Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why the J-Blogosphere Matters

This whole Kolko case has me sick, and not just because of the small children who were abused.

I'm sick because of the larger story, sick about what's happened to Judaism. Sick about how superficial stupidities have become the community's dominant concern. Sick about how the great ethics of our outstanding faith have been hijacked and subverted by fraudulently pious jackasses for their own selfish purposes. Sick about milquetoast Jews who are more devoted to order than to justice. Sick about the well-intentioned but useful idiots who teach small children or run small synagouges and happily prop up the whole rotted system because they are too timid, too lazy, and too stupid to do any different.

Elsewhere, for example, some bloggers and commenters are cluck-clucking about the way the case against Kolko was made and about the agenda of his enemies. They don't care about the substance of the accusations. Rather than investigate the claims of someone like UOJ, (the blogger who nailed Kolko to the wall) those bloggers and commenters prefer to speculate about UOJ's motivations, to disaprove of his tone, or worse, to investigate him.

This, not incidently, was the attitude displayed by the Jewish Press, a dreadful, laughingstock of a newspaper. In an editorial published on February 22, 2006 the paper went to war with the accuser. Did they bother to investigate the claims? Did they take any steps to guarantee the safety of the children who study at Yeshiva Torah Temimah? No, and no again. Order was more important than justice. UOJ and his allegations were rocking the boat, and causing people to lift up their heads, so let the children be damned.

Forty years ago the great Martin Luthor King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail in which he argued that non-violent tension is necessary for growth. In my lifetime, Orthodox Jews have always resisted tension, and by resisiting tension we also resist growth. Like the robotic suburbanites so many of us are, we go blissfully from our jobs to our homes to our shuls without ever examining or questioning the world around us and the myths that prop it up. We learn at an early age to smooth over difficulties, to ignore maculations, to couch our challenges in langauge that is acceptable to the establishment, to never say, "That's stupid;" but instead to say "That seems stupid to me." Lesson: the world around us is perfect; if it appears otherwise that's because there's something wrong with you, not with the world. Order. Not justice.

Elsewhere, our so-called leaders are inveighing against the Jewish blogosphere. At Internet asifa after Internet asifa, the leadership rises to complain, not about Internet predators, but about bloggers. It's not the child who may be assualted that animates Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman. Oh no. Instead he yells and screams about the foolish Flatbush shul Rabbi who was mortified to discover his own asinine remark published on Godol Hador's blog. Rabbi Wachsman screams and sputters about this because he knows the next stupid remarks reproduced on a blog for the amusment of the masses might be one of his own. That's what worries him. Not child molesters. Again, order, not justice.

I suppose it doesn't need to be said, that if Wachsman and his cronies had their way we'd have no Jewish blogosphere, no blogs like UOJ, and Kolko would still be riding high.

That, finally, is why the Jewish blogosphere matters, why we who count ourselves among this community must redouble our efforts. Not just for the sake of the children Kolko destroyed, but for the sake of all the Jewish men and women who die small deaths everyday because of acts of cruelty, stupidity, selfishness and injustice perpetrated by Jews. Let me close with a quote from Martin Luthor King which explains the value of blogging. He was speaking about non-violent protest, but I've brought his thought up-to-date, and I think this must be the answer to every well-meaning fool like LakewoodYid, and also to the less well-intentioned creeps who complain about bloggers and tear their shirts over loshan hara and issues of disrespect:
Actually, we who [blog] are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

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