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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sell crazy somewhere else... we're all full over here!

A couple of years ago I got the first of what would turn out to be a long stream of unsolicited emails from someone that suggested that one of my personal heroes, Natan Sharansky, had actually been a KGB operative who informed on his fellow refuseniks

This long, rambling email came uninvited from someone I had never heard of.  The only thing I knew for sure was that the person who had sent me that informative little manifesto obviously didn't know the first thing about me.  If he had he would have realized:

a)  I hate unsolicited email.

b) I particularly hate hate loooong, unfocused, unsubstantiated, unsolicited emails that slander people I admire.

c)  I hate unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

d)  Probably the only thing that can make angrier than sending me an example of 'a', 'b' or 'c' is to do so and then defend your actions in such a way as to imply that I'm the one with the problem for not wanting your unique brand of crazy inflicted on me first thing in the morning when I check my email.

For those of you who know about whom I speak, please don't mention his name here.  While he may be worthy of public ridicule, I'd prefer to keep this discussion in the realm of theoretical and out of the realm of a courtroom (if you get my meaning).

Anyhoo, this theoretical Oliver Stone-wannabe didn't take the hint.  In fact he didn't even take my direct instruction (I used small words for clarity) to cease and desist from sending me his crap.

I continued to get emails about everything from how Rabin was actually assassinated by the Shabbak (Israel Security Service) to how nearly every road accident involving a religious person is actually a carefully orchestrated plot by the power-brokers on the secular left to knock off the country's religious leadership.  This person's concern for Israel's religious population is especialy puzzling since many of his emails arrive on Shabbat.

Look, I'll be the first to admit that there is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness (not my line, BTW) but I think that 'containment' is critical for preserving that distinction.

Not clear?  Here, let me give you an example:

Raising bees... cluttering up your house with beekeeping equipment and protective clothing... reading everything in print about bee culture and apiaries... taking your kids to spend precious free time to work with several hives... writing about it and posting pictures of it on a blog... and giving honey to one's friends and neighbors:  Hobby

Emailing / writing letters to people you don't know to tell them that there really is no such thing as a natural death or fluke road accident in Israel:  Mental Illness

Clear so far?

There are certain crazies I grudgingly tolerate because they are fairly harmless and honestly feel they are tasked with making me a better person.  But I feel strongly that the decision to tolerate craziness or keep it at arm's length should be mine to make... not the crazies'.

Yet here we are almost two years later and I'm still getting emails from this theoretical person.  Some of them contain long, rambling rants about G-d-knows-what (I sure wouldn't since I never read them), while others land in my in-box bearing nothing more than a cryptic subject such as "Jonathan Pollard" and a blank email (oooooh, maybe the thought police deleted his email before it got to me!).

I discussed this whole 'tin-foil-hat brigade' thing with a couple of my fellow bloggers a while back and one comforted me with the following observation, "Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad we have renegade independent journalists [ed note: I love that !] questioning the official version of events. It's an important thing to have in a democracy. But he is pretty nuts."

That about sums it up.  I'd hate to live in a country where alternative-theory-enthusiasts (Oh who am I kidding, conspiracy nuts) are not allowed to indulge in their, er, hobby.  But could they please sell crazy somewhere else... we're all full over here!

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Posted by David Bogner on April 17, 2007 | Permalink

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I also theoretically got an email recently from this theoretical person.

Reminds me of this joke:

What does a paranoid have in common with the all-knowing master of time space and dimension that secretly controls all of our lives?…Right, like you don’t know.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Apr 17, 2007 1:39:08 PM

You send out honey? can I get on a mailing list? :-)

Posted by: nrg | Apr 17, 2007 3:08:39 PM

Hey, what's wrong with tin-foil hats?

Posted by: dfb1968 | Apr 17, 2007 5:07:40 PM

All I can say Trepp, is "Dame Joan" must of had a real inpact on you, heh,heh

Posted by: Esther | Apr 17, 2007 5:31:13 PM

See what happens when you eat the corn chips over at the Bogners. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Apr 17, 2007 5:33:16 PM

Hmm... I think I'm getting emails from the same person... or then again, it might be someone completely paranoid. I didn't read the first one, because I didn't have time, but looking at the second one, it sounded pretty close to what you're describing. As for the conspiracy theory regarding Sharansky, I've heard that one before... the trouble with the FSU was, it did have a slew of (in)voluntary informers working for the KGB, and sometimes it was very difficult to tell who was an informer and who was not... Hence, it led to mass suspicion, and a constant sense of paranoia. I doubt that Sharansky was involved, though.

Posted by: Irina | Apr 17, 2007 5:42:50 PM

For an informer, the Soviets sure did treat Sharansky like dirt. The Gulag isn't Club Med....or even Club Fed.

Considering your high profile in the blogosphere, it's not surprising that you're a moonbat magnet. Comes with the territory I guess. Does your blog host allow you to block comments by name and IP number?

Posted by: K Newman | Apr 17, 2007 6:09:01 PM

What a pain. :/

Since you told the person to stop and you were ignored, you can now advance and report them to their ISP. Usually, ISPs ain't kidding with harassers and nutcases and close down accounts and internet services.

Even though I thought this was about emails not nasty comments - if the person isn't on a static IP, then there is not much sense in blocking their IP, because it's changing with each visit.
But sometimes, putting anonymous surfing sites onto the block list already helps a great deal. Nutcases don't like it at all, I have seen it myself. ;)


Posted by: a. | Apr 17, 2007 9:44:37 PM

Now you are going to be exposed as a secret member of the CFR.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Apr 17, 2007 11:45:14 PM

David,

Following a phone call I received yesterday I can tell you that the Nazis have killed off all the Jews in England and they now have 300,000 actors playing Jews there instead.

The world is full of fruitcakes....

Posted by: Gilly | Apr 18, 2007 12:04:11 AM

There is nothing wrong with a good conspiracy theory. Some have been right. We have to think and question what we hear whether it be a news story, opinion piece or conspiracy theory.

But unfortunately people like this could do truth a disservice. Take for instance the Rabin affair. I for one feel that all the facts don't add up. The person with the way out there theory comes along and now anyone who has some questions won't want to open their mouth for fear of looking like a twit. The same with the "war against the religious settlers". I discussed this with a guide I had in Israel while touring Samaria. There is some truth in it.

Hmmmm.... I wonder if this person you are speaking of could be doing this on purpose or being paid for it by the dark side, creating wacked out theories to obscure the truth. To make it seem ridiculous. Hmmmm.... This could be great material for a conspiracy theory... any takers? Just don't email it to David Bogner!

Posted by: Dave | Apr 18, 2007 6:26:35 AM

Dave (Balashon)... Perfect.

nrg... What are the agro-import laws like there in Norway? Let me know and I think we can work something out.

dfb1968... Um, nothing. Forget I said anything [looks around and whistles]

Esther... 'impact? Yes. Long-lasting positive affect? Not so much. :-)

Jack... Yeah, that's it. :-)

Irina... I have no problem with someone digging into any theory or allegation they wish. I even support their right to publish their findings in the press or on their own web sites. But I have a big problem with someone emailing me their stuff after I have asked them not to on many occasions. There is an old saying about religious nuts that goes like this: "Those that want to exchange views on religion with you are rarely interested in yours". The same can be said for political nuts.

K Newman... High profile? Moi??? Look, even if that were true, it wouldn't explain why I was a moon-bat magnet back when I was just starting out as a blogger.

a. ... Yeah, because I have time to try and lock all the doors so the crazies won't get in. Also, the end result is isolating myself from people whose opinions I would miss.

JoeSettler... Shhhh... don't tell anyone.

Gilly... Yeah, I imagine over there as an aliyah jockey you get a lot of people who are off their meds. Keep up the good work. :-)

Dave... Just to be clear... I'm not debating the merits of his ideas/theories. Rather, I'm saying that I have a right to tell someone not to send me unsolicited stuff.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Apr 18, 2007 11:09:41 AM

As long as it's under a kilo of honey, I'm in the clear!! What kind of honey do your bees produce? My kids are partial to honey and peanut butter on toast!

Posted by: nrg | Apr 18, 2007 11:26:53 AM

David,

Yes, you. You even admitted it with your "Celebrity Endorsement #2." As for why there have been moonbats orbiting your belfry since way-back-when....well....uh....that's present company excluded, right?

:)

I'm curious as to what kind of honey you get as well. Around here, we have a lot of orange blossom now and in the fall, with palmetto later on in the summer. Tastes good.

Posted by: K Newman | Apr 18, 2007 7:40:07 PM

Zyprexa.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 20, 2007 7:23:35 AM

N.B., we're full over here, too. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: wrymouth | Apr 24, 2007 7:39:01 PM

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