Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Notes To My Readers From The Blogosphere

In some ways, life in the blogosphere resembles my life with flesh and blood humans. There tend to be groups that hang out together. Like my high school days, I didn't have enough defining characteristics that fit neatly into one group. Today, I enjoy a mix of political, religious and even some anti-religious blogs. I have seen that it is impossible to please everyone. I am still looking for that balance of topics that reflects my interests. It will continue to be a distinguishing feature of this blog to take positions that might offend such as defense of Muslims who want separate swimming or focusing on the importance of treating workers properly as a cornerstone of family values. I tend to have a mix of "right" and "left" in my political views.
Sultan Knish wrote an amazing article about Alexander Solzhenitsin that considerably dampened my enthusiasm for him. As my Russian Jewish coworkers tell me, his personal disdain for Jews was projected into his literary output. What was most remarkable was the "deals with the devil" that he is reported to have made in exchange for more lenient treatment. Records from prison show that he was assigned supervisory and academic work details. In an added layer of galling hypocrisy, he portrays Jews in the gulag as having enjoyed the same priveleged treatment he also enjoyed. Sultan Knish also points out that "Ivan Denisovitch" was published officially . Its publication served the interest of Krushchev and company in denouncing the previous leadership of Stalin and company. It is clear that Solzhenitsin's position in history will at best be that of a tarnished icon. It is ironic that he left America to return to Russia with little show of gratitude to the United States for having given him asylum. It is an interesting contrast to Lenin, who hid in Finland before the Russian revolution and repaid their kindness by granting them independence from Russia in 1917.
The history of the Russian/Soviet empire is replete with sanctimonious hypocrisy directed at Jews who are denounced as "rootless cosmopolitans" who are not really a part of Russian life. The Russian royal family was part of the shallow and stagnant gene pool that comprised much of European royalty. Despite being the symbol of Russian identity, they spoke English and French.
Josef Vissarionovich Dhugashvili, more commonly known as Josef Stalin was from the non Slavic republic of Georgia and spoke Russian with a noticeable Georgian accent. The behaviors of Stalin and Nicholas the Second remind me of teams of pickpockets who get on the train and loudly warn the compressed commuters to be wary of pickpockets as they themselves work the crowd.
In our trying times it is impossible for me to blog solely about history. There are pressing current events upon which to focus. It should be remembered that the presentation of the past is often a political statement about the present.
I enjoy reading opinions that are at variance with mine. Lately I have been paying attention to Thoughts of A Secular Jew. Without questions such as his, Jewish thought becomes flabby. To fully develop an idea, you need to question it sympathetically and critically. His links and posts in which he mentions other blogs really expose me to a layer of social criticism that I might otherwise have a hard time finding.
Monkey In The Middle has been a springboard into conservative and pro Israeli coverage. Despite some differences of strategy, I agree with Monkey In The Middle in identifying radical Islam as a major threat. It was through her site that the issue if Britain's prosecution of the blogger "Lionheart" for what were essentially "thought crimes" came to my attention. Her list of favourites is my bridge into the pro Israel part of the blogosphere. Tundra Tabloids has done a good job of keeping the spirit of the late great Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci alive. Both Tundra and Fallaci have refused to bow to the prevailing winds of political correctness in criticising the role of radical Islam in destabilising Europe.
A Dwelling Place Below has become one of my favourite blogs for Jewish spirituality. I am sure that list will grow.
After the Three Weeks I intend to resume musical postings. Already, I have Albanian and Celtic music going through my head. Going without music is harder than fasting, but I need to withdraw from music at regular intervals.
The sages of Israel stress baseless hatred and factionalism as a cause of the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash, the Holy Temple. I have tried to blog in a manner that increases unity and peace not only during the three weeks but at other times as well. I hope I have been successful.

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