Friday, April 04, 2008

The Humiliator

I would like to point out a strong difference between The Commentator and The Observer this year.

This difference is demonstrated in the respective Purim issues of the two publications.

There is a famous Gemara, Eruvin 65b, which states that one can judge a man b'koso, b'kiso and b'kaaso. And I would add one more thing- by his sense of what is appropriate, by his sense of what is amusing and humorous. In a way, this is the very quality that is being measured in all three situations noted in the Gemara- whether or not the man acts in an appropriate fashion when he is confronted with the request to give charity, when he is in his cups, or when he is angry. And this is a quality measured when one is placed in a position of responsibility as well.

I happened to be at YU tonight, and seeing as there were none available on the Beren campus, I picked up a copy of The Commentator's Purim issue, namely The Instigator. But I believe that it deserves a different and more appropriate name, mainly, The Humiliator.

I was appalled by the majority of the articles, but most disgusted by one entitled "Stern Students Are Hilarious, Don't You Think?"

A Stern student had written a letter to the editor in the most recent issue of The Observer. Her views, to put it kindly, are somewhat extreme. She believes that women do not focus enough upon dating and getting married, and that the women at Stern ought to care more about this. However, the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer clarified that the girl in question wanted her letter published exactly as it was, and that is precisely what she did. The girl signed her name to the letter.

And yes, while it is perfectly understandable that some might disagree with this girl's views, or giggle about them in private, it is beyond amazing that someone decided that a good idea for the Purim issue of The Commentator would be...to rip apart her letter unmercifully, destroying it piece by piece, mocking her pitilessly, humiliating her in front of the entire Yeshiva University community. Because we all know her name. Since she had signed it to the letter, you see.

And so I come across this "Purim" article that concludes:

"Wow. We couldn't have done it any better. To the entire student body of Stern College- we would like to thank you. This article toes the fine line between disgust and comedy. We can't tell whether to laugh or cry, so we'll do the only thing we know how to do, as self respecting me- we shall cry."

Are you laughing at this? Because I'm not laughing.

I think this is disgusting.

I find it amazing that a paper that claims the moral highground, has no problem expressing the opinion that IBC is not a valid Yeshiva program, lauds the "true" Yeshiva scholars, viciously lambastes those who went on certain CJF trips in order to try to improve the world and laments YU accepting supposedly lesser students with lower SAT scores thinks it is okay to publish an article that humiliates a person in front of the entire school. And yes, the girl's name was not included in the article itself, that is true. But we had all read her name in The Observer issue published beforehand (which was cited in the article.)

Where is your sensitivity? Where is your mercy? Must you destroy a person for the sake of your low attempts at humor? Would you like to be destroyed in front of the whole school?

It is fascinating that a paper which was involved in publishing the recent book Mentor of Generations: Reflections on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik managed to forget so simple a tenet of the Rav's philosophy:

"The Halakhah equated the act of publicly embarrassing a person with murder. Why? Because humiliation is tantamount to destroying an existential community and driving the individual into solitude. It is not enough for the charitable person to extend help to the needy. He must do more than that; he must try to restore to the dependant person a sense of dignity and worth. That is why we have developed special sensitivy regarding orphans and widows, since these persons are extremely sensistive and lose their self-confidence at the slightest provocation. The Bible warned us against afflicting an orphan and widow."

~Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, "The Community," Tradition, Vol. 17, No. 2, p. 16.

Ah yes. But these are our true Torah scholars, the ones who publish The Instigator. They're the ones who would never participate in CJF trips where people wore pillowcases on their heads, or be part of IBC, or receive less than a 1400 on their SATs.

But they would humiliate a person publicly, and have the callousness to treat that as a joke.

Torah like this is not true Torah. An apology is in order, and those who work for The Humiliator ought to rethink their attempt at holding the moral highground. If for no other reason, this Purim issue utterly destroys their credibility. A true scholar would have the sensitivity to refrain from attacking another person in public, from destroying her, from hurting her. How can she dare show her face now?

You did this. This is what you have wrought. But at least one good thing has come of this. For I believe that many of us now recognize that "we have allowed the wrong student to take [a] leadership role and misrepresent us to the broader Jewish community."

That's a worthwhile realization.

75 comments:

dman said...

For those of us who are not on campus, how does one find online the letter which appeared in the Observer referred to in your post and the issue of the Instigator?

I assume that the article in The Instigator is every bit as disgusting as characterized in your article. Nonetheless, before writing to people I know at YU about it, I should read both articles myself.

Elster said...

Assuming that you are portraying the events 100% accurately - then I agree with you 100%. The line between humor and pettynes is often fine, but hopefully one in an editorial position can make that distinction.

concerned YU students said...

It sounds like the person in an edotorial position of The Commentator/Instigator was either drunk or SUPPORTED the "fun"article since it got published. He should be FORCED to step down. No ifs or buts about it.

concerned YU students said...

Chana,
where were the Co-editor and the rest of The Commentator's staff when the articles in The Istigator were approved to be published? It sounds like the entire staff of The Commentator had something to do with this disgrace.
Simply something for you to look into. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

agree with elster, and the quote from R'YBS has stuck in my mind since I first saw it, but I wonder what your source is for b'kiso meaning charity requests; iirc it refers to general commerce with others.

KT
Joel Rich

Izgad said...

I find it difficult to find fault with the staff of the commentator. The person who wrote the letter and signed her name to it willingly put herself in the public eye. If you willingly put yourself and your views on display for the public to see you have to be aware that people are going to make judgments about you. I would argue that anyone puts themselves in the public eye has signed away their write to not be humiliated. Following this same line of thinking in American law today it is almost impossible for public figures to sue for libel. If you agree to be a public figure then you have de facto agreed to allow people to say things about you. If you do not like it then get out of the public spotlight.

Anonymous said...

Izgad,

People can make whatever mental judgements they want, that doesn't mean they need to share them in a hurtful way.

KT
Joel Rich

Elster said...

Agree with Joel Rich - Simply saying something in public, regardless of how silly someone else may think it is, doesn't give people Carte Blanche to publicly humiliate them.

G makes insteresting points though - Why would the writer of this Blog have found it aceptable to rip on the Commentator's editor?

a Commentator reader said...

Elster said:
"G makes insteresting points though - Why would the writer of this Blog have found it aceptable to rip on the Commentator's editor?"

I believe this is due to the well known fact that the Commentator's editor exercised poor judgement in not so distant past and had been forwarned whisch resulted in his public apology for his wrongdoing(in The Commentator).

So much for his apology,which obviously isn't worth much.

Erachet said...

G makes insteresting points though - Why would the writer of this Blog have found it aceptable to rip on the Commentator's editor?

Because the Commentator's editor has responsibilities and he is reflected in whatever gets published in the Commentator. If there are inappropriate things going on in the Commentator, the editor is the one who has to deal with them and who is held at fault for allowing them to be published at all. There is a huge difference between strongly criticizing the editor and completely humiliating a girl who wrote a letter to the newspaper, whether or not you agree with the letter. Additionally, while in the professional world, people do get mocked like that, it should not be going on in a school publication. Students humiliating other students is wrong and disgusting, plain and simple.

Elster said...

Hmmm, methinks this article was edited for (backlash) content.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is 2 wrongs never make a right. The editors of the commentator deserve to be reprimanded for allowing (or writing) an attack on a comlpeterly undeserving individual. However, that doesn't open the door to attack the attackers in an uncivilized way.

The author seems to realize this and removed that from the article -which is a different one than the one I read this morning.

Anonymous said...

Joel Rich-see Rabeinu Chananel on tha gemara, where he seems to understand it as Chana does

SimchaGross said...

Anon 2:35,
Chana's article was far from kfira. She advocated being taught Biblical Criticism, not belief in it. A 'Kofer' is a Halakhic category defining one who espouses a specific set of beliefs (see Rambam Hilchot Teshuva/Mamrim), none of which were espoused by Chana in that article. Please avoid throwing out harsh and offensive terms incorrectly and cavalierly. And secondly, Chana has written quite a few posts against the commentator long before the letter to the editor of which you speak appeared.

To Elster and friends,
There is a difference between critiquing and mocking. Chana here critiqued the article. She did not mock the persons views, or the persons beliefs, but simply critiqued his/their poor value judgment. Later in the same piece from which Chana quoted, RYBS says:
"The Torah wanted the Jew to live heroically, to rebuke, reproach, condemn, whenever society is wrong and unfair." Chana justifiably followed his lead.

Izgad,
The fact that you need to argue your case - "I would argue that anyone puts themselves in the public eye has signed away their write to not be humiliated" - means that these people have NOT signed away their right (not write) to not be humiliated, since no one, but yourself, knows about this new quasi-social contact of yours. Moreover, you can give what in Yiddish is known as "Boich-Svaras" (baseless reasoning) all you want, but there is no Halakhic/logical reason to believe that once someone voices their opinions publicly you can mock them unsparingly. CRITIQUE their points, sure, but mock?

Chana said...

I have removed comments that reference specific individuals. I do not think it is appropriate or necessary to name names.

another YU student said...

Anon 3:18,
once again-you are grasping at straws. Reread Chana's article on Biblical Ctiticism before making erronious statements.

Elster said...

Simcha - just to clarify. i have no problem with the article itself - just the fact that the author seemed to think it was ok to bash the editor of the commentator (nixed by the observer editor).

Izgad said...

Simchagross
If I give my consent for people to make fun of me then people have the right to do so. The question here is wether the case we are dealing with is simply a matter of non verbal permission. The girl who wrote the original letter must have known that people were going to make fun of her. If she was somehow unaware of this fact then it was the responsibility of the Observer to inform her of this. If I were the editor of the Observer I would have contacted this girl and warned her that she would come under fire for this letter. This raises an interesting question about the Observer. Did the editor of the Observer take advantage of a poor innocent girl by letting her write something that she would be made fun of for; is the Observer the real Humiliator?

I am a blogger. People write nasty comments about my posts and I cannot complain about it. The mere fact that I started to blog means that I accepted that this was going to happen to me.

SimchaGross said...

Elster,
I don't think i fully understood your last comment (this is not an attack, I simply don't really understand what point was being made). However, if what you are saying is that Chana should not have critiqued the article or the author/s of it, then my response is, just as I said earlier, that there is a difference between a CRITIQUE and MOCKING. I brought the RYBS quote to support my case. Chana followed the former guidelines (critique) while the article she critiqued did the latter (mocked).

Chana said...

Izgad,

No, The Observer is not the real Humiliator, as I made clear in my post.

"However, the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer clarified that the girl in question wanted her letter published exactly as it was, and that is precisely what she did. The girl signed her name to the letter."

All due warnings were given.

Izgad said...

"The Observer clarified that the girl in question wanted her letter published exactly as it was, and that is precisely what she did. The girl signed her name to the letter.'
All due warnings were given."


Chana
Nothing in your original post said anything about the Observer actually warning this girl that people were going to make fun of her. If they did then well and good.

SimchaGross said...

Izgad,
You are Halakhically mistaken. Harming another Jew is objectively problematic (see Sanhedrin 58a where it says that hitting a Jew is the same as hitting god). I personally would extend that to say harming anyone, including non-Jews, is objectively problematic (see Meiri in a number of places who extends most of these things to non-Jews as well, for more on that see Jacob Katz "Exclusiveness and Tolerance," on his chapter on the Meiri, which I believe is called "Enlightened Men"), but all agree that it is at least the case by Jews. Embarrassing a person has 2 components: a) Hurting the other person b) doing an objectively wrong act. In Halakha, b exists without a, and your case holds no water.
From a person whose blog title declares that he is trying to find a happy medium between "materialism and fundamentalism," do you really doubt that there are some people who, perhaps a bit more on the "fundamental" side of things, would write an article like that sincerely? And why not, are you not willing to accept other vantage points? So you disagree with her. Thats fine, when she wrote her article she did accept the fact that people can argue. But she doesn't have the authority to allow people to violate Halakhic principles by doing objectively wrong acts. Nor is it fair, intellectually honest, or decent to MOCK someone for views that are perhaps a bit naive. Attack the IDEA not the PERSON.

Izgad said...

SimchaGross


"From a person whose blog title declares that he is trying to find a happy medium between "materialism and fundamentalism," do you really doubt that there are some people who, perhaps a bit more on the "fundamental" side of things, would write an article like that sincerely? And why not, are you not willing to accept other vantage points? So you disagree with her. Thats fine, when she wrote her article she did accept the fact that people can argue. But she doesn't have the authority to allow people to violate Halakhic principles by doing objectively wrong acts. Nor is it fair, intellectually honest, or decent to MOCK someone for views that are perhaps a bit naive. Attack the IDEA not the PERSON."

A person who is not a king is allowed to be "mochel al kevodo" forgive his honor. What is so agaisnt halacha about saying that writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper counts as a non verbal "mochel al kevodo?"

I assume that the girl acted sincerely and that she believes what she wrote. The content of her argument has nothing to do with this issue. She could have written something that I agree with 100% and it still would not change the issue.

Satire is an important part of the western intellectual tradition. Sometimes the best way to argue against something is to make fun of it. In rhteoric we have the concept of reductio ad absurdum. One takes the person's line of thinking and allows it to play itself out to its logical absurdity.

Mordy said...

To be fair, Olivia, Izgad has something of a point. Real journalists (of which, unfortunately, YU's student body is of short supply) know that when dealing with "civilians," you need to be extra careful. When talking to politicians, administrative bodies, and PR, any on-the-record comment is fair game. When talking to a private citizen, though, it's appropriate to spell out all the problems to them and make sure they are totally aware of the situation. They are uninitiated in media - they really need their hand held.

Check this article out for the tricky minefield journalists walk when interviewing private citizens. (It's really well-written, too):
http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2007/10/06/my_kid/

Of course, this only makes mocking a private citizen all the more reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Izgad-As Simcha pointed out, your position is halachically indefensible.See SA C.M. 420-31 and nosei keilim there, who state explicitly that one does not have the right to let someone else harm him in any way, and before you decide that this Issur does not apply to mockery, I suggest you take a look at the Shulchan Aruch Harav who states explicitly that it includes verbal abuse. Although in this case, that discussion does not even start. Does anybody realy believe, that if we would ask this girl when she wrote the letter whether she knew that she would be used as the butt of someone's Purim "joke" that her answer would be that she was expecting that? There is no reason to assume that when one writes a letter to a newspaper they are forfeiting their right to be treated decently. All one expects is to at worst, be critcized in harsh language, but why would somebody anticipate that they would be subject to anything beyond the parameters of respectable journalism?

Mordy said...

Erm. His point that the Observer is somewhat complicit in this issue. Not that the girl deserved what she got. (I know, I know. She was wearing a short skirt. But please. That argument doesn't hold water anymore.)

Anonymous said...

Mordy-see Izgad's last comment (5:49) "mochel al kevodo"

SimchaGross said...

Igzad,
I would add to Anon 6:01's comments that "Mochel Al Kvodo" does not mean that anything is fair game, but rather that the extra requirements may be waved. So for instance, your father may allow you to sit in his chair, but he may not permit you to undress him publicly. You seem to have a proclivity for misunderstanding Halakhic statements where doing so defends your position.

Mordy,
To be fair Igzad really doesn't have a point. Modern culture allows many things which do not fit into the Jewish weltanschauung (see the billboards on your local highway as an example, strip clubs etc). Our responsibility is to attempt to mold journalism to our Jewish world view, NOT accept Journalism at face value and all that goes with it. And speaking of YU papers, why not look at the most recent edition of Kol HaMevaser, which was, incidentally, about Journalism, and read Rabbi Lichtenstein's discussion of Jewish Journalism, where many of these points are corroborated.
http://media.www.yucommentator.com
/media/storage/paper652/news/2008
/03/17/KolHamevaser/An.Interview.
With.Rabbi.Aharon.Lichtenstein-3271725.shtml

Mordy said...

simchagross,

I'm not making a Torah argument. I'm arguing that even from a completely secular perspective (ie: Journalist Ethics), there's no excuse for the Commentator's lax standards. Even ignoring 'lashon hara,' mocking someone's letter in your newspaper is bad form unless you're MAD Magazine.

Anonymous said...

Simcha-Along those line, I would just like to point out (if it interests you) that your logic and the reasoning based on Sanhedrin 58a is dealt with at length in Shut Pri Yitzchock 1-53

Izgad said...

SimchaGross
Agreeing to be the victim of a purim article is not the same thing as agreeing to be stripped naked. Are each of the Roshai Yeshiva of YU asked for their permission before they are made fun of by the purim spiel? To the best of my knowledge no. It is taken as a given that the Roshai Yeshiva are fair game.

Personally I would be honored if the Commentator would make me the subject of a purim article. I would proudly display it on my blog. Its not Mad magazine, but it is a step in the right direction.

SimchaGross said...

Izgad,
Whether you have masochistic tendencies and would enjoy public humiliation is irrelevant to the conversation, similar to the fact that if someone's dog actually eats toothpaste it does not change its status from not being "Rauy LeAchilat Kelev" and therefore not Chametz (thought I would bring an example from "Inyaney DeYoma). Halakha is formal, and your oddities do not change it.
The Roshei Yeshiva are not Mocked maliciously, but rather in good taste. Moreover, Rabbi Ovadya Yosef bans Purim Shpiels (yes, this is true) because of just that fact. The Roshei Yeshiva also have a chance to request not to be made fun of, while I assume (though admittedly do not know for certain) that this young woman was not approached before hand. Read the articles in Kol HaMevaser and you will see that these issues are a problem.

Anon 8:59,
Thanks, sounds interesting.

Chana said...

Mordy,

Just to clarify the issue of The Observer being complicit in the publishing of the girl's letter. To my knowledge, this is not the case. The Editor in Chief specifically asked the girl whether she wished the letter to be published in exactly that format (and I would assume suggested that the girl might want to change it, perhaps indicating why, though I think that really ought to be understood.) I cannot cite this claim with absolute accuracy, but it is my impression that the paper would not deliberately allow a person to publish something that would make them seem ridiculous, which was the reason behind the EIC inquiring as to whether this is really what the girl wanted to do.

SimchaGross said...

Mordy,
I apologize. I misunderstood you. We are on the same page.

Bas~Melech said...

Don't know much about these publications, but instead of just blogging this maybe you ought to send this post as another letter to the editors.

Chana said...

I am reposting Anonymous 2:35 AM's comment with one change below. Please don't mention specific names.

Chana,

Shame on you! Earlier this year, you tore apart one of [an important Commie invididual's]’s editorials paragraph by paragraph with your own sarcastic critical annotations! You are guilty of the same thing! Moreover, he purposefully did not publish that sensitive article online but you had the gall to reproduce it on your blog.

I wasn’t sure if there was any defense for you so brought the issue up in the YU Caf this Shabbat. [This individual] has written more Torah essays in English and in Hebrew than any student at YU – and certainly a lot more than anyone who has time to comment in this blog-thread!

So since he won’t say it here, I will: Maybe you should sit and learn a little bit before you shoot your mouth off!

Chana said...

Anonymous 2:35AM,

I do not now have the time to explain my actions to you, but I wanted to comment on the most important part of your insinuation-that I God forbid do not respect or understand that the individual in question does what he does for the sake of the Torah, and has pure motivations. I absolutely believe this. I know that he is a passionate, strong, dedicated, committed, hardworking individual, and I believe you when you say that he in many ways dedicates his life to the Torah. It is all the more reason to be so upset when such a beautiful person is part of a publication which mocks and humiliates a girl as a joke.

SimchaGross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SimchaGross said...

Anon 2:35,
Wait a second. Are you suggesting that quantity of Torah study or the quantity of Torah publications someone publishes somehow implies pureness of heart and spirit? Thats demonstrably false. Think about it, if Hitler was to decide that he liked Torah the same way he liked Jewish music (thats not a joke, he actually liked Jewish music) and published a few Torah publications, we should then unquestionably follow his actions and assume them to be pure? How very very foolish. Moreover, just because someone has good intentions and motivations doesn't mean he can't slip up from time to time.
Also, bringing an issue up at a YU Caf doesn't in any way gain legitimacy to your opinion.
Finally, in defense of all those who comment on this or other blogs your claim that he learns - "certainly a lot more than anyone who has time to comment in this blog-thread!" - is a sweeping generalization. Do you think the person in question doesn't read blogs? Well, he and his commie compatriots spend many many hours simply dealing with the nitty gritty work of getting a newspaper published (something which, though not Talmud Torah, is still valuable). And do you think it takes more then, say, 2 minutes to read and comment? I asked my friends at the YU Caf, and they said they know people who read this blog and are huge Tzaddikim. In your words "Shame on you!" Think more carefully before making sweeping generalizations.
I hope you don't live your life by defining Tzaddikim by the amount of time they learn (which you don't actually know, but just asked some people) or by polling the YU cafeteria. That would be a very foolish way to live.

YU/Stern professor said...

Anon 2:35,
Wow!
I'd like to share a few key points with you:

1.this is one of Chana's well-written/thought provoking posts(as usual) that involves the entire YU/Stern Community. We do need to learn from it and do better;

2.it's appauling that you are implying that Chana doesn't learn enough Torah. I will have you to know that she is one of the top-notch/gifted students both in secular as well as judaic studies I've personally taught in a long time. Not only does Chana learn Torah and learns it well,she shares her knowledge freely and consistently with others here in her blog and with her fellow students at school. Also,I know many a faculty who read/enjoy her posts and don't consider this activity a waste of time;

3.Using statements such as "shame on you!" is unhealthy and counterproductive..It's OK to want to defend your friend,however, you need to learn to do it in a PC way.

Jack said...

Oy, the drama. Public humiliation is one of those things that can last a lifetime. It is not a trivial matter.

Erachet said...

I wasn’t sure if there was any defense for you so brought the issue up in the YU Caf this Shabbat. [This individual] has written more Torah essays in English and in Hebrew than any student at YU – and certainly a lot more than anyone who has time to comment in this blog-thread!

Maybe you should sit and learn a little bit before you shoot your mouth off!


And if commenting on this blog is such a waste of time, why do you do it?

Actually, Chana's blog provides an excellent way for students and others to learn from each other (and from Chana) and to converse back and forth about important issues. Just because discussions here are virtual does not make them any less legitimate and important than the conversations that might go on in a cafeteria, classroom, or even a beit midrash.

Yair said...

Anon 2:35,

Your point about Chana having a double standard would be true if it actually fit the facts. But if the post you are referring to is this (http://curiousjew.blogspot.com/2007/
11/because-world-needs-leaders
aka-you-all.html) - and since you say the article in question was not online, and so does the post, I think it is - then maybe you should reread it.

It's a constructive critique which also makes (occasional) use of sarcasm when appropriate. It discusses points and ideas, and does not at any time devolve into a malicious ad hominem attack utilizing cruel jibes - which is all the Commentator Purim article does. There is no attempt in the latter to discuss the points - only to dismiss them offhand and ridicule the one who espouses them. That is neither derekh eretz nor journalism (and yes, satire is also held to such a standard - a Purim or April Fools issue is an opportunity to write constructively in a different way, not to hurt or abuse).

Chana's post on the other hand, discusses the actual content of the piece she is critiquing, and, it should be noted, does not dismiss it wholesale, rather granting some points while vehemently opposing others.

If the Commentator piece actually did resemble Chana's earlier one, as you claim, we would not be having this discussion.

G said...

As my original comment had been removed due to a changing of the original post I was more than ready to sit the rest of this little YU/Stern squabble out.

HOWEVER! I cannot just sit idly by while allegations are tossed about which I know for a fact cannot have any basis in reality.

Did my eyes deceive me or was there put forth the idea that our esteemed blog owner (who alot of you should really cut a little slack, we're not exactly solving world peace here people - maybe try and tone it down a little) made use of "sarcasm"…sarcasm you say?!

Now, I do not claim to have any close personal knowledge of the author of this blog but one thing I do know (as it has been made VERY clear to me on more than one occasion)...sarcasm is not one of the things kept in the writer’s old scribal utility belt.

Carry on…

--Elster, keep fighting the good fight (just know that you’ll never win and that it gets old after a while, more is the pity)

the apple said...

Gotta say, Chana, there is something a tweensy bit off with ripping into someone for embarrassing someone else in a public forum.

The Commentator reader said...

... Apple,
someone had to speak up in the public forum to get the message across/ since the person involved was forwarned at least once and chose to do the same wrongdoing again.

the apple said...

the commentator reader,

There are different ways of getting a message across. I find it somewhat distasteful to lambaste someone publicly for embarrassing another person in public.

That being said, I think I will refrain from passing any more judgment in an online forum.

SimchaGross said...

Apple,
Please read the earlier comments before commenting yourself. As was discussed earlier, there is a difference between critiquing and mocking. Chana did the former while the commentator article did the latter. As I said above:
Later in the same piece from which Chana quoted, RYBS says:
"The Torah wanted the Jew to live heroically, to rebuke, reproach, condemn, whenever society is wrong and unfair." Chana justifiably followed his lead.

Anonymous said...

Can't people entitle the apple to her opinion?

SimchaGross said...

Anon 1:42,
Can't people discuss ideas civilly? Hitler really didn't like Jews, isn't he entitled to his opinion (though Apple is by no means Hitler)? I am not sure what the point of your statement was, but usually a discussion board is about...well, DISCUSSIONS. Why did The Apple even mention her opinion and challenge Chana's, isn't Chana entitled to her opinion? And for that matter, aren't we who choose to argue with The Apple entitled to our opinion that it is ok to argue with The Apple?

Yosef from YU said...

I'm with Simcha Gross!

the apple said...

I wasn't going to bother to respond, but honestly, sometimes the sycophantic nature of the commentors on this blog makes me wonder why people seem to feel that it's a good thing to unquestionably accept everything that an author writes without looking at it from a different perspective or trying to see more than one angle of an issue. Part of writing something is accepting that people aren't necessarily going to agree with you 100%, and being able to accept that they have a point and maybe are correct in their perception too.

Ezzie said...

Simcha - There's a marked difference between what the commenter above you did (which was argue Apple's point) and what you did, which was suggest that she shouldn't comment.

That's also twisting RYBS's words to fit into what's going on here.

How something is said is very, very important.

As an aside, Erachet's little sum-up of this very controversy makes the same points with far less fanfare and flame-fanning than what this series of comments turned into. That's how it should be.

the commentator reader said...

Apple,
why do you assume that we(the commentors) "accept unquestionably" what the author of this blog writes? Please state facts.

Ezzie,
this post was long overdue and it is written in a way that will FINALLY get the message across to those who need to internalize it and learn from it.

Ezzie said...

Ezzie,
this post was long overdue and it is written in a way that will FINALLY get the message across to those who need to internalize it and learn from it.


That sounds far more personal than a desire to point out and correct a failing. That's not a critique, but a personal attack - if that IS what was intended in this post (and I think Chana would have to agree with you for me to accept that), then the pretenses that it has a higher purpose and are so purely intended are simply garbage.

Moreover: Embarrassing in public is okay so long as it gets the point across? Or it's okay because it's the only way to get the point across? In light of the post at hand, that seems hypocritical. Again - how something is said (and I should add, done) is very, very important.

the apple said...

Apple,
why do you assume that we(the commentors) "accept unquestionably" what the author of this blog writes? Please state facts.


What do you want me to do, go back and cite all the comments that are in a tone of "what is written here is 100% correct and no one should refute it"? I'll admit that I am guilty of such comments in the past, although I am certainly working towards viewing things in a more objective way now. However, I think that it is fairly obvious from just this post as an example that often, comments here serve to just say "you're right!" and those comments also decry anyone who tries to present a counterpoint or a different view. Those comments are there to do what, exactly? Tell the author that she is infallible in what she writes and that she never makes a mistake? Okay, you can agree - but to agree to the extent of excluding other opinions is intellectually dishonest. There are comments on this blog that are very constructive and act to further discussion, which is great. It is the "shut them down" style of commenting that I dislike.

the commentator reader said...

Apple said:
"It is the "shut them down" style of commenting that I dislike."
You are entitled to your opinion,but please don't extend it to others. It's a free country after all.

Ezzie,
calm down and don't twist my words to support your argument.

Ezzie said...

You are entitled to your opinion,but please don't extend it to others. It's a free country after all.

LOL. That proved her point perfectly.

calm down and don't twist my words to support your argument.

? Explain all parts of that, please.

Erachet said...

GUYS.

1. Everyone needs to CALM DOWN. This is just a blog post.

2. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. That being said, there are ways of discussing issues without being accusatory about it (aka, telling someone he is twisting someone else's words is accusatory and really not constructive. Assuming a person has not read all the other comments is accusatory. Flaming the editor of the commentator is accusatory, etc. etc. etc. - just in case I am not being clear about this)

Additionally, there are a few issues being tossed around here that keep getting mushed into one and that makes things very confusing. Keep in mind, there are those commenters who dislike Chana's points, there are those who dislike the WAY Chana went about making those points - though they may not disagree with the points themselves, and there are those who dislike the way this post is being discussed in the comments.

Please also remember that:

A. Chana is not always right
B. Other commenters are not always right
C. You are not always right

Everyone is entitled to agree or disagree at their leisure but there is a huge difference between disagreeing and flaming. Disagreement and constructive arguing belong in a blog. Flaming and heated remarks do not.

Ezzie said...

[claps for Erachet] :)

Ezzie said...

(That was real clapping, not sarcastic.)

G said...

To quote the great Zack Morris: “Time Out!”

Wow, talk about a runaway train on tracks that lead nowhere.

Will everybody please pay attention. I am about to take alot of the air out of this little brouhaha (that's right...I said brouhaha, baseball season brings out all the best synonyms for "fight")

Some (not all, we'll be back for those things later) of this fracas (there's another one) seems to stem from a misunderstanding around "mocking" vs. "critiquing" and the feeling that the YC paper engaged in the former while the owner of the blog merely the later.

Okay...everybody with me, we are about to point out where things went a little sideways here.

Yes, the paper engaged in mockery. In fact one could go so far as to say it was a sham of a send-up of the original letter. A travesty of liberties taken at the expense of...I believe someone used the term "civilian"?

In short, one big traveshamockery of a newspaper piece.

As for the definition of what this post represents...THAT WAS NEVER THE ISSUE!!!
let me repeat that in case I was unclear…
THAT_WAS_NEVER_THE_ISSUE

The questioning of the post's author was in regard to her willingness to engage in comparable mockery of The Commentator (and perhaps YC, I do not know) as part of The Observers proposed Purim edition, and the apparent presence of others on the Stern paper's staff who would have also been ready, willing and able to participate if not for the idea being shot down by a higher up.(I fear not the run-on sentence)

This is the mockery being originally reference and attributed to the blog owner, not anything associated with this or any other post. There is no questioning its veracity as it was plainly stated by the author in the original pre-edited version of the post.

The post has since had that part as well as other parts (including my original comment vis a vis) removed for very valid reasons previously mentioned in an above comment.

Now then…you can all resume your donnybrook (last one, I promise) on other issues of disagreement, but please let this one alone. Unless of course any of you wish to restate you positions given this clearer understanding of the facts in play.

To quote the great Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar: “Game On!”

Chana said...

Everyone,

Apple has the right to disagree with me, to feel that I have ripped into someone in a public forum, and that this is hypocritical, incorrect and an inappropriate action. She is entitled to this opinion.

In terms of what happened in the comments that followed, mostly it has to do with various people here misunderstanding one another.

Simcha believed that Apple had decided that I was publically humiliating another person, and was irritated that we were rehashing a subject that had been discussed beforehand, namely the difference between critiquing and humiliating others.

The Commentator Reader addressed Apple's true point (that this is taking place in a public forum) and stated that he believes the action is justified.

G has reinterpreted the series of events to fit into what he believes Apple is saying, although in fact he is mistaken. He believes that Apple is referring to my willingness to potentially have mocked someone; in fact she is not, and is simply questioning the fact that I chose to write this up in a public forum.

Now that we all understand one another, let me just say that I have explained myself to Apple via another forum, and this discussion is summarily concluded.

SimchaGross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SimchaGross said...

Ezzie,
I was in no way suggesting that The Apple had no right to comment. Notice that the gist of my comment was that EVERYONE has the right to comment, and that that is the very point of a public forum. I also WAS arguing with her point, showing how it was, in my opinion, incorrect. I did so with a facetious tone, and through taking her argument ad absurdum. You may not agree with me, but in no way did I suggest the Apple could not comment. I just disagree with her statement is all. She is most probably an upstanding human being, and I wish her, you and all other people here all the best. Its a discussion for Gods sake, not a verbal assault on character.

G said...

G has reinterpreted the series of events to fit into what he believes Apple is saying, although in fact he is mistaken. He believes that Apple is referring to my willingness to potentially have mocked someone; in fact she is not, and is simply questioning the fact that I chose to write this up in a public forum.
---------
G has done and is nothing of the sort.

G's clarification was related to comments leading up to but not including those of The Eden Fruit and what followed.

G will now cease to type in the first person as it is an action which he loathes.

Ezzie said...

I was in no way suggesting that The Apple had no right to comment.

Good! Didn't come off that way is all. Glad to hear.

Notice that the jist of my comment was that EVERYONE has the right to comment, and that that is the very point of a public forum.

Agreed, which is why it seemed your argument was self-defeating from the unclear part above. Again, glad to hear.

I think we're agreeing - the issue was that your comment implied that she shouldn't be commenting, as she noted. This was further added on to by another commenter later who seemed to be backing that statement which you apparently never meant. Sooo... I'm glad we're all cleared up, glad we're all open to one another's comments, and may we all live happily ever after.

SimchaGross said...

Amen.

G said...

Ez: Sooo... I'm glad we're all cleared up, glad we're all open to one another's comments, and may we all live happily ever after.

SG: in no way did I suggest the Apple could not comment. I just disagree with her statement is all. She is most probably an upstanding human being, and I wish her, you and all other people here all the best.

Chana: this discussion is summarily concluded.
-------------
For the uninitiated the above is all pretty standard blog speak for "i still think that i'm right and you're wrong, and that you are still a blathering fool but i'm tired of arguing and going over the same stuff so this is my way of saying i've had enough"...well, maybe except for Chana's.

SimchaGross said...

g,
Can you please stop serving as mediator and allow the people to discuss things if they want to? Things that may seem obvious to you are not obvious to others, or people may simply enjoy talking about these things, even if they are obvious. I appreciate your summaries of my opinions alongside everyone else's, but instead of initiating us in the ways of blogging, please allow us to experience it for ourselves.

the commentator reader said...

Chana,
thank you for seeing my point.

Please continue to enlighten us with your thought-provoking posts.

Erachet said...

G will now cease to type in the first person

You mean third person.

:D

G said...

No i meant first...always fun to try and slip one past the censors:)

comment and observe said...

I've read the whole thread, and I kind of see the apple's point.

What is this blog's readership? Does it compare to the readership of the Commentator? (I'll bet it does.)

Do people here know who Chana is lambasting? Did people in the Instigator know the name of the Stern student who wrote the letter to the editor? (I haven't seen the Instigator, so I don't know if they used her name, but I bet that most of the readers here know exactly who Chana's talking about.)

Granted, Chana is not trying to mock here and may have more altruistic goals than the Commentator's malicious ones, but is this (very public) rechilus really l'toeles? She wasn't as mean, but she may have been nearly as public and as personal. I wouldn't judge and cannot pasken, but I do wonder.

I realize that my comment is just as public as Chana's post was, so my tochacha here is hardly better than hers of the Commie. But I'm not passing any judgment.

Erachet said...

No i meant first...always fun to try and slip one past the censors:)

Hee, but now you are back in first person! :D

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