Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Man Who Hates Blogs

 No matter what you try to do in life, someone will believe that your efforts are worthless.  I had this fact proven to me again recently by a university PhD who paused during a presentation to launch into a five minute attack on blogs and online journals.  Let me explain.
Not too long ago, my wife Krissy heard about a writer's meeting which was to be held at the local public library.  The topic of the meeting was memoir writing, which is an interest of mine, so we attended.
The talk went well for a while as the university instructor and his female co-leader gave helpful advice about writing, with a focus on memoirs.  Then, about 30 minutes into the talk, the man's attitude changed abruptly.  He began speaking about blogs in a hostile, mocking manner, saying that blogs were worthless and boring (I believe the term he used was "mundane"), and he claimed that all blogs were written in "stream of consciousness."  He was convinced that people who write blogs and online journals couldn't be considered real writers, and wrapped up his attack by saying, "Who'd want to read a blog, anyway?"
I wanted very much to stand up and walk out of the room midway through their presentation, but I forced myself to stay and listen to everything else he said, since I was planning to write him a scathing email.  
When the presentation was over, I did walk out, while the audience stayed for refreshments.  I was furious and I knew that if I talked to him that night I would have chewed him out in front of everyone there.  I wanted to avoid that.  Krissy, however, went up front to talk with the man.  She told him that she and I wrote blogs, and that we've been told that we write rather well.  To this he responded, "Not everyone who can use a keyboard is a writer."  She tried to talk about this with him, but he just kept repeating that one sentence.  Eventually he said that he might consider editing our work so that someday we might have some hope of becoming writers.  Krissy refused his offer.  She described him to me as being arrogant.  Personally, I might go to him if I ever want lessons on becoming a pretentious snob.
When I'd calmed down a bit, I realized that this man had used arguments that anyone familiar with public speaking or debate would have recognized as being irrational.  He might have read a blog or two that was not well written and assumed that all blogs were written that way.  I was surprised that a college instructor (probably a professor) could have fallen into an illogical belief like this.  Professors are expected to be clear thinkers.  Also, despite his claim, all blogs aren't written in stream of consciousness, as anyone who has read a fair sampling of blogs would realize.  There are many good blogs, including nationally known and respected blogs which are certainly well written.  Instead of saying that he personally didn't like blogs, he tried to throw all blogs on the trash heap.  I realized that he had not been giving his professional opinion that night.  Instead, he had been expressing a pet peeve. 
I never did write that scathing email.  I saw that it wouldn't have accomplished anything.  I could have given him a piece of my mind, but that wouldn't have changed his view of blogs.  I got over my anger after a few days.  I understood that I had been angry because he had put me down as well as Krissy and the many fine blog writers who don't deserve to be dismissed out of hand.  
Everyone has a right to his own opinion, and if this one professor wants to harbor an unrealistic hatred of blogs and online journals, he's free to do so.  My concern is that he may influence the minds of students and other professors, prejudicing them against blogs.  Hopefully, one teacher can't do much damage to blog writers.
Maybe I'll write him a calm, thoughtful email about his irrational reasoning.  I'll have to think about that.


  1. You are much nicer than I am. I would have stood up and left.
    Laini :)

  2. Maybe we should all email him our blog links??

  3. I know people who aren't professionals, PhD's, or even amateurs ...who think blogs are stupid.  So I guess those naysayers come in all forms. I'm glad you restrained yourself....I can see the headlines now; "John, AOL Journaler in jail for beating the crap out of Prof What's His Name for saying blogs/online journals are a stupid waste of time."  LOL   Linda in Washington state

  4. I had the exact same thought as Missie! Maybe you can provide his email address and we can all send him our links! "I hear that you're an avid reader of blogs. I thought I'd send mine along to you." LOL (I'm actually serious about this. I think that would be quite amusing, and I think he might find that there are better writers out there than he realizes.)

    Sounds like both you and Krissy hit the nail on the head: the guy is an arrogant, pretentious snob.

    I think it takes some discipline to write a regular blog, and I've noticed that the longer I keep at it, the better my writing gets. I suspect that's true for each and every one of us who does this.

    All my best,

  5. Hey John~Oh pooh-pooh; so he thinks blogs are mundame, huh? Well I would have to agree that he sounds like a pretencious snob. I think his feedback on the subject is quite worthless! Sorry you had to "bear" this guy's personality to get the info...Deb ;-)

  6. Don't waste your time on him... Arrogance like that won't see the light no matter what.  His loss.

    be well,


  7. John, send us the ignorant mans e-mail.  We will fix his snotty ways.  I can
    t believe he would say that about blogs.  Well anyway it is good you restrained yourself. He aint worth it.  .........

    love and hugs  Myke

  8. I would certainly write to him if I had his address and also give him the link to my blog.  He is obviously a literature snob and certainly extremely arrogant.  Also he certainly did not take into account the support people receive through writing a blog, you know what I mean John, you Krissy and I have all had it plus many others.  The man is blinkered.  I could point him to quite a few entries on my own blog where people have told me I ought to get published and that is not blowing my own trumpet, just the simple truth.  However, he sounds like a man that simply is not worth bothering with, as you say it seems that nothing will sway him.  He probably has read a few blogs and formed a narrow-minded and unfair opinion.  Oh how I wish I could meet him face to face, I would certainly tell him what's what.

  9. (((((((((((((((((((((JOHN)))))))))))))))))))I would be just as mad as you was.Now,I may not write as good as alot of people here in J-land.But I dont write to be good,I just write because I like to.But I do understand what you are saying and I would be mad.I would write to Him.Have a nice weekend

  10. John, I think there are a certain group of people who like to think that all of us who write blogs write only about our toils and tragedies.  The truth is, JLand has some of those kind of people, but the majority of it's writers are people that are very intelligent, who are not stuck on themselves, who are learning as they go onward in life, and who just love to share with other people. Also, we beome a family when needed, as I know you know. We share each other's joys, and sorrows.  We are more than friends!  -Just my humble opinion, Merry

  11. that's sad that professor had such a low opinion about journals; I personally think there are a lot of excellently written blogs out there (yours and Krissy's among them); sad he didn't have a higher opinion of them


  12. pfft.  That professor is just a crabby unhappy little man.  Besides....who cares if it's a stream of consciousness.  Even that can be pretty funny...

    You know, I never have considered myself a writer.  I just think I talk too much and blogging helps me not talk to random strangers.  LOL


  13. what an arrogant moron he is. Hope your having a nice weekend. ((((hugs)))))

  14.     The questions that come to mind is simple. Is he a writer? If so, is he any good? Personally I've seen well written blogs as well as some really bad ones. The ones I don't like or agree with are the ones that pass off opinions as news. That's not to say that I won't share my views on any matter in my blog. I will. But it is my opinion. As far as this moron is concerned, it's a pity he has such a prejudice. He's missing a lot of enjoyment and a pretty good education. I've learned a lot about people and other parts of the country. His loss.

  15. Oh, GIVE me his name, I'll write him..... LOL!!!!  He's in a position of authority who has brief control of the minds of his students, (and others, if he is a public speaker). He needs to be stopped, he's stating his opinion as fact, that's NOT cool.


  16. Possibly he does not understand the function of blogs, nor the place they have in today's communcation continuum. Many writers write blogs, and many bloggers also write in other genres as well. It wasn't fair to cast us all into one heap. Some of us are pretty serious about the craft, and it is a craft. I find that blogging helps me fine tune my writing skills... I suppose a writing workshop would do the same, but only if one practices what one has learned there. Bloggers write every day, nearly, and so there is the inherent quality of practice... I pick up a lot of tips about various aspects of living by reading blogs, as I get to know the authors who wrote them. I am thoroughly addicted to them, and if that makes me boring and mundane in his eyes, so be it. As a university professor, I would think he could look into more ways to use blogging as a writing vehicle rather than dismissing it as a worthless tool. I'm glad you got over your anger... and I'm glad you are well these days! bea

  17. "hope springs eternal"--what a great way to go! I'm so happy for you and Krissy both. Deb ;-)

  18. what a jerk! i love reading both you and Krissy's journals or blogs. I wonder if he had a blog and no one commented lol life is too short to sweat the small stuff and that so called writer professor is in my opinion small stuff


  19. a) what's wrong with streams of consciousness?
    c) writers should never criticise writers - it tends to be an act of compulsion anyway and as you often get little support from anyone else - you should get it from other writers.
    c) Letters after your name prove nothing - and if I get to a (d) I won't be happy so I'll stop now.


  20. As I go deeper into my college education, I find teaching is a very easy way to push your agenda and be very small minded...these small minded people are pushing the secular progressive agenda most of the time and say they are clear minded, while really they are only sampling off the array of their own plate instead of trying what is on everyone else's.  Far too many people like him are educating the naive youth of our country.  Fortunately, enough of the youth are smart enough to take a stand.

    Thanks for the post.

  21. i am an avid blogger and tripped over your journal title, and, thinking it might be a "must read", i came over to peruse the pages.  i want to offer my "pat on the back" for NOT approaching this apparently single-minded person, as it would have ended with you lowering yourself to his level or lower, and from what i have read so far in your journaling, you are much better than that.  but i AM glad that your wife at least approached him on the matter.

    i am a published writer in the field of poetry, but also enjoy writing prose....and i am a blogger.  often when people get to the point in their lives that they have experienced a few "good job" comments on their work, (such as this man you speak of) they become enthralled with themselves and feel if they don't approve of something, then it doesn't warrant merit.  i say keep up the good work, john.  i will be around from time to time to see what adventures life has thrown your way.

    as for your recent possible set back noted by your bloodwork, i offer you my well wishes and my prayers that all will be well when you are able to see your doctor again.

    signed......a hopeful soul passing through other's literary journeys.......

    (aka regina)