by people whose political views, lifestyles and life choices might be different from my own. And most important, I read the things that THEY read!

The simple reason I do my reading in so many ‘reading rooms’ is that I came to an important realization a few years ago: I noticed that most of the messages in my inbox were from people just like me. We all thought similar thoughts, lived similar lives, and ranted about similar things. However, after awhile I started to notice that none of us were forwarding our informative e-mails to anyone not like us. And we sure as hell weren't getting e-mails from peope who didn't think like us! If you think about it, that seems pretty pointless. I mean, what fun is preaching to the choir, right?

Once this started bothering me enough, I began to consider the result of the equation: If I’m not sharing my views with people who think differently than me + I’m not allowing other ideas to reach me = I have no opportunity to see how my ideas and opinions look sitting next to anyone else’s.

Not a very smart way to go through life.

If you graze down my reading list (yes kids, now you can look) you will find a very mixed bag. In no particular order (and missing a few, I’m sure), there are:

Two or three professional journalists (from diverse sectors of the political spectrum)

A Hell’s Angel wannabe with the soul (and writing chops) of a true angel

His eloquent and slightly irreverent wife

A single (but looking) gay, software jockey who’s writing persona and sense of humor make me think of Nathan Lane

An editor whose urbane observations and self-assurance remind me of my little sister

A San Francisco jewelry designer who wields a mean camera, and who has arguably the world’s gentlest soul

A Hasid who is a great musician (or one could say ‘A musician who is a great Hasid’)

An unidentified mystery writer with a hand in the New York Jewish music scene, and a tongue firmly in cheek

…and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver!

I'll leave it to you to figure out who's who.

Not interesting or diverse enough yet? Well, if you take a gander at the journals and blogs THEY read, you get to peek into the lives (and minds) of judges, prostitutes, rabbis, politicians, humorists, strippers, photographers, civil rights activists, housewives, ministers…you get the point.

I’m too old to start experimenting with new lifestyles. I am firmly set in my ways, and deliriously happy with my life. I am wrapped like a warm baby within my religion without feeling the need to convert others. I am fairly static in my political views, but I can sometimes be swayed by a compelling, intellectually honest, argument.

In a world without blogs and on-line journals…without newsgroups and e-zines…people like me (eye??) would never have the opportunity to get inside the head of someone with different ideology, religion, lifestyle, politics, nationality…point-of-view. I have no desire to be these people, but I share the world with them...so I should understand a bit about what makes them tick.

By posting a list of the heads I like to peek inside, I’m giving you a glimpse of some of the walls where I bounce my own ideas.

What you see here on the left side of the page…that’s all me. My ideas (or at least the properly attributed ideas of others), and my responsibility.

Over there on the right (yes, I said you could look) is a sampling of the rest of the world.

Go. Don’t go. But for kripes sake, stop thinking that by sending self-congratulatory e-mails to ideological clones of yourselves you are going to change the world…or even one mind.

'nuff said.

Posted by David Bogner on February 25, 2004 | Permalink

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