Angry Ortho-bloggers

I've had several angry comments and emails from Orthodox bloggers who think I should have mentioned them in my interview in the Jewish Standard. Let me set the record straight. In my brief comments in the paper I had no intention either of promoting Orthodox bloggers, or of giving a statistically balanced sampler of all Jewish blogs. I don't appreciate anyone making assumptions for me about what I should be writing or thinking.

Next, I think in general that Orthodox blogging is an oxymoron. (Same for most forms of conservative or reactionary blogging.) Blogs are subversive of authority by definition. They transfer the power of publication and expression to the grassroots and away from the power elite. Blogs are exceedingly democratic media.

Orthodox religion depends for its survival on a closed culture controlled by a rigid power elite. So why Orthodox blogs? Some Orthodox bloggers tend to use the medium as a bully pulpit for pseudo-hip sermonizing; some to sell books; some just to promote their own piety. I stop reading these sites when it becomes clear to me what they are after.

Yes, there are real bloggers who happen to be Orthodox or who deal with Orthodox issues. They use the medium as it should be used. More power to them.


Anonymous said...

You were mistaken in the article in your contention that there is a "ban" on the internet in Lakewood. No "ban" exists. Various organizations (schools, yeshivas, etc.) require their members to comply with certain restrictions upon internet use in the home, but there is no blanket "ban". Work is under way, in fact, to create a community web cafe.

gailg said...

Nice post! Thank You so much.
I would love to see this post as a follow up article in the Jewish Standard.
Exposing the Ortho-bullies and why they think they are important.
You can include in the article the angry posts and emails and use them to explain the role of their anger and violence in these religious blogs. Or you can find similar Islamic extremist blogs.

DAG said...

Conservatives believe in free speech....what makes you say otherwise?

Anonymous said...


That's right, political conservatives like Ann Coulter believe in free speech.
The conservativism of the roshei yeshiva
believe that we listen to the gedolim, poskim, and those with greater Torah wisdom. As RHS writes, it is the rebellion of Korah to think that ordinary mortals can have opinions.
The bully Ortho-blogs want to have it both ways.
They want to be conservatives in the blog and talk radio sense and create bully-pulpits. They also claim to be following the roshei Yeshiva who would not endorse the blogs free wheeling deciding for themselves on major issues.

Reuven Chaim Klein said...
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Reuven Chaim Klein said...
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Joshua Smith said...

I agree with some of your sentiments. However, I think your point about blogs being subversive is on shakey ground.
Sure, while the power of publication is transfered to the individual, this is no different from palmphleteering in the past. There were often plamphleteers on different sides of any given issue.

Also, I suspect that orthodoxy does not depend on control for its survival. However, I would argue that many orthodox seem to equate survival with being in charge of the religious life of other Jews (which I have a problem with).