Behold the danger of living an ordinary life in an ordinary blog as illustrated with a rapier wit by a cartoonist in a metro New York newspaper and anonymously sent to me:
Blogging the Ordinary
I confess to being guilty, at times, of blogging the banal — but sometimes one cannot escape the raw temptation to cut and serve a cold, non-confrontational, public, revenge.


  1. Oh you know…all different kinds. I see it as really a passive aggressive form of retaliation and a lot of the times it’s just to get it off my chest. Sometimes it’s a driver cutting me off or a co-worker pissing me off. Sometimes it’s a friend who’s gotten onto my bad side…I’m not proud of acting that way but hey it’s free speech.
    I’ve wanted to bash a certain ex-wife but I’ve refrained…which isn’t always easy.

  2. That’s funny, Robin!
    I think it’s better to curse a driver on a blog than in person. You never know what the creeps out there would do to you.
    A blog can be a great and powerful thing. If you have a well-argued problem with, say, a company — a blog can be an extraordinary way to try to help get some action.

  3. I once flipped off a driver on the highway and they almost ran me off the road. I think I should keep that kind of thing to my blog from now on 😀
    I actually have a complaint about an issue with a company regarding a credit report check…I’ll probably post it soon…I don’t like to post too much too quickly.

  4. Yikes! Be careful, Robin! There’s always someone else in the world who doesn’t mind being uglier than they already are — so crashing into you would make their day and possibly ruin your life.
    I like the idea about writing about the credit report check — that’s a hot topic. Be sure you mention to the company giving you trouble that you’re going to write about it on your blog and when you do, send them the URL, too. Just don’t copy any correspondence from them or you’ll be violating their Copyright and they’ll go after you on that issue. Always summarize instead.

  5. Actually the company doesn’t exist anymore…supposidly and the thing on the credit report is a mystery to us…we have no idea where it came from. I did read up on the internet that a lot of people had a problem with this particular company. I should look to see if anyone tagged that company on their blog.
    Yeah I wouldn’t let someone upset me like that time. It was rediculous, it started off with them being pissed off I wouldn’t run over some geese crossing the road.

  6. Hi Robin —
    Oh, that’s easy to solve. You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three reporting agencies. Logon to each site, request your free report and when you see the bad entry, dispute it online with the credit agency. They will investigate and then remove the entry from your report if it a mistake.
    I know you wouldn’t let someone upset you but there are wackos out there who get upset if you look at them the wrong way!

  7. Well we were trying to get pre-approved to get a loan to get a house and this thing came up on Erik’s report. Either it’s totally bogus or somehow his father’s credit ended up on his (they have the same name) but who knows. So I guess the best thing is to contact the credit agency who has this listed…ugh things just have to be so difficult 😡
    Yeah I know how crazy people are…I try to keep to myself as much as possible.

  8. Hi Robin —
    The credit error will work out fine as soon as you make notification. The law is really on your side in this sort of dispute and all the assumptions are in your favor.
    Yes, keeping to yourself is a valuable tool in a volatile world.

  9. I wonder if blogging has reduced conflict in our society by allowing people an opportunity to vent, instead of bottling up their frustrations?

  10. You ask a really interesting question, Chris.
    I think blogging can inspire more direct fights than heal them. It’s easy to stay angry and aggressive online and perpetuate the aggressive back-and-forth but that position is harder to maintain when you’re face-to-face with the offending/offended party.
    I also think tone and facial expression are important in human communication and blogging is purely a textual medium and that can make for more misunderstandings than we realize or admit.

  11. Very true.
    Sometimes people can be hurt by something that is written in a blog, when the author was not intending any harm.
    I’ve personally have observed this.
    I know that my wife (ex-wife?) has said that she feels hurt by my blog category “Women I Love.”
    I don’t know if she fully understands that I’m writing for my audience and not necessarily reflecting my own personal viewpoint. I might admire the women I write about, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m really in love with them in the way that someone who has a relationship with someone can fall in love with someone.
    You are definitely right that tone and facial expression are very important. Sometimes the printed (or electronic) word doesn’t convey the full expression of human emotion that face-to-face conversation can.

  12. Hey Chris —
    Yes, misunderstanding what has been written is always open to interpretation — especially if what is being read is not the reader’s first language.
    As I have mentioned to you before here, I am surprised by your “Women I Love” blog because it seems so unlike you to present women in that light based on the excellent work you do here with us. Janna would never allow me to run a blog like that because it would hurt her feelings and publicly embarrass her. That kind of admiration and intimacy belongs only to her and to publish women in their underwear on a blog I operate and then explain why I admire them would be more wounding to her than a physical affair because my mind is at play in a field of fantasy that does not include her.
    Yes, face-to-face reconciliations are much more effective in person than over the anonymous ether of the internet!

  13. Hi David,
    It’s always important to think twice about what you are writing because written words have a longer lasting effect because they can be read over and over again. With Google archiving everything, nothing that is index ever really goes away either.
    Thanks for the compliment on the work that I do here! It’s always great to receive positive feedback.

  14. That’s right, Dave! The written word is everlasting. Text stings longer than any physical slap.
    I say the revenge in a blog hits its mark even if it isn’t read by the intended because the aftershocks can reach the intended in unwitting ways. You are putting energy out there can take on a life and an effectiveness of its own.

  15. Chris —
    Google is going to be a living nightmare for many young kinds 10 years from now when their hoped-for universities or future employers do a search on their name and find the musings of the undistinguished mind. There will be no forgiveness of those online and publicly recorded transgressions.
    If we think the credit bureaus can ruin and control lives — wait until your entire life is indexed in the search engines! The result of that tabulating fact will never go away and there’s certainly no shield law or “age of majority” protections in place to save the young from their own folly.

  16. David,
    It’s pretty scary considering the millions who are posting all sorts of things about themselves on Myspace and other websites.
    The same is true for people in college in the early 90s who posted to Usenet. All of their posts are available for the world to examine.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see in a few years that the credit bureaus and others collecting and indexing all of this information from the net so that it is all available from one source.
    For an extra price, they might even provide a psychological profile that will suggest your likelihood for being a good employee or filing for bankruptcy based on your blog postings.
    Pretty soon everything we do will be recorded, indexed and stored for future retrieval.

  17. Hi Chris!
    Ooo! You do create a really scary scenario and in your job I know you know exactly what is being collected against us and where and how that information can easily be exploited and stolen and sold. What a nightmare!
    Information wants to be free — free, that is, until there’s a price put in its value.

  18. Just think what might happen if “the powers that be” get everyone to sign up for some sort of RFID identification system.
    We already have IPASS/EZ-PASS keeping track of our cars, police and traffic cameras watching our movements, and frequent shopper cards noting our favorite purchases.
    The time will come when someone or some entity, will want to monitor all of these things.
    The technology is there collecting the information. It’s only a matter of time before someone collates all of the information.
    If the government doesn’t do it for political or societal reasons steeped in our traditions of liberty and privacy, it won’t stop a private company from trying to do it for our other great American value: profit.

  19. Okay, Chris, this time you were caught in moderation because you had one too many hotlinks.
    Excellent argument! Do we still have a Right to Privacy? If so, what exactly is covered in that protection? In the history of the law have privacy rights ever increased or have they only been gradually diminished?

  20. There is a proverb in Sanskrit – ‘’Say it for hundred times if you want, but do not write.’’ – And, I find it 100% correct.
    I am not a grudge holder by nature, I don’t take life as a boxing ring, and I don’t normally blow my top with the slightest provocation but I still find textual medium very misleading at times because it misses human touch.

  21. Oh, my, I love that Sanskrit proverb, Katha. I printed it out and saved it!
    You are right that the human touch cannot completely connect through the air. There is a visible and visceral heat between people in the same room that must not continue to be undervalued.

  22. Right!
    But interestingly, hand written letter (which has become an antique these days) is also a textual medium – but it doesn’t seem to be as impersonal as these electronic text mediums are. In fact, it is considered to be very personal!!!

  23. Hi David,
    I wonder if we really have a right to privacy that is as wide as we suspect it should be.
    We have the Fourth Amendment, but that only protects us against “unreasonable searches and seizures” when there isn’t probable cause to issue a warrant describing what is to be searched.
    We also have the “Right to Privacy” that many think of when they think about abortion rights.
    There are some other privacy rights protected by law, such as HIPAA.
    Also, let’s not forget about financial privacy.
    But, sometimes it seems that we segregate our privacy rights into discrete pieces of the pie, rather than looking to a “global” view of our right to privacy, as understood by common law.
    Does this apportioning privacy to a few “hot button” areas makes it easier to chip away at the right to privacy in other areas? You’ll have the right to privacy in 20 areas, but for the other 10,000 areas that you can’t think of right now, you’re privacy can be infringed at will.
    We might be better off to have a generalized notion of a right to privacy that covers all areas of life, including private commerical transactions. Such a notion would make people think twice about asking or giving away their private data.
    In our society, we are expected to give away all of our private information in exchange for doing business or obtaining government benefits and services. Even if there is a law, it seems that there is a waiver or opt out provision that acts as a loop hole that allows information to flow freely.
    It’s too bad that everyone, from people to leaders of industry, doesn’t start from a universal understanding that most information should remain private.
    The idea of a universal right to privacy will never happen.
    Our privacy rights will continue to shrink because it’s too easy to collect and retrieve information. That might be why our society’s efforts to protect privacy seem to be limited to just a few areas that might be effectively regulated, rather than a generalized and comprehensive approach that would entail more work and effort to police.

  24. Hi Chris —
    That is a heavy comment in more ways than one. Wowser are we in for a bundle of trouble. As terrorism increases around the world our freedom at home diminishes. Our private records must be accessible to the government to ensure our safety meanwhile imperiling any sense of privacy when it comes to issues beyond direct government control.

  25. I don’t see how we’ll be able to guarantee the ability to thwart terrorism before it happens unless we lose some of our privacy.
    It’s sad.
    I don’t want to give up privacy rights, but I also don’t want to live in fear of constant attack.
    If democracy and freedom catches on in the Middle East, we will have less to fear in the future as people see a future beyond armed struggle against the West. When that happens and the threat is reduced, that will be when we’ll have to once again reexamine our thoughts about privacy.
    The problem then will be reigning in the government that has become accustomed to having widespread access to our private information.
    We all know about the telephone tax to pay for the Spanish-American war and how it’s still on our phone bills.
    The same thing is likely to happen with the government.
    Once we give up something, the government never wants to give it back.

  26. Chris —
    Do you really think democracy will catch on in the Middle East? I wonder if the conservative religious beliefs of those who are actively thwarting the peace process will ever be able to co-exist with the requirements of a democratic system of governing.

  27. Dave!
    You are being far too funny and far too dense for the ordinary surface surfer to have ANY IDEA what you’re talking about!
    That said, I loved it — and maybe we can start a “Department of Homeland Security” dating service here for the truly young at heart?

  28. David —
    I have to laugh at the DHS dating service comment after everything that’s been in the news lately.
    I think democracy can work in the Middle East. It will just take a little time for it to catch on over there.
    It worked for Japan and Germany after WWII.

  29. Chris —
    What is going on at DHS anyway? It’s like a circus of goofiness!
    I don’t think Japan and Germany have the same sort of fundamental religious issues that are in play in the Middle East. We’ll see. Peace is a good thing but not peace at any price.

  30. David —
    Germany and Japan during WWII were similar to the way the Middle East is today, not necessarily religiously, but in the way that they act.
    Both countries were filled with people ready to die for the cause.
    Japan had the kamakaze suicide squads, much like the suicide bombers of today.
    Both countries worshipped their leaders, in much the same way the clerics who are leading the calls to attack the West are worshipped by the adherents’ blind devotion to the cause.
    Things will change when the majority of people are given freedom to counter-balance the work of the few, but motivated people willing to die.
    Iraq is a fairly secular place. Once people there are able to participate in their economy, the country should become focused on trade and profit, and less on jihad.

  31. Hi Chris —
    I hope it all works out as optimistically as you suggest in your comment.
    I think the Middle East is a unique and dangerous nut to crack and I don’t think any country over there will be rolled into democracy with the ease of Japan and Germany after the war.

  32. Hi David,
    You are probably right since they seem to have a longer view of history than we do and are more committed to their cause than we are.

  33. I also think there is a great desire in the Middle East to return to a fundamentalist mentality and to give up forced Western advances in technology and social equality. There is a yearning for a return to the simpler times when life was black and white and they’ll get back there with guns and tanks.

  34. I’ve noticed that whenever a group of people want to go back to simpler times, it always results in an inordinate amount of bloodshed and misery for many innocent people.
    Pol Pot wanted to take Cambodia back to the Year 0 and killed millions.
    I hope the extremists in the Middle East never get nuclear weapons because Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent to people willing to die or destroy others for their cause.

  35. I completely agree with you, Chris. I mean, the war is over, right? The President said so. So, how’s the peace going? This isn’t Germany. This isn’t Japan. We are seen as intruders and not liberators and our “allies” over there barely support the fact the USA is still knee-deep in the dead. Our dead.

  36. I wonder if the solution is to partition Iraq into three states for the Sunni Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Kurds.
    There are some drawbacks to partitioning the country, however, writes Slate.

    Gelb and Galbraith both assume the Sunnis are probably ungovernable, at least for the near term. But partition, Galbraith argues, would at least limit the anarchy to “a finite area,” thereby making the U.S. military’s peacekeeping job easier to perform than it is now. Eventually, some sort of Sunni government would, one hopes, emerge, though given the region’s propensity for thuggery (Saddam is a Sunni), it’s hard to imagine that government would be a model of parliamentary democracy.

  37. I have very limited knowledge in World history, but one thing I would like too add, Greater India has been separated in 1947 on basis of religion, social custom and belief and the immediate aftermath was a huge communal riot. The tension between India and Pakistan is still there. I can’t guarantee that without the partition everything would have been a paradise, but at the same time I can say – that partition based on religious belief is probably not the best solution.

  38. Sorry, am a bit late to the comments! But, wowow – amazing discussions people! Certainly the thoughts presented here are on a higher plane than I usually do think! I would have to first say this – the articles posted here, the comments on them and the feedback has been brilliant! :-)! Thanks for having something like this on the net.
    About the main topic – I can relate to it! There are times when I have voiced my opine over my blog than right then and there! Unlike Katha here, I have always tended to blow my top initially! If I feel injustice is brewing, I would usually be the first one to say “Dude(tte) back off, no one is gonna take advantage of the situation. Let’s play it fair and square”. However, there are times, especially when handling certain kinda people who also tend to blow off their tops at the drop of a hat to be passive. Be the bigger man, if you will.
    What I have recently ranted about would probably be the traffic situation and the completely selfish, irate nature of the drivers, who tend to blatantly ignore the rules set to have a steady stream of traffic.
    I am currently residing in one of _the_ most congested cities in the world – Bangalore – the silicon city of India [or as I prefer to call it – the Silly Con city]. There is no better proof of congestion than a straight stretch from the city of Bangalore to the borders of Karnataka state and the Tamil Nadu state called Hosur Road. Along the road, about 12kms from where the city unofficially ends is the one of the 3 major hubs of software development houses called Keonics Electronics City. On an average, along this 12kms, about 162,000 vehicles travel. Please note that this road is NOT an express highway, but a 2 lane traffic road both sides.
    During the peak times, you get to travel on this road for about 90 minutes, when you can traverse it in about 10-20 minutes, with a decongested traffic. :-D!
    Anyhoo, on to the topic of whether the communication over the “anonymous ether of the Internet” [David, I really loved that usage] is personal or not? Honestly, I think if people can relate to reading and read the sentence, statement, in the same wavelength as you write, then the question of personal would never raise.
    Authors try to help people visualize what they want to communicate. In the same way, I think writing is all about communicating your view. If you have the capacity to make people feel, and comprehend what you exactly intend to say, I think it would have served its purpose. The question of whether it’s personal or NOT is completely defined only by a very subjective parameter viz. perspective.
    According to me, e-mails, comments on a personal blog, etc do mean that people can relate to what you say and are indeed taking it down to a personal level, right?
    A hand-written letter can be personal. Why? Because you feel the person who wrote has taken the pain to craft it by giving his personal touch.
    However, would it still be personal, if he employed someone to craft the same?
    For Katha’s thoughts on whether a segregation is to be done by religion, I think it’s injustice to do that. Personally, I don’t understand the concept of why people would want to be segregated? Why people would want to be within a group? Are people so narrow-minded that they can’t appreciate people from another race? This leads me another thing that I have been thinking about. Is the process of classification ever so ingrained in us that we apply it to each and everything we do, and to the extent of even humanity? And yet, we have terms like individual(ism) and what not…
    The riots, the killings, the murders, the war based on religion has been forever since the history of mankind. IMHO, religion has been defined too narrow. How can religion just encompass your faith, your way of belief in God and the supernatural? It should include your ethos, tenets and your way of life. You could discuss a cause and effect relationship here! However, I think we have misunderstood, rather exchanged the cause [religion] and the effect [our way of life]. Ideally, shouldn’t it be the other way. Your way of life should define your religion. And if everybody believes in a way of life of live and let live, in a harmonious cosmos, wouldn’t everbody be of the same religion – Humanity? [I still remember Katha’s friend signing in Humanity as his religion. It certainly has left a tremendous impact on me].

  39. The riots, the killings, the murders, the war based on religion has been forever since the history of mankind. IMHO, religion has been defined too narrow.
    I always wonder about that.
    What if we are all seeking the same God, just in different ways?

  40. I don’t think any religion under the Sun encourages/ supports mass killing or riot. Those who go for it have some other agenda in mind – some different power dynamics. I think the bottom line of every religion is very simple – live a good, healthy, positive life with the guidance of a higher power and that’s it. All the rituals, customs and imposed ‘’right/ wrong’’ and ‘’good/bad’’ are man made. Some times the disparity of the social strata pushes people to get brainwashed and involved in violence.

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