A little housecleaning was in order ... so I thought I'd suspend regular programming here and dedicate this post instead to all the self-righteous idiots around the world who think they have all the answers (or maybe just one or two in particular).
(Translation will follow later.) This is a full moon
From time to time, all blogs have to go through it. You write something that somebody doesn't care for and people let you know how they feel, more or less diplomatically.
Usually, the less diplomatic the answer, the more anonymous it is, because it's easy enough to point the finger at someone, but quite another thing to grow a fucking spine and stand somewhat accountable for what you have to say, even under an assumed internet name.
Once in a while expat blogs will get comments from some jealous little twerps, not so much because of anything they wrote - or photographed - but simply because they managed to make a life for themselves some place else and the twerps didn't. (I've seen it on US blogs abroad, too.)
Also, there are people who react mostly based on what they believe a blog should or shouldn't be. For instance, I've seen people complain that Eric
in Paris should write in French rather than in English, that Jerome
should no longer write about the USA because he no longer lives here ... There were other examples but I forget what they were now.
I get these too, now and then. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, of course, but these people tend to forget that the BLOGGER is the one in control over what he/she decides to write, not the READERS. Depending who you ask, this, too is a full moon
Some of us take suggestions about what the readers want to see on the blog; others don't. Again, the blogger makes that choice. (I do take suggestions, by the way, so if you want to see photographs of a certain neighborhood or if you need information about something that can only be looked into locally, ask away; if I have time to go take the pictures or do the local research, I'm happy to do it.)
However, if I write something you don't agree with, don't bother e-mailing me personally to try to bully me into changing my story because you happen to think you're right and I'm wrong. Not only I won't do it, but if you keep writing, I might end up telling you where to stick it (the more you insist and the more graphic the answer may be), especially if you start your e-mail with "You should be ashamed..."
Granted, we don't all have to agree on everything, and I have no problem with that. So go ahead, state your opinion on the blog, nobody here minds, I assure you. But remember, there is a fine line between arguing a difference of opinion and being a total jerk. So, if you could argue without resorting to personal attacks and name-calling, that'd be great, thanks. (Yes, I know
it's hard, sometimes, believe me.)
I will continue to leave the commenting section on this blog open and unmoderated because 1) I might be away from the blog for days and I believe it's more fun for people to interact with each other in real-time if they want to, 2) I don't want to systematically have to make a decision about who gets to say what, and 3) I believe that people have as much right to say "black" as I do to say "white." (By the way, if you're now going to e-mail me about my use of the words "black" and "white," don't bother. I mean it, really.) According to Wikipedia, this is a mass-mooning protest. Or, you might be looking at a full solar system, depending on what you think a full moon is.
One of the e-mails I got recently was from someone who reacted very strongly to my suggesting that an individual could have the reputation locally of being a good guy, even though he's a known Republican - and let me remind you, this is not a Republican-friendly area. (By the way, if you are wondering where I stand, I think the number of times I posted "Fuck Bush" on this blog, and/or the choice of links featured on the right side of this blog, speak for itself.)
Anyway, the writer of the e-mail also reminded me that I have an obligation to "reports the 'facts' accurately." Rather than continue to exchange words on that specific issue with that particular writer, let me just address it generally and therefore respond to everybody at once.
I certainly don't have all the answers and I do make mistakes. Quite possibly, I could stand to spend a little more time checking all the facts on the posts I publish. My translations are not always 100% accurate. I don't spell check my posts (even if I did have a spell-checker on this thing, by the time the blog post is written in both languages and filled with HTML code and pictures, it becomes practically impossible to run any kind of spell-check on it, anyway). Yet, I still publish the posts the way they are and hope for the best. You wanna know why?
Because nothing I say here is that
important anyway. Think about it, people, anybody calling themselves "Tomate Farcie" (Stuffed Tomato) couldn't possibly take themselves that
that seriously... People's lives certainly do not depend on what I write (which is a good thing, too, because I do this with very limited time and resources).
Remember, I am NOT a journalist, a French teacher (or an English teacher), a professional translator, a historian, or an authority on anything at all. And although I might bring you some local news on occasion, keep in mind that I am NOT the news either.
What I am is just a little guy trying to show the world around me for the sole purpose of brightening someone's day on the other side of the country or the planet. I also want to try to provide some kind of virtual presence to little brothers and sisters bloggers everywhere, mostly expats but not always, because I can see how isolated some of them feel ...
From time to time, I'll rave about a good CD or a good movie, only because it gave me so much pleasure, I just gotta tell the whole damn world! Or, I'll rant about my computer, my iPod, or the cable company ... Big fucking deal!
While I certainly try to exercise reasonable care
before publishing anything, and it is certainly not my intention to offend anybody on purpose
, I really can't control it if you are offended.
Remember, too, that I do this strictly for fun
and, believe it or not, in a spirit of camaraderie
towards others. Well, there you have it, that's really the whole purpose of the blog right there.
So, all of you with superior attitudes (you know who you are!) can just get off your high horses right now and realize one thing: because this is a personal blog
, when I write about the world around me, I get to call it as I see it.
I'll say it again, just in case you missed it the first time: this is not a documentary or a journalistic essay; rather, it reflects my outlook
on things, and that means that I have no obligation whatsoever
to give "both sides" of the story, just mine.
So, anyway, guys, please don't waste anymore of your time e-mailing me in private to give me attitude about what you think is wrong with my blog, or what you find offensive. If you think this blog is offensive, honestly, I don't mean to be rude or anything, but you might need stop whining to me and get some therapy instead. Really.
Remember, the fact that I broadcast this blog gives you ACCESS to it, not CONTROL over it. So if I feel like taking a picture of my ass, sticking it on the blog and calling it "Full Moon Over the Bay Area," then that's what I'll do. Is that a problem for you? Just about now, somebody should be getting the message
Right. Any questions, concerns, comments or requests? Wanna post a picture of your ass, too? Wanna talk about the time some moron gave you a hard time on your blog? Wanna suggest some anger management clinics? Go ahead... it's all yours. Remember what I said about name-calling, though.