Friday, January 14, 2005

Give peace a chance

OK, so, a few things going on here:

1) Miriam posts links to an interesting and sad controversy in the blogosphere about a book that has been banned for "heresy" in the Ultra-Orthodox community.

2) At the end of her post, Miriam asks "where, incidentally, are the good people of Cross-Currents on this controversy? If they are going to duck an issue like this which is all theirs, what's the point of being on a forum like the blogosphere?????"

I like Miriam's blog a lot and am happy to see that she at least acknowledged that, along with other possibilities is the one that they are taking time to "coordinate their positions." Reasonable people, such as Miriam, allow for reasonable possibilities.

There's lots of words, words, words being thrown around by various bloggers about Cross-Currents and the people who write it. But regarding this book controversy, and certain others as well, what strikes me is the quickness with which some bloggers (including one whose official blog topic has nothing to do with books, or heresy) say, in essence, "hey! You! Leaders! React! NOW!!! NOW I SAY!!!!! THREE SECONDS TOO LATE! This has been on the blogosphere for several hours already, where are you???? WIMPS!"

[From here on I'm having formatting problems. The text is supposed to be "normal size" but isn't doing what I want . . . ]

As RenReb would say: Ahem.

Give people a break! The most thoughtful bloggers spend more than five minutes composing their posts. The blogosphere moves fast, too fast sometimes for people with full-time jobs, children, congregations, schools, spouses, other hobbies, and laundry to do. I can tell you that I've spent the last few days trying to compose a thoughtful post about a topic I care about, but every time I go back to revise it, there have been new developments and I need to change the whole thing.

I've often said that the reason we need weekly and monthly newsapers and magazines in addition to dailies is that the dailies record the news as it happens, and the weeklies and monthlies record the news after people have had a chance to reflect thoughtfully about what has happened.

The blogosphere contains the best and worst elements of daily news, because it is this second's news this second. It represents our thoughts as we think them, records our actions in real time. It's exciting. It's so on-the-edge that it's often over the edge. And therein lies the downside. What we gain in speed we very, very often lose in quality. And veracity.

I do hope that someone on Cross-Currents will blog about the book controversy (and, of course, I hope they say something I agree with!), because I, too, hunger for intellectually honest Orthodox leaders who take a stand for their true beliefs and are willing to become unpopular among those to the "right" of them. But I also hope that they'll take a day or three or seven to decide what they really want to say, so that their posts will, in fact, reflect their true beliefs and not some knee-jerk reaction. I would hate for one of them to post something and then, the next day, retract it (though people of course are allowed to change their minds . . . but in a case like this it isn't pretty when they do).

[This post was composed in the 15 minutes after I was inspired to write it.]

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