What a Crazy Day on the Blogosphere

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Yesterday was the craziest day of blogging I have ever been apart of.
And I had nothing to do with it.

I have seen normal blog post go from good to really really bad and hurtful. Just check out this post here. But yesterday seemed to be a day filled with hateful comments all rolled up into a late night of hitting the refresh button and responding.

Here is how it all started, a little recap of the day…

Pete Wilson’s blog withoutwax.tv started the fun off by talking about monitoring staff twitter accounts (read post here). It was a very innocent post that had some good response. Until, the post was hijacked by some words of advice from a commenter to another commenter. What ensued was a back and forth about who was right and who was wrong. It was pretty silly to be playing out over the blog, but atleast it looks like Pete has a lot of comments now.

Next up is Jud Wilhite and Mike Foster of deadlyviper.org/blog
These guys have written a great book and have started a great discussion on their blog as well as their man cave videos.
Jud wrote a post the other day about apologies and the excuses that usually follow Sorry.
What turned into a conversation about how we like to use apologies as excuses was soon hijacked by this comment:
“How about saying I’m sorry that I’m pimping Asian culture by using superfluous references like Kung Fu and dragons on the cover of a book that has nothing inherently to do with Asians. Really, what’s the point of referencing Asian culture if only to exoticize us and place us on the margins? That doesn’t seem like serious character or integrity.”
What? Where did that come from? What followed was 80 more comment about how the book was highly offensive and that it needed to be taken out of stores. Blog post were written by individuals, private emails were shared that were not meant to be shared. It turned into an “us verse them” type of thing and really is sad where the conversation has turned.

Matthew Paul Turner ended the night very well though.
Matthew Paul Turner has a blog called JesusNeedsNewPR (he really does). He wrote a post last night about Joel Osteen that was probably one of the funniest things I have ever read. It could be offensive to some (could be? actual it is very offensive) but it calls out some things that we all want to say. It was going well until a guy (I assume he was a guy because of the language he used, very uncreative and un-lady like). He decided to throw some F words in there and say stuff that really was not true. The best part was that he did not leave his name to the comment.
Check out the post and comments here

I am probably missing some other great comments as well. But these were the three that really took over the blogging world yesterday and seemed to do way more harm to the body of Christ then good.

Did you see any of these post yesterday?
Did you respond to any of these post?
Have you ever left a comment that started a fire?

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Tyler_Braun Tyler_Braun

    Wow. Never would have known about any of this if not for your post. Thanks for summarizing it. Tuesdays are busy days, and I'm actually glad to have stayed away from the drama this time.

  • Joe Oh

    There are many well thought out articulated responses on that thread…but I guess they weren't sensational enough for your blog?

    No one is against the content of their book. And you can't judge a book by its cover, but what we are judging is the cover. And this is an important conversation to have. If they had painted their faces black and acted "ghetto" to get some street cred to sell their book, wouldn't you find this objectionable or understand how many would find it offensive? Why not in this case? If you don't see anything wrong with that, then I wouldn't know where to begin.

    Mike and Judd are probably great people, in fact I'd even say they are though I've never met them. But when you've made an offense, own up to it and let's move on. Go carefully read through each comment again, and see if you can catch something different this time around.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Ok, thank you for your response. I actually have read every comment, and have read some comments two or three times because I am trying to understand for myself what is going on.
      The only reason I decided to say something here was because I wanted others to see what was going on and then see the conversation and then respond. If not for all the comments I would have never known this was offensive.
      I understand what you are saying and how it can be offensive to you and your culture. And am in no way trying to down play you or others.
      What I am struggling with is the way that it was handled through the comment stream and through showing emails.
      I just do not understand how the comments changed so fast to this subject.

  • Joe Oh

    I don't care whether or not you approve my comments. But you should read this.

    http://eugenecho.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/deadly-

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      I don't disapprove any comment, thank you very much for the link. I will read that today.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrettBarner Brett Barner

    Rough day on Tuesday. Thanks for highlighting this. I would have missed the first two. It really did feel like people were at everyone's throats (not just in the blog world, but at work, etc.) Must be the extra hour is throwing everyone off. Hopefully Wednesday is a better day. I put my foot in the door of MPT's post. I came back this morning and was shocked to see how the tide had turned.

    You're right, I think it did more harm than good. Now all this post needs is an errant, anonymous comment about the 1st amendment or something… :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      You are right, it must have been something in the air. But everyone was on edge and everyone was picking sides on who is right and who is wrong.
      The MPT was hilarious, even the comment from that guy what funny. But in the end I come back to seeing the purpose of it all. Sure, I think what Joel Osteen is doing is wrong, and to be honest can probably write that on my blog because i do not have a big audience. But MPT has a huge audience and he had to know that it was going to stir a lot of people up, maybe that is why he did it.
      I am just waiting for someone to comment and say, "I was saved at Joel Osteen's church or on a tv event, does that mean that i am not a Christian anymore?"
      Check out all those post though, some good stuff in there.

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv pete wilson

    Thanks for the mention. I've learned that whenever you right a "vanilla" blog post you can expect that it's probably going to get hi-jacked. Thanks for the link.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Ya I wish I was mentioning you because of an awesome post (it actually was a good question that you asked) but it is amazing how someones agenda can become louder than the authors intent.
      But it was interesting to see played out. glad you just let it go.

  • Joe Oh

    Hey Kyle,

    This is a very emotionally charged issue. I have tried to be thoughtful in my posts. Forgive me if I come across harshly. I don't mind being blunt, but I do want to keep a respectful tone.

    I actually agree and wish this whole thing would have been handled better. By BOTH SIDES. It was a public offense, and a public letter was addressed to Mike and Judd. (But it was first addressed in private.) When it comes to the issue of racism etc, you have to expect it is going to be a hot button trigger for many. You haven't heard the stories of people who have been subjected to racial taunts/slurs/stereotypes, so if some of them respond from bitterness that comes from real hurt and life experience, I ask that you show them grace.

    And the majority of people understand the INTENT of the authors was good. Of course they had good intentions and unknowingly committed an error. It was their dismissive "it was in fun, get over it" blaise response that set off a trigger. I found his "I'm Sorry" blog post to be ironically relevant!

    How would you suggest people voice their dissent next time? There already were attempts through private email before this whole thing became "public". Mike and Judd did not respond in a way that brought closure to the situation. In fact their casual dismissal threw gasoline onto the fire. That avenue was already tried and failed. I am certain that if they had owned up quickly to even the possibility that they had committed a deep hurtful offense, this matter would have moved into another conversation very quickly. You also state that if not for all the comments you would have never known this was offensive. I'm glad people spoke up to let you know just how offensive it is.

    And what exactly is this agenda that you refer to? Here is my answer as an Asian American male who is a citizen of the U.S. born and raised. The Asian/American communities agenda is RESPECT. Mutual respect and love. When you use that word it sounds to me as if you are trivializing our voice. I've heard that word used in church to denigrate the voice of the liberal and gay communities. So within a church context the word 'agenda' has never had positive connotations. Correct me if I'm wrong, don't worry about offending me ;)

    While I highly respect Prof. Rah, and thank God he is man who is willing to be voice for the Asian/American community as well as others, I am also disappointed that he posted the private emails. I am also disappointed that Mike and Judd made those dismissive comments, and to their prolonged delay in their response. I am disappointed that this is not the first time Zondervan has published something very offensive to my ethnic heritage. But I am also highly hopeful.

    @Brett, I actually think this has the potential to do more good than hurt. The way it came about was not ideal, but it can hopefully cause good dialogue and change in the way we view and understand cultures. Perhaps you are not used to Asian/Americans being vocal, but get used to it. My generation is willing to dialogue.

    Eugene Cho stated with clarity, can you trust your brothers and sisters when they tell you that you have committed an offense…even if you don't see the big deal? And I believe the majority of the Asian American community is desiring reconciliation and to move forward. We are used to this coming from the secular media and Hollywood so it takes us aback when our own family uses these types of caricatures and then dismisses our objection as an "over-reaction".

    The great majority of posts did not attack Mike or Jud's personal character or accused them of being racist. (And be aware that not every poster on the blogs are Christian) You can't judge a book by its cover, but we are judging the cover. And their promotional etc perpetuates negative racial stereotypes! To move forward repentance is a necessary step. Grace does not equate to sweeping it under the rug, but a willingness to engage and to forgive. And the Asian/American community hopefully responds with Christ-like grace.

    This issue could have been handled more maturely from BOTH SIDES. I get why you are upset about how it was handled. Can I ask if you are also upset with the offense toward your Asian/American brothers and sisters?

    If no one had ever said a word about this issue which a overwhelming majority of Asian/Americans and other groups found deeply offensive, ask yourself honestly, could we depend on you to speak up on our behalf?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      I am confessed as to when I referred to an agenda.

      I am upset and bothered for both sides. I am not choosing a side at all. but i can honestly say that I would not have spoken up on your behalf because I never even thought about it that way. I have read deadly viper for a long time now, I have the book, i have watched the videos, etc….it never crossed my mind that anything was offensive.
      Like I said before, my eyes are open now. I was unaware that zondervan had ever done anything offensive before, but now I know that this is not the first time.

      I respect your opinion and your thoughts and I appreciate you weighing in and trying to have conversation rather than hateful words.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrettBarner Brett Barner

      Hey Joe,

      I wasn't sure if just the one paragraph was intended for me, or if the rest was too, but just to clarify, I was only speaking an opinion of MPT's post.

      After reading some of the comments and article; and being familiar with Character Assassins before all this, I'm thinking I'm taking Kyle's side, the side of not choosing a side. I guess I'm still trying to form an opinion, not out of ignorance or apathy, but I guess, I just don't know yet.

      I totally respect your opinion, and I honestly do hope that good does come of this. I think you're right, both sides could have handled it more maturely. It's a lot easier to voice your opinion from the comfort of your home behind an anonymous handle, than to be in the same room with that person. Sometimes the filter is lost, and those little fingers can type faster than we can reason.

      I'm totally for debate and the search for discovering what is true and right. I am not for arguing. A debate is a discussion. An argument is a dispute, where no one's opinions have changed, and they've only left mad at each other. In Isaiah 1:18, God says, "Come now, let us reason together". He incorporated reasoning into mankind's thought process in order for us to discover righteousness on our own. We sometimes forget (maybe a little too often) that we have that ability.

      Again, I appreciate your thoughts. How is someone supposed to know they are hurting the other unless they yelp? I think the idea to walk away from this post of acknowledging yesterday's blog controversies (and I hope I'm not putting words in your mouth, Kyle), is to be respectful with reasoning. You and I may have opposing opinions. I'm cool with that. I'll still love you. But come out verbally swinging at me, calling me names, and telling me how horrible of a person I am (and I'm not saying that you or anyone did this)…well, it makes it a lot harder to love you. :)

      "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
      Robert Frost

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

        Well said Brett. And like you said, the main reason for acknowledging all of the happenings yesterday was to simple make the conversation known, and to let the conversation move off the blogs and into real life community discussions. The beauty of a blog is that it allows people to be heard or like you said Brett "yelp" but the downside of blogs is that it is very easy to say a bunch of things and not have to stand behind them (not saying you or anyone else is doing this, just making a wide observation).
        Lets take what was said here on this blog and the apology from Mike and Jud and move to reconciliation rather than continuing to bring up past painful memories.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Matt_TCoNP Matt_TCoNP

    Hey Kyle, thanks for commenting on my blog! Saw you around yesterday at Matthew Paul Turner's blog, and in other places. That was pretty crazy – about MPT's Osteen post. Didn't get to see the Deadly Viper stuff play out. I always say there's no such thing as bad publicity. So if you ever want to leave some nasty anonymous comments on my blog, be my guest! I don't get them nearly often enough.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Ya yesterday and really even today have been crazy. Just by me posting this post here I have had a huge traffic spike. I guess a little controversy goes a long way. I have had my blog post in the past that got some craziness going and riled up some people.
      But I will be sure to write some nasty stuff on your site and call you stupid now and then. As long as you promise the same for me.

  • http://jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com mpt

    Thanks for the mention, Kyle. I did suspect that my post might create some debate, but I had no idea it would end up going where it did. I've written about Joel on numerous occasions and NEVER have received that sort of reaction. :)

    Thanks again for reading… Matthew

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      I never have read a ton of your stuff, but now I am a googlereader subscriber. Loved the post and went back and looked at some Ed Young stuff (his interview on Colbert was my favorite), some pics of Jesus, and of course that picture of Joel and his wife in the African safari.

      I am glad that you wrote the post and then allowed the comments to flow in. Honestly I would have never had paid attention to the book because I already know what the guy preaches about all the time, but having you revamp it a little for me got my attention. I love being able to check back throughout the day and see how others are reacting and what they are saying.

      Thanks for opening the dialogue, I am going to check your book out as well. I think it would do me some good to read and I think I can relate with what you have written.

  • http://waynepark.com Wayne Park

    Hey Kyle. Just following one of those long crazy threads thru the Deadly VIper thing. And yes, I am an asian male.

    Perhaps this might help you to see where the other side comes from (i get you saying you're not on any side but no one is completely neutral, please), but bear with me. When a brother is upset it's never for no reason. Does he react? Maybe. Does he polemicize. Yes. Is it right then to tell someone to chill out when they are experiencing something very tangibly real? I don't know about that. We can't just dismiss it. It's not so much the debate that is bothering so many asians. In fact I see more and more people agreeing that perhaps it could have been handled better. But what's getting people so riled up is the fact that the anger is getting dismissed as reactionary, or reading into things, or worst of all, liberal.

    Isn't that just how we handle the passive quiet asian guy.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Thanks for weighing in Wayne. I appreciate your perspective on all of this and taking the time to help bridge to gap between whatever sides have been created.
      You are right, it is very hard to remain neutral. But I still think there is a way to stay out of picking sides. Obviously I am going to have a hard time recognizing or understanding where the Asian American community is coming from and I am also going to have a hard time understanding where the authors (in this case Mike and Jud) are coming from because I have never wrote a book and had my stuff published to the masses. I do think it is important that we do not break it down to whose side you are on, and I really felt like that was what happened in the comment stream.

      I would have to disagree with you on the fact that the anger is getting dismissed as reactionary, or reading into things. I do know that there has been some comments left on the blog that treated it that way, but to be honest I have never thought that way. I couldn't think that way, it happened so fast and I was so confused as to what was happening the only thing I could do was read and educate myself through comments and blog post (and there were several of those). But I am still trying to figure out how this all came about. In my blog post I talked about how the conversation shifted from how to apologize to you need to apologize to the asian community for your work. It shifted very quickly. What confused me more was that this book has been in print since 2007 and I have never heard anyone say something like this before. Actually, I have heard the opposite. That the book was well put together, that it had great content and was presented well. This was coming from non Caucasians. I am not going to say any names but I read a review from a prominent asian man that praised the book followed up by a comment from another asian man saying the book was great and that the title was pretty catchy.
      Now I am not defending either side here, I am just trying to say where the confusion came from on my side. I was taken back and before I knew it what was once a little fire was turned into a blaze and more and more gasoline was being brought to the party.

      I stand by what I have said all along. People of the Second Chance is not just a phrase but a reality. And we get to see that played out very well here. I hope that the necessary conversations happen between all parties and that some healing can come about.

  • Joe Oh

    @Brett Thanks for the clarification. Sorry for assuming it was a part of the first two posts. I agree about dialoging vs debating. On this issue, I don't see it as choosing sides. I see Mike and Judd as my brothers, and in all my posts I have tried to remain respectful and mindful that they are so. Also, while it may seem to just be about the Asian/American community it's not just limited to one community. I have friends of other minority groups who are quicker to see how this is offensive. I have friends who are not of the same faith, and something like this would only cement the false stereotype of Christianity as a "white mans religion".

    It's also been a great experience for me to even have dialogue with my friends and they fall all over the range from horrified to not understanding why it's a big deal. I've heard that the authors and some leaders from the Asian/American community are continuing to communicate directly, and am hopeful.

    @Kyle When I referred to "agenda" it was in response to your previous post. Perhaps it was out of context.

    While the book was published in 2007, it doesn't mean everyone knew about it. (And I'm not exactly sure when this promotional video/packaging was included which seems more recent.) Also, just because one Asian man gives the thumbs up doesn't mean he speaks for the rest of us. And I'm sure you have to at least admit that the overwhelming majority of posters (take that whatever way) are upset with the content and the way the authors initially treated the request to address the issue.

    The content of the book is probably great. I'm going to order a copy, and hope to glean a lot of wisdom from these guys whom I respect. People may feel that there are so many other issues, why pick on your own family? Why not go after Hollywood? Well, I can tell you there are people who are trying to do that. But it hurts more when it comes from our own family whom you feel should understand. We are letting you know it is offensive even if you guys still don't understand why. Trust us when we say it is!

    Again while we do not want to be divisive and choose sides, we can not remain on the sidelines in issues like this in our outside of the body of Christ. I'm optimistic that good will come out of this. If any of guys roll through Los Angeles, CA hit me up and we can hang. Appreciate the chance to dialogue. joeboxer212@gmail.com

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      I wish I was in California sometime soon, would love to meet up with you and hang out.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrettBarner Brett Barner

      Next time I'm in LA, (though it might be awhile) expect an email! God Bless!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Joshsherif Joshsherif

    You know I wonder if things like the book cover are offensive because people choose to be offended. If those pictures are just caricatures and not your true culture then don't tie them to Asian culture by making such a big deal about it. Now every time I do see one of these caricatures the first thing that will pop into my head is all of this.

    Maybe I'm over simplifying it.

  • Joe

    @Kyle Anytime brotha!

    @Joshsherif I choose not to ignore ignorance. And there is a balance between being offended and responding with grace or without grace. Righteous anger is something we need to learn as well. If I see people mocking other marginalized groups of soceity, I will not ignore it. I feel it's our duty to speak out on the behalf of the marginalized.

    Now every time you see these caricatures and the first thing that pops in your mind is this, that it actually is offensive, then I can live with that. Why not dialogue? Ignorance is not bliss.

  • http://www.pridelandsmommy.blogspot.com *~Michelle~*

    Getting onto this late……but gotta give you a *high five* and a big AMEN on this:

    "seemed to do way more harm to the body of Christ then good."

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 klreed189

    Thank you and I appreciate that.
    The good thing is actually out of all the harm and pain has come some healing for others.