So apparently, XGH has joined the elite little club of bloggers being threatened with legal action. As the story goes, Webads placed an ad on his blog, among others, for a book written by Rabbi Eliyahu Safran on the topic of Tzniut (modesty). XGH, upon perusing the book's website, noticed that in his bio
, Rabbi Safran mentioned his wife's profession as a purveyor of fine custom wigs . XGH, on further investigation, noticed that said wig company sells some wig styles that he apparently feels are not in keeping with the spirit of Tzniut, and expressed as much in a satirical post
. Evidently Rabbi Safran did not appreciate the joke, and threatened
both Webads and XGH with a lawsuit unless the offending post was removed. XGH refused, at which point he and Webads severed their business relationship. Should be end of the story, except that according to this
comment, Rabbi Safran is apparently still threatening both Webads and GH with legal action unless the offending post is removed.
A few points:
A. What does Webads have to do with this anymore? It seems to me that Rabbi Safran should have no further beef with them now that their relationship with GH has been severed. And even when their relationship was intact, it isn't as if there is any understanding that Webads has any control whatsoever of the content that goes up on the blogs on which they sell ad space. They placed an ad on GH's site, he posted something Rabbi Safran did not like, Rabbi Safran informed Webads, they severed the business relationship. Sounds like the Webads chapter is closed, and that they did everything they could to deal with the issue properly. The Webads chapter of this saga should be closed. They seem to be an innocent victim in all this, and I would hate to see Rabbi Safran bully them over this when it is clear they have no further control over the situation.
B. This is the reality of the blogworld, for better or for worse. Blogs are a little bit like the Wild West of the Jewish community. Just about anything goes - certainly more than what goes in the mainstream Jewish media or press. When that goes well for an advertiser, they can get a tremendous boost from a viral marketing campaign on a popular blog, or from a positive review or plug from a revered blogger. But when an anonymous blogger chooses to criticize, such is life. It's a bit naive to expect take the good without accepting the possibility of getting criticized. When you put yourself out there in an ad, expect to get the attention you are seeking. The fact is, attention is not always positive. Such is life. Which brings me to...
C. Was GH's criticism fair game? Some might say it was over the line, as it isn't as if his criticism was based on the content of the book. That said, whether or not I would have chosen to poke fun at the situation as GH did does not mean that his post topic was not fair game. Rabbi Safran did choose to put the information about his wife in his bio, and it isn't as if he mentioned that she was a seminary teacher. She deals in headcoverings, and the book is about Tzniut. Sounds like a reasonable topic to discuss, regardless of whether one agrees with GH's tone. I myself admit to being curious whether the author of a highly touted book on Tzniut endorses the wearing of glamorous sheitels named after movie actresses. Does anyone know if Rabbi Safran takes a position in his book on the propriety of various types of head coverings? I'd be interested in knowing.
D. As often happens when people make a big deal of a little thing, things tend to get magnified. I highly doubt many people would have cared what Rabbi Safran's wife does for a living, and had this not become an issue, XGH's post would have been pushed down by his usual busy posting schedule, and probably quickly forgotten. Instead, this issue has been dredged up in numerous posts at XGH's, and I'm sure will be picked up by many other bloggers. Sometimes it's better to simply let well enough alone. Trust me. I know this from personal experience. I got more traffic as a result of the Greenbaum lawsuit than I had ever gotten, and all Ms. Greenbaum et al succeeded in gaining was a larger audience for my views - the very views they found so offensive and hurtful in the first place. Probably not what they were looking for.