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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, July 29, 2005
How I Got to Blogging – Part I
In September 2000 the second intifada started. In the Oslo accords (which I supported at the time) Israel bent over backwards to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a peace treaty. Arafat showed (again) that Palestinian statehood was not what he was after. What he was after was prolonging the conflict as long as possible so as to remain a media darling and so as to squirrel away as many Euros in his secret bank accounts as possible. He was the epitome of the terrorist cleptocrat.

At the time I had just quit a perfectly good job on a medical school clinical faculty to take the plunge into private practice. I was working ridiculously long hours seeing a ton of hospital patients. The fact that I was the sole breadwinner for our family and the financial risk that I had taken were on my mind daily. At about the same time we had decided to remodel our house, and ball-and-chain and I and our two kiddies moved ten houses away to live with her parents. Oh, and ball-and-chain was pregnant with our third. I was under a lot of pressure. So I was spending many late evenings in the office catching up on paper work or in the hospital seeing patients. This was just as well, since we needed the money, and since there were already lots of us under the same roof, so I tried to do my part by coming home mostly just to sleep.

At the same time Israel was seemingly falling apart, and I became obsessed with news from the Middle East. Almost worse than the actual news from Israel was the horrible moral-equivalency spin that the media was putting on the reporting. Rather than stating the glaring facts like “Homicidal Anti-Jews Strike Again” or “Palestinian Groups Pursue Israel’s Destruction” they would drone about the “Cycle of Violence” and report at face value Palestinian grievances of “humiliation” and “The Occupation” while Jewish graves were still fresh. To add injury to injury, our State Department was constantly calling on Israel to exercise restraint after the next batch of her citizens had been bloodied, and constantly wringing their hands about travel restrictions and other security precautions imposed on the Palestinians by Israel. I was going crazy. Was no one seeing the conflict the way I was? Dennis Prager was, but I couldn’t listen to his show during the day. I was desperate for some news with some moral clarity.

That’s when I stumbled onto Arutz Sheva. At the time, they were an illegal crazy-right-wing-religious radio station broadcasting from a ship off the Israeli coast. They had a show called the Deprogram Program, by an American expat, Shai ben-Tekoa. It was just what I needed. It was a nightly program that combined news analysis, historical perspective, some Biblical references, and fun Israeli music interludes. Ben-Tekoa’s message was simple: they want to kill us. They want to kill us not because of the occupation, because they were trying before 1967. They want to kill us not even because of the existence of the State of Israel, because they were trying before 1947. They just want to kill us because we’re Jews. Muslim societies have never lived at peace with free non-Muslim societies. They either lived at peace with subjugated non-Muslims or they were at war. This was like a warm balm for my frayed nerves. Finally, another person gets it, and he’s broadcasting.

(A pleasant side effect of this discovery was that it turned me on to the music of Gil Akibayov and Yosef Karduner, groovy Israeli Chassidic musicians.)

Coming up in Part II: I discover Little Green Footballs and get my first taste of bloggy goodness.
I'm looking forward to the 3rd or 4th installment where you talk about discovering treppenwitz... which led to you taking the medication that was supposed to end up in Jack's Tang... and then just losing all interest in anything but composing limericks. :-)
David: That part you can write for me. Do you want to write a Coffeehouse Guest Post? :-)
I think many of us were doing the same thing at the time, trying to find a way to get better info on Israel that wasn't going through the media bullsh-t filter.
Jack's Tang.

There is something that sounds rather perverse there.
P.S. The more I think about it the more I know that there is something very very wrong.

But on a more exciting topic did you ever hear about the man from Nantucket.....
Psychotoddler: I would have felt much better knowing about a few crazy-right-wing blogs then. But even Little Green Footballs hadn't really found it's voice before 9/11. It was mostly just the random musings of Charles Johnson, a computer geek who would find his reason to blog and achieve greatness much later.

Jack: There's nothing wrong. Everyone just seems to think that I'm responsible for your mental health. Other than that we've never met, what could be wrong?
Nobody can take credit for Jack's mental health.
you mean my lack of mental health. I am looney, just ask.
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