}

I am SO IMPORTANT.

I am, as many of you know, a Jew. Don’t act so sympathetic – there are worse fates, which I’m coming to. I am also a blogger (one of the English language’s uglier nouns), a status I attribute to a certain faculty with words, an ability to make people laugh, and extremely liberal usage of the word fuck, which as anyone from Lenny Bruce to Quentin Tarantino can tell you is the road to comedy El Dorado. So I am a Jew and a blogger. Some would call me a J-blogger, which is among the aforementioned worse fates.

You see, despite being a Jewish blogger for one of the Internet’s most popular Jewish blogs, I have this strange affliction: I don’t find myself, or my fellow Jewlicious bloggers (as much as I love them), or this website, or the entire wide world of Jewish blogging itself, at all significant. What am I? Some guy with no qualifications talking about things I find personally interesting – although, as is quickly becoming the theme of this post, it could be worse. I could be somebody with no qualifications other than giving birth devoting an entire blog to the every skinned knee, vomitus and naive utterance of my oh-so-precious Jewish offspring, which is an alarming trend in the…ugh…J-Blogosphere. (It could be worse still – I could be one of those people who read blogs like that.)

But my conviction that being a Jewish blogger is about as fundamentally significant as my appendix apparently puts me in the minority. Because a group of Jewish bloggers have created a Jewish blog…devoted to the Jewish blogosphere. I keep getting that feeling like when you’re watching TV and the characters on TV are watching TV – you know, the feeling that makes you conscious of every passing irreplaceable second of your short life being pissed away. Or, to phrase it differently for you Holy Yidden out there, this is the blogging equivalent of Tosafot – commentary on commentary on commentary on the original. Except most Jewish bloggers aren’t nearly as inscrutable as the Talmud, rendering a blog commenting on the Jewish blogosphere about as vital as a third nipple.

But that didn’t stop our intrepid bloggers, who were wrapped up enough in the shining mantle of J-bloggery to deem it worthy of a (somewhat poorly written) Wikipedia entry. I would comment on the Wikipedia entry, but somebody already did, within the entry itself: “Many of the above refences including this entry were initiated by relative latecomers to the sphere, ‘newbies’ who are their own self made audience concentrating on petty social clotch with a less than intellectual outlook from the original j-blogosphere.” Note for you wounded conspiracy theorists: I didn’t write this. I have no idea what a clotch is.

Anyway, the J-Blogosphere Blog (it hurts me to type it) so far discusses such pressing and worthy issues as the real life repercussions of the Jewlicious/Jewschool rivalry (trust me, they mostly involve Mobius and me burning spliffs and watching Samurai Jack), the effect of events like Jewlicious @ the Beach (essentially a bunch of twenty-something Jews feeling REALLY SUPER COOL about BEING JEWISH), and of course “the T-shirt controversy on Jewlicious that raised the blog issue of what type of self-expression is appropriate for Jewish blogs.” I have no fucking idea what T-shirt controversy they’re talking about, and I write for Jewlicious. Maybe they mean Christ Killer? Anyway, what kind of blather is “what type of self-expression is appropriate for Jewish blogs”? What the fuck? Do we have a Va’ad Bloganut now? An overseeing committee to make sure self-expression on Jewish blogs (isn’t ALL blogging self-expression?) remains “appropriate”? What’s next, hechshers? Am I going to have the Badatz come knocking on my door to ensure that everything I write contains no dangerously inappropriate self-expression before Jewlicious gets a stamp? If Badatz says no, are we good enough for the CRC, or does the Grandmuffti’s flagrant atheism mean we’ll have to settle for a Star K? Are we going to have rabbis trotting around with self-loving lists of must-read Jewish blogs? Are we going to become even more self-important and transform from bloggers to journalists? Should we maybe ask the Arabs what their feelings on the matter are?

People. People. Calm down. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s be realistic. The only people who read Jewish blogs are Jewish bloggers and anti-Semites. This in essence means that the J-Blogosphere, and any attempt to invest importance in it, is an enormous circle jerk, with people who hate you circling around and spitting on you – and frankly, that’s very weird. Any Jewish J-blog reader who isn’t already a blogger him or herself will become one in a matter of days, because if there’s anything the blogosphere has taught as all, it is that you could be the most boring person in the world and still have 500 loyal readers who say “THAT’S SO TRUUUUUUE” to everything you write. (These loyal readers, of course, will also in turn become bloggers). Folks, this is a vicious cycle. If people continue to encourage its development with self-congratulatory accolades to all that is J-bloggery, it will spiral entirely out of control, and the Jewish people will be destroyed by the sheer force of 7 million Jewish mothers with identical blogs subjecting the world to OH-SO-CUTE posts about the color and consistency of their little Moishele’s post-nasal drip. Stop it.

Just repeat this mantra to yourself: “I am not a significant person. My opinions are not significant. The fact that 50 people who share my opinions comment on my site everyday is not significant. I will refrain from investing cosmic import into the musings of my online buddies, and I will remind myself that probably 95% of Jewish people have no idea what a blog is, nor do they care. All Jewish blogs are is Jewish people expressing opinions, which I can see everyday at my local synagogue, which often, by the way, has a buffet, unlike my blog.”

And if you’re one of those sensitive little bloggers and you’re about to write an indignant response about how wrong I am to dismiss the gravity of the Jewish Blogosphere, remember, just as it is with you, I am not a significant person. My opinions are not significant. Like you, I’m just some schmuck with a computer. So go outside for a change, and wipe up Moishele’s post-nasal drip, because God knows nobody wants to hear about it.

Latest posts by michael (see all)

52 Comments

  1. esther

    5/23/2006 at 10:28 am

    Ladies and gentlemen, my birthright co-madrich.

    I wouldn’t say I agree with this post. But Michael’s not all wrong. There is an overinflated sense of self that one develops when one blogs–and because we’re all looking for approval within our nation, when other Jews (or other likeminded people) read us, that sense of validity is reinforced.

    It is true, there are many blogs–in the “J-Blogosphere” and beyond–that are self-indulgent, self-important and boring. And that’s why we don’t all read every blog–just the ones we find interesting.

    As to the list of blogs a rabbi must read, that I think was important, because it introduces a group of Orthodox rabbis to a vast array of opinions in the contemporary collective of Jewish minds. And expanding one’s perspective is good.

    I’m not saying that every Jewish thought blogged is compelling or enlightening or even entertaining. But maybe that’s a problem with writing in general–not every piece appeals to every reader.

    But to say that a global conversation on Jewish life and identity has no value? Or that every blog’s commenters are mindless, unopinionated sycophants, it only takes a look at JDaters Anonymous to show that if anything, Jewish blogs encourage discussion and dissent much the way the Talmud did. If you’re saying that has no value, that’s fine. Just be prepared for disagreement.

    And just as New York Magazine recently intentionally published an article about plagiarism that was itself plagiarized, writing an opinionated blog post about how unnecessary opinionated blog posts are seems, from the depths of its irony and sarcasm, to wink at us more than slightly.

  2. michael

    5/23/2006 at 10:31 am

    God, I hate it when people find the subtext.

  3. avi

    5/23/2006 at 10:32 am

    From another insignificant shmuck:There’s a Jewish mystical idea that says, the world will eventually be so saturated with words, all ideas will instantly merge into one all encompassing word. That word for the Kabbalists is of course the word ONE. So see your work as moving us towards that time.
    On another insignificant note from an insignificant shmuck, Seinfeld was ultimately about nothing, I guess people/Jews just like talking about nothing. After all God created the world SOMETHING from NOTHING.

  4. him

    5/23/2006 at 10:34 am

    Brilliant! This is a must-read for anyone interested in what today’s young Jews are thinking.

  5. westbankmama

    5/23/2006 at 10:54 am

    And if they ask you to be a contributor you will get over your insignificance, right?

  6. Barbara

    5/23/2006 at 10:55 am

    “THAT’S SO TRUUUUUUE.” And on a separate note, while I know the term “faculty with ______” is correct English, it feels wrong. It feels like the correct word is “facility” and the writer or speaker doesn’t realize his/her mistake, thereby throwing his/her entire spoken/written piece down the toilet. I’d stick with “talent for” or “way with”. If I had a blog, I’d blog on this. But I don’t. I only comment. Though I am Jewish.

  7. him

    5/23/2006 at 10:58 am

    Actually I think Michael is just upset because he’s never been featured in J-Blogger Interviews.

  8. Jack

    5/23/2006 at 11:01 am

    What is the point of your post. If none of this matters why did you bother to comment.

  9. michael

    5/23/2006 at 11:05 am

    faculty 1 : ABILITY, POWER: as a : innate or acquired ability to act or do b : an inherent capability, power, or function (the faculty of hearing) c : any of the powers of the mind formerly held by psychologists to form a basis for the explanation of all mental phenomena d : natural aptitude (has a faculty for saying the right things)

    As far as being asked to be a contributor, I cannot feed the Hydra. I can only cut off its heads until it consumes me.

  10. themiddle

    5/23/2006 at 11:34 am

    We’re all just little pishers.

    Really, how many people actually read us? Compare that to the number of people who read the op-ed in your local paper.

    I write because it’s fun, forces me to learn things, forces me to consider different aspects of things and allows me to…write, which is something I enjoy doing. If people read it, great. But I don’t consider myself, or this blog for that matter, consequential.

    It’s fun to do. Period.

  11. Barbara

    5/23/2006 at 11:43 am

    Michael: Thanks, but I didn’t need the dictionary definition of “faculty” in the sense you used it. Please note, I wrote: “And on a separate note, while I know the term “faculty with ______” is correct English. . .” Let’s focus, shall we?

  12. michael

    5/23/2006 at 11:46 am

    I’m sorry about not focusing, I was too busy being dazzled by your faculty brilliance.

  13. berk

    5/23/2006 at 11:48 am

    oh, what a beautiful thing a blog is. to be able to write an idea or comment that makes absolutely no sense, and have 14 bored souls finding meaning and enlightenment. i mean, if i would actually say half the things i write i don’t think i would have any friends left. but hey, something written, ooooh. thats hot. the written word. it obviously means something. unlike this comment. which doesn’t. please don’t argue because i’m actually saying nothing. which i do most of the time anyway, but won’t admit it.

  14. amecahd

    5/23/2006 at 12:01 pm

    Ah, but many of your criticisms can be said, for example, about academia or other fields with journals and an internal discussion relevant only to those who practice in the field.

    On the other hand, those people get money. That must be missing. Pay me damnit for I am a J-blogger. Hah.

    Actually, I think there are a lot of similiarities between academia and blogging. But, the thing with blogging (at least blogs that get read such as Jewschool and Jewlicious) is that, while it’s a bunch of people pissing away at saying things that they may or may not be qualified to say, they influence people to think certain ways and influence ideas. That, to me, is the significance of (at least some, but certainly many J-blogs [of course, what is a J-blog — although, there is a book called What is Jewish Literature — maybe I should write the “What is a J-Blog” book)

  15. Pete (Alois)

    5/23/2006 at 1:46 pm

    Michael said:

    The only people who read Jewish blogs are Jewish bloggers and anti-Semites.

    …and me. (Apparently.)

    Actually, this is an in-depth codification of Pete (Alois)’s Number One Rule of Blogging:

    Never blog about blogging.

  16. grandmuffti

    5/23/2006 at 2:08 pm

    Wait, so you guys aren’t getting paid the 100,000$ a year that Muffti is getting for this???

    Suh-kahs!

    As for our importance, Muffti was told as a young Muffster that you are only as important as you feel. So stop making Muffti feel so unimportant, Michael and TM! Anyhow, Michael, your mantra reminds me of something:


    You are not special.
    You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
    You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

  17. themiddle

    5/23/2006 at 2:10 pm

    Muffti, you’d be much more important if you married a nice Jewish girl and had some kids. 😉

  18. grandmuffti

    5/23/2006 at 2:16 pm

    ummmn…what?

  19. themiddle

    5/23/2006 at 2:26 pm

    Oh sorry, for a minute there I was channelling Jewish Mother.

  20. grandmuffti

    5/23/2006 at 2:35 pm

    yeah, right! If you were it woudl be more like:

    Importance. A fish is imporant for eating the moss that grows on the side of the bowl. Sometimes the fish is important in other ways, like in a soup. Muffti’s importance would be like the fish’s if he were to spawn new fish that kept ate the moss clouding the lovely bowl.

    Is Muffti right on or what?

  21. Shy Guy

    5/23/2006 at 2:47 pm

    (In a Homer Simpson voice)

    Mmmmmm …. moss!!!!!

  22. Jewish Mother

    5/23/2006 at 3:49 pm

    You rang? You are all important and adorable. Michael has a good attitude and will make a fine, non-crazy father some day. I HATE it when people focus too much on nonsense with their kids. Yuck. GM would be cool, too. In fact you lot will be at least as good and quite possibly better than your own parents, much as I respect them.

  23. Elon

    5/23/2006 at 3:54 pm

    Michael, i TOTALLY agree with you.

    That being said, I think my blog is pretty important.

    elon.wordpress...

  24. Jewish Mother

    5/23/2006 at 3:56 pm

    Michael’s first-rate crankiness sounded faintly like mine. Except, unlike me, he can write. That may mean he is getting ready to share his existence with a…who knows …jewish mother. The young, good-looking kind. It would work out. Especially in a kid-friendly state like Israel.

  25. Seth

    5/23/2006 at 3:56 pm

    Michael, are you depressed?

    Well, regardless, I always look for your posts for entertainment, and it’s never a disappointment.

  26. ofri

    5/23/2006 at 4:25 pm

    muffti is dead on.

  27. grandmuffti

    5/23/2006 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks, Ofri! Y’always got the Muffti’s back, and though he’s never sure why, eh appreciates it!

  28. Ezzie

    5/23/2006 at 4:30 pm

    *Yawn* So basically you criticized a new blog whose focus is to actually turn the J-blogosphere into something worthwhile and trackable, even if it’s within the Jewish world? Of course, blogging accomplishes little, and there’s a lot of nodding or petty fighting that goes on. So? You’re still blogging, aren’t you?

    Basically, you criticized one post which suggested that the blog cover certain topics from the past as part of what it does, along with the effect blogs have outside the blogosphere. You got hung up on a sentence about T-shirts?

    I’m really not sure why you’re criticizing the blog or the Wiki; if you have a problem with either, edit the Wiki or e-mail anyone on the blog. Heck, join the blog if you’d like, and help put in what you think should be there.

    Nobody with half-a-brain thinks that we’re affecting large changes in the world from our blogs which have a couple hundred readers a day. What we *could* do, though, is affect the small Jewish community that exists by tapping into the minds of those that *do* read blogs. Oh, screw it – just read Esther’s comment.

    Anyways, thanks for your support [snort].

  29. DK

    5/23/2006 at 9:31 pm

    Go back to school, Michael.

  30. michael

    5/24/2006 at 12:25 am

    Yeah! Read Esther’s comment! She gets it!

    Elon – you clever little blogwhorer…it shan’t work! Unless you start posting pictures of ADORABLE GERMAN CHILDREN.

    Seth – for what it’s worth, I’m probably the most cheerful person who hates everything you’ll ever meet. It’s not depression. It’s gleeful cynicism!

    Kelsey – awwwwwww, did I hurt yo widdle self-important bwogger feewings? I’m sure your big important friend UOJ will give you a hug and make you feel alright again.

  31. kayla

    5/24/2006 at 10:48 am

    What’s the old saying? “Keep two truths in your pocket: I am but a speck of dust, and The world was created just for me.” The latter is kind of a blogging credo. And Michael, remember too the immortal words of Daria: “I don’t have low self-esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else.”

  32. friend

    5/24/2006 at 9:21 pm

    Mike, you are doing it! That is your first blow in the effort!
    Seriously, though, it is a world-class, vintage Michael post. Brings back the old days. We could call this your “daughter of Zion” track on your “Youth CD.”
    Hey, I read J-Blogs. So, you forgot one group of J-blog readers. People who read them, to (pardon me while I hitch my pants up to my chest, put my teeth back in my mouth and …G-d, I feel old) “understand what the young people are thinking”.

  33. DK

    5/24/2006 at 10:07 pm

    Michael, are you jealous of UOJ? Well, I can’t say I blame you. After all, your much touted “upcoming” New York Magazine story wasn’t 8 pages now, was it? No, not quite.

    Hey, maybe it is unfair that Jews who write that Hamas sucks isn’t considered as groundbreaking, but that is, so far, the reality. When you get 8 pages in the same magazine for your fine work, I will be all ears about how UOJ doesn’t matter.

  34. michael

    5/24/2006 at 10:17 pm

    I’m green with envy, Kelsey. Just sick. Can’t sleep at night. It’s awful. I have “UOJ” painted on the wall in blood.

    But then I tell myself, well, maybe I’m not as groundbreaking as the Circumcision Crusader, but at least I’m not attaching myself to anyone’s coattails and sucking at the teat of their fifteen minutes. Because that’s just…undignified.

  35. DK

    5/24/2006 at 11:32 pm

    Michael, I never claimed on my post that I deserve any personal credit for what UOJ did, because I had nothing to do with it. The only thing I did in terms of following the story was corrctly interpret the Jewish Press condemnation of his mailing as bracing their community for a shit storm, and signalling to their community that the allegations he was making were true. In this small thing, I was correct. No big deal to be sure.

    But here, you took a shot at him from out of the blue, and I responded in his defense. Be fair. You brought him up to dismiss. I just responded and put you in your place, which you need on occassion, with all your radical Zionist lifestyle changes and such.

  36. michael

    5/25/2006 at 12:36 am

    I’m confused. Perhaps you could elucidate for me why a post saying “Jewish blogging is inconsequential, including this blog” demands that I be put in my place? I mean, it’s not like I’m godforbid ascribing importance to myself – that’s your job, although we must admit that I’m funnier and sometimes, that is what the people want. Although sometimes the people also want a screed against scalpel-waving Jewish feminists from Hell (which by the way is the name of my new rockabilly band), so we all have our niche.

    Now, furthermore, I don’t see how exactly your place justifies you to determine my place, but I’ll let it slide this time. As far as my radical Zionist lifestyle changes, well, sometimes being radical is far more interesting than stagnating. I mean, sure, I could just become another one of the legion of New Yorkers who are busy investing themselves in the NEW JEWISH CULTURE that is chiefly of interest to other New Yorkers, or I could go to some place with an emotional pull, great weather, hiking and good hummus. Surely you can appreciate such radicalism, Kelsey. After all, you do write for the radical Jewish weblog.

  37. DK

    5/25/2006 at 7:55 am

    Michael, I think the good hummus thing is a bit overrated. The borscht in Kiev is gishmack. But I’m not running away with the Cossacks because of it.!

  38. R.

    5/25/2006 at 10:46 am

    Am I the only one who thinks that DK is a dork. DK
    or KD,you are Kapital Dork.Let’s face it, envy & jealousy oozes from everyone of your words. You will never be a cranky bitch like Michael, you are just boring, so give it a rest.

  39. Leslie

    5/25/2006 at 10:56 am

    Nice one Michael.
    And one thing we must all welcome is the diversity of the J-Blogesphere (why do we have to use buzzwords which we can’t spell after a few beers…)

  40. soccer dad

    5/26/2006 at 11:27 am

    I miss Kosher Eucharist.

  41. Seth

    5/27/2006 at 2:11 am

    Michael –

    Did you ever notice this line by Matisyahu??

    “”Jerusalem if I forget you let my right hand forget what its supposed to do””

    It just hit me that it’s a funny one.

  42. Jameel @ The Muqata

    5/27/2006 at 4:40 pm

    Man, will you chill out? Sheesh – I thought it would be fun to grab the name. Someone then even wrote a post — how can it be that the blog “JBLOGOSPHERE” is “owned” by a blogger named Jameel?

    Its just a reference point – put whatever the heck you feel like on it? Weekkly Haveil Havalim Stuff. Purim Parody Stuff. Heck, I’ll point it straight to jewlicious if it’ll make you tone down your rant.

    Whats the big deal? So what if not everyone’s been around here as long as you have?

    Chodesh tov! Shavua tov! And a pleasant week to all…as we get ready for shavuot.

  43. michael

    5/27/2006 at 4:57 pm

    Seth – I certainly have noticed that line before, but never really thought it was funny, more just a kind of lame restatement of אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני, but now that you mention it…hmmmmm…

    Jameel – you are making the grave, if common, mistake of taking me seriously.

  44. Jameel @ The Muqata

    5/28/2006 at 1:59 am

    Michael – Guess thats what happens if I read your stuff after midnight. And to think, I had this whole article ready in my head, “We’ve Angered The Gods”

    I guess the only thing left to do is to link to this posting on jblogosphere 😉

  45. Sarah

    5/28/2006 at 6:25 am

    well, nothing like a bit of controversy! 😉

    i do find it odd that one would write such a long post about something that you consider insignificant or not important.

    nevertheless, i guess that’s what blogs are about though, each to their own!

    cheers 🙂

  46. Chaim

    5/29/2006 at 9:07 am

    Holy dear l-rd, how did I miss this conversation?

    There is nothing more Jewish than a bunch of Jews sitting around arguing over how “not” important we are or aren’t. Our Bubbe’s would be so proud!

    I just want to use the word Meta in a sentence, can I just do that?

  47. The Town Crier

    6/7/2006 at 8:17 am

    Finally someone had the guts…
    huzzah

  48. The Town Crier

    6/7/2006 at 8:29 am

    Somewhere, Stewart Smallie is laughing his head off.
    Looks like someone removed the line from the wiki entry.

  49. ck

    6/7/2006 at 8:42 am

    sorry but what exactly are you talking about? I’d love to join in the mirth but I don’t understand.

  50. esther

    6/7/2006 at 9:39 am

    If it’s the reference to Stuart Smalley that’s confusing, he was a character with poor self-esteem (played by Al Franken) whose catchphrase–uttered as mantralike affirmation as he looked at himself in the mirror–was “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and goshdarnit, people like me.”

  51. ck

    6/7/2006 at 10:28 am

    So where does the guts part come in?

  52. The Town Crier

    6/7/2006 at 12:41 pm

    i was referring to the post, I hadnt seen it till now

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