The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Further Debate on Ethics in the JBlogosphere

A while back I criticized Chaim Rubin. If you have not yet read it, I urge you to in order to properly engage in the debate. He recently responded to my critique:
Chaim said...

First of all, I never gave your permission to post private email exchanges.
Second, As I explained in my PRIVATE email to you, I would NOT say go get a CD or that I enjoyed a CD if I didn't.
You took a random comment and made a whole maisah out of it.
I told you if I dont like a CD I won't write about it.
Notice how few albums get reviewed on my site these days?
I dont have any obligation to post if a CD isn't to my liking.
Im just a guy with a blog who likes to write about something that I enjoy, music.
To make me out to be some sort of Huffington Post writer or contributor to a NY Times blog and this need to "call me out" or hold my feet to the fire or admonish me for not wanting to say negative things is very upsetting to me.
If I don't want to write when a song or a CD is bad, I DON'T HAVE TO.
As I wrote in our PRIVATE email exchange (if I had wanted it to be public I'd have allowed the comment though and engaged you in public) I do believe there is a Mentschlich element here that the goyishe world of journalism does not care about or take into account.
These ARE people who do work very hard to make an album and spend a lot of money. I will not be responsible for people not buying a CD or hurting someones Parnasah.
If the CD sucks, people will know, people aren't stupid. My blog and my reviews are meant for entertainment only, for fun, for some guy who loves music to publicly express when he enjoys a good song, or a good CD.

Yes, if you go back far enough you will see I started out differently, but as I did engage in lengthy and detailed conversations with many artists my conscious kicked in and I had many reasons to change what I choose to write about a CD.

I still hold true to my original comment. If you spent gobs of money and a project and spent months, sometimes years working on something only to have it publicly ripped apart on a site that gets over 1,000 eye balls every day, I think you'd be singing a different tune. Especially if said blog could cost you to lose tens of thousands of dollars and months (or years) worth of work.

... and you know what? I know there are holes in my logic, and news flash, I don't care.

I'm glad this is what you choose to make a big deal out of during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

This is exactly why I don't post as much anymore, inane, pointless, self riotous, holier than thou comments and attack posts.

Gmar Tov, thanks for the public lashing. What a waste of everyones time. Don't take yourself so serious, it's just a blog, mine and yours and at the end of the day if you don't use your brain to make your own decisions then you're just sheep.

I'll respond to each comment in order:
I never posted the e-mails in their entirety. You never informed me that the conversation was to be kept private - in fact, it was your statement "But behold the glory of the world wide web, you can .... so, if you feel they are important comments to see the light of day . . ." that if anything implied explicit permission to bring the matter to the public forum. My quotes were to the point, and well with in the frame of Fair Use.

I'm glad that you have the integrity not to take garbage and pass it off to other people - I never suspected you of such. To not review what you consider inferior product is a legitimate means of keeping things 'fair'. You have no obligation to write about what you dislike - just as you have no obligation to write what you like - limiting it, as it will, you status as a true music review blog . . . then again you claim that you are not. So nu. What bothers me is the fudging of what you do review.

I don't make you out to be a NY Time writer, nor a huffington post . . . but if VIN and Yeshivah World can be called out, as you yourself have then neither your blog - nor mine- are different.

You seem to be confusing constructive criticism from childish ad hominem attacks. Let us deal with the later first:
Childish attacks are wrong. They serve no purpose other then to destroy. They show a lack of maturity on the part of the one who writes them, and have no place in adult conversation. When speaking of criticism, it is to such matters that you mistakenly bring as an example. On this I am in agreement with you: There is no place for immature and irresponsible attacks on the works of others - their are soseir shlo al menas l'vnos!

True criticism is not meant to "rip apart" the works of others. It is constructive and serves to better the future work. If done properly then it should in no way affect the parnasa of others. If the labels continue to release shoddy work, then it is to their own detriment!
Criticism is not a 'Goyishe' thing - make a true and honest cheshbon of what's right and wrong is just! You had no problem commenting on and profiling the Kolko case and other such high profile dirt in the frum world, yet you never batted an eyelash at lives you may be affecting therein! And you know what? I agree with you. Protecting 'inzere' will ultimately be a true danger to the viability of the Jewish Community biz bias goel tzedek, and while the Jewish record labels are not ch"v v'ch"v at all comparable to the above - the need to brake the Kosher Nostra remains. We need to strike the balance of respect and Mentschlich'kite with honesty and integrity.

You write that your blog is for entertainment only - yet to me it seems very clear that you are using it as backdoor to escape any responsibility from your own words! I never doubted that you write what you do out of joy - though you have set up a way to make some profit out of it all in order to defray your costs. I too write for the joy of it, but I don't use it as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for my own lapses of intellectual honesty! You admit to holding power over the public, yet when confronted with a problem, you pretend that you're a nobody. Please.

If you admit that your logic is flawed and don't care . . . then I feel very sorry for you. Are you telling me that your writing is worthless and made of straw? I should hope not.

I didn't write this during Aseres Yemei Teshuvah - I in fact wrote it well before Rosh Hashanah. What is more, I would not be ashamed to write what I did now. I have no qualms against you as person and continue to have the utmost ahavas yisroel for you. If you take an honest and fair criticism of the topic (not the person) then the problem is in your own understanding of the matter. To quote a story mentioned in a recent post on the Tzig:
The Rov went for this daily walk on EYK and on this walk began to "bash" (for lack of a better term) a certain Jewish politician/askan. His attendant was surprised to hear these words from the [R]uv on such an auspicious day, and asked him if it wouldn't be better if they postpone this conversation until G-d has sealed the book of life. The Rov was quite surprised to hear this young man's question and had a very simple answer: I'm saying this because I believe that this man needs to be attacked verbally, and I believe so because I believe this is what Torah demands of me, so why should I not do what the Torah tells me to do davka on this day?!
My post was not inane nor pointless - I'd hope you'd afford my words that much credit. You're more then welcoming to disagree, but please let's level the proper criticism. What is more, please refrain from attacking my person as Self-"riotous" [sic], and holier then thou. Perhaps if you'd practice the enlightened ability to separate constructive criticism of ideas from that of your the person -and refrain from doing it to others (such as me), then you'd not have such trouble doing so when it comes to Music.
If you consider my words to be a waste of time, then they are. If you take them to practical application, then they were not wasted. Perhaps you'll no longer resort to excuses of knowingly not making any sense, and thus be m'kayim your own blessing "u
sing your [own] brain to make your own decisions" and thus not be "just sheep".

Chasima U'gmar Chasima Tova! A Zisse yahr.

Blog on my friend.

P.S. I am sorry if it seemed that your reviews are biased by free CDs. While I did seem to imply as much in my original post, my problem is equally as much with the general cushiness with the industries and the benefits there in.

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