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Blogging is A Controversial Business

March 13, 2011
Hello Friends,
I have been trying to figure out when I can get back to blogging.  Recently it seems as if I spend more time thinking and less time doing.
I wanted to share something with you that at first bothered me and then ultimately led to what I trust will be a positive outcome.   In the time that this blog has been in existence, I have had literally hundreds of thousands of people take time out of their day to both visit the blog and then in hundreds of cases leave me comments.  It is so seldom a negative comment that the few times that someone has taken issue with my characterization of their country, I am literally shocked by it.  Then I go through a stretch of questioning myself and rereading my postings and even editing something if I realize that I was too influenced by my perceptions when I wrote the original.  I knew this was a risk when I started this blog.  I knew that if I discussed history and geography that invariably I would say something that was reflective of my own upbringing or that was simply false.  But I decided to press forward and go through with it anyhow hoping that in so doing I would grow and learn as a person.  It is and always has been a journey after all.
This morning I had one of those experiences.  I wanted to share the original comment and my reply with you because it is very easy in the anonymous world of forums and comments to forget you are dealing with a person on the other end, a person with feelings and an ego.  I have had to do very little “censoring” of the comments on this blog.  For this I am grateful.  I made myself a promise that whether or not I liked something that someone leaves as a comment, that I would post it in it’s unedited form for everyone to read, unless it crossed the line of decency i.e. racism, hatred etc.  I have had only one such comment to date, and I deleted it happily.  The following comment came to me this morning and my first reaction was anger and a bruised ego.   My second reaction after reflection is characterized in my reply to the author.   I hope he can understand what I took issue with and why I replied the way I did.
If you have thoughts or feelings on the whole thing, please feel free to leave them below this posting.  Thanks to everyone who has helped make this blog a possibility…That means all of you.
The Comment in Question:

March 12, 2011 11:12 pm

“Canada is still technically ruled by Queen Elizabeth 2 of England. For all intents, Canada acts and is governed as an independent state, but is still technically a constitutional monarchy under the control of England. Most of the government is fashioned after England’s parliamentary system and the Queen is the basic ruler of this system.”

This is wrong, and some basic Google work would have told you so. The Queen of England is not the same as the Queen of Canada; they are separate thrones which currently have a shared succession. Should England decide to abolish the monarchy tomorrow, the monarchy in Canada remains. England – more accurately, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – has no control over Canadian affairs at all.

The Queen is also not the ‘basic ruler’ of the Canadian legal system. There’s this thing called Crown in Parliament, but I’ll let you learn about that on your own. By the by, England’s parliamentary system – the Westminster system – is the basis for the vast majority of western democratic systems, including that of the USA. Please don’t live up to the stereotype of the ignorant American.

Edit

  • March 13, 2011 8:08 pm

    Hello John,

    I tried emailing you rather than replying on my blog, but you left me a fake email address. I would have enjoyed being able to reach out to you and in so doing learn more about a country I also love (having spent much time in Canada). I appreciate your clarifying the issue of the throne in Canada. I found this interesting. My Google search did not turn this up so it is nice to have someone who knows point it out.

    BTW I spend several days on each of these postings but as I point out several times in my blog I do make errors and overlook things. This is a labor of love and something that most people will never attempt. You should bear that in mind when reading my blog.

    I have to tell you that the “Please don’t live up to the stereotype of the ignorant American.” comment was uncalled for and off the point. I don’t know you and you don’t know me.
    If I came into your house and said something similar, you would be rightfully offended. Bear in mind that in showing me your knowledge (which I appreciated) you also showed me some of your ignorance (which I did not).

    I appreciate your clarifications and wish you a good day.

    Regards,

    Eric Ackerson

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2011 8:49 pm

    First, your blog’s mission to research a country, write about the history and geography, prepare the national dish, photograph the meal and reflect on the process is far from ignorant. It is indeed a labor of love (and time) and reflects your desire to connect with cultures in a meaningful and lasting way. It’s virtually impossible to get every fact right, every time, but I’ll bet you (and your readers) learn more information and good things about the countries you blog about than not.

    Second, you posted the comment without editing (or deleting) it. That indicates that you’re open and willing to learn. Nothing ignorant or stereotypical about that either.

    Keep up the good work, and thanks for posting this thoughtful reflection. My Hungry Tum rocks it.

  2. stephanie permalink
    March 13, 2011 11:26 pm

    I see no ignorance on your part, and that comment was completely uncalled for…. I agree that in attempting to show you his knowledge, he also showed his ignorance. And, by using a fake email, he showed his cowardice.

  3. March 14, 2011 12:11 pm

    You’re not being ignorant. You made a tiny error which is completely understandable. I am English and of course know Lizzie is also Queen in Canada, but had no idea it was a second Throne. The guy is a patronising prat who needs to spend his energy on something more positive than trying to demean someone who wishes to produce a blog for the entertainment of others and his own enjoyment. I am pleased he left a fake email address as it proves that he has no balls and is another reason to ignore his pathetic ramblings.

    Your blog is great.

  4. March 14, 2011 12:42 pm

    Thanks to each of you for your comments. I am glad to see it is not just me that found his statement to be out of line. In the meantime, I am preparing to cook Germany. Most likely by the end of this week….

    Eric

  5. March 14, 2011 9:47 pm

    Yes. . . .blogging is most definately a controversial business, but, it is also a labor of love.

    Your response to this person was most reserved and tactful. That person’s ad hominem attack on you was wrong. It takes very little effort to impart information to someone without copping a sarcasitc attitude.

    Your blogging about the national dishes of countries is a learning journey in progress, and I am most appreciative that I discovered your blog last year. In linking to some of your posts on African dishes I too have learned much.

    You may want to look into creating a Comment Policy. Though I cannot say that it will be like mine ( http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/comment-moderation-policy/ ), it might not be such a bad idea.

    Keep up the good work.

    I enjoy reading your national dish posts, even if I don’t get to stop by as often as I like.

    May you blog long, and prosper.

    Peace.

  6. Jill permalink
    July 4, 2011 11:28 am

    I am glad to see you are still active, I follow you and Sarah’s “Whats cooking in Your world “blog as I cook/eat my way around the world…Thanks to your hiatus I have caught up. Just enjoyed a heavy German meal (with Reisling for me, I hate beer)..I look forward to your German post and beyond…I too enjoy learning about the culture of each country, adds to the fun. As regarding the comment, he was patronizing, he could have corrected any mis-information in a much nicer way.

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