Never fear the Blogosphere

Blogs.  Just the name conjures up images of a frog vomiting, yet it is truly the most democratic forum on the face of this earth.  I’ve been active on the Times of Israel blog site for about a month now, and in that time I have truly seen the faces and opinions of the full gamut of society.

Despite this being an Israeli website, there are all kinds of people who visit here.  There are those who are pro-Israel, and there are those that are anti-Israel.  There are those are who support the Jews, and those who wish them nothing but harm.   There are Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus.  There are even Jews who were once Muslims!  So varied are the opinions of the visitors on here that there are those who are pro-Jewish on Tuesdays, anti-Semitic on Wednesdays, Zionist on Fridays, and wish the state would just disappear on every Sunday.

It always amuses me, in particular, the anti-Semites who visit the site.  I always ask myself why?  It’s like a little Jewish guy walking into the middle of Tehran during an anti-Israel parade and asking for directions to the nearest kosher deli.  Something tells me he won’t end up with a bagel adorned with cream cheese and lox.  I’ve seen comments on here from anti-Semitic people  who quote lines from the Talmud so obscure that even God himself would be saying:  I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about!  Some of these people seemed to have studied so much Talmud that they might even qualify to convert to Judaism – although the Rabbis might frown upon their pathological hatred of Jewish people…

It’s also quite fascinating how blogs are interpreted in so many various ways.  One of my blogs got a fair bit of attention in which I was called both an anti-Semite and a Zionist pig!  I think if I had applied for a Dear Abby column in a Hamas daily, I might have even been accepted.

On the Times of Israel blogs, there are stories that are so varied and so different, yet fascinating in so many ways.  You can read about a Zombie apocalypse, on how ISIS is not Muslim, on how ISIS is Muslim, Bar Refaeli being fat, Lady Gaga, a mother’s anxiety for her children in the IDF, a strategy on Aliyah, and even view an amazing photo essay of Jerusalem – all in just the last few days.

But probably one of the most interesting thing about all blogs are the comments.  It is where the rich tapestry of views are shared in a way that can be insulting, supportive, humorous, hurtful and moving – but never dull.

The Times of Israel have truly done a great thing here – allowing so many views to gather together in a way that is chaotic, creative and imaginative – allowing those opinions to be defended, justified, argued, strengthened or debunked.

As a blogger, as soon as you hit that Submit button, you are opening yourself up to a world in which people can love you or hate you, laugh with you or laugh at you, support you or reject you.  You expose yourself, and not in the Apple iPhone hacking way, to a world of infinite opinions that will be directed towards you.  You lay yourself naked on the altar of public opinion to either burn with glory or go down in flames.

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.