Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jewish Blogs, Promoters of Ill Will

Why is it that 90% of Jewish blogs have such a negative tone to them? We're all tired of hearing that bad news sells the papers, but alas, the expression still holds true.
It's good that issues are discovered and dealt with, I just can't bear it when things are blown out of proportion, usually by renegades but not always.

Anybody who has been or has known the subject of a news story knows to what degree the facts are often distorted, stretched, even falsified. Once the entire media world picks up on an occurrence and misrepresents it, you know never to trust the news outlets. That's where the exploding world of bloggers came in, it all seemed so idyllic, until bitterness took over.

There are plenty of interesting bloggers who try to present accurate facts and analysis of them. There are honest political, linguistic or Torah-related bloggers who don't get too mixed up in the pettiness blogging sometimes carries with it. Sadly though, the majority of Jewish bloggers seem inclined to denigrate, and this small percentage of the Jewish population represents Judaism to many of those who only learn about us through online interaction.

Things often sound so much worse on paper. An example is the chassidic world which is very often criticized; readers probably imagine neighborhoods full of people with grim long faces, black and white lives, curtailed childhoods. The truth is usually the opposite, proof of a couple of unsatisfied residents shouldn't blind one to the fact that there are plenty of smiling, giggling, colorful chassidim about.

Another matter I've noticed is the way people who belong to one group within Judaism often criticize all groups which they disagree with or even strongly despise, however they will not tolerate criticism of their own. An example is Chabad: criticism of this movement is live and loud, you will find something nearly every day of the week, but when a Chabadnik tentatively attempts to criticize or analyze the Litvish world, woe unto him or her, commenters immediately attempt to shush the blogger, they viciously write that the Chabadnik has no right to do this. Logic?

There are many problems in the real world, but not all are as prevalent as the bloggers try to make them sound. Coming from a non religious town, I wish I could grab some of the bloggers who live in frum communities and tell them how lucky they are, how ungrateful they are for all they have. They don't realize how much has been given to them, what they were born into, and how much potential they have to rectify problems. It breaks my heart sometimes.

This is why I should stop checking JRants.


Blogger Ezzie said...

That's one of the ideas behind "Kindness Happens", a newish blog. You'd probably like it...

Good post, though I disagree with some of it. I have, in the past, complained about much the same; others noted in response that blogs are often people's place to vent. Moreover, a lot of people are pointing to problems not simply to complain or be negative - they'd like to help fix them, they want to solve them.

I know that on my blog, I will often note the negatives - but I'll also point out what I think could/should be done about it. Sometimes, it's hard to know - as someone just said to me, it's meant as a springboard for discussion.

Of course, appreciation is all relative. It's easier to see the flaws when you're living them day to day, and it's harder to appreciate what we have. It's good to have reminders of this, certainly. But at the same time, noting the flaws for a constructive purpose - or even to vent - is not a bad thing, but often could be a good thing.

Bashing of one group or another, especially with terrible stereotypes, is just wrong.

3:51 PM  

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