A Note on Blogs – This One, Anyway

16 07 2009

Heart-Rate

Yesterday I had heart rate problems.  For a number of reasons I won’t go into, my resting heart rate is usually somewhere in the mid to low 50’s.  But yesterday as I sat at my computer it was hovering 25-30 bpm faster.  This was due to an email I received from the author of a book mentioned in a couple of my posts, which resulted in my writing this post.  This guy was irate regarding “gross deficiencies” in my post, which was one in a series.  It became obvious after an exchange of emails that he had not read all the posts in the series, had not read them in order after learning of them, and did not understand the focus of the posts – nor did he care.  I’m pretty sure he was most upset with the fact that I never contacted him about his book (the existence of which I only learned of in the process of writing the series that ended with the receipt of the book), although he also didn’t like my characterization of his footnotes as “uneven” and a cautionary statement about regimental histories and biographies written by descendants in general, a concern shared by just about every historian and student of history I know.  I only read a page or two of the book that dealt with the topic in question, and offered no review or qualitative comments about the book specifically.

Look, this blog is not a linear narrative – it’s not a book.  Books don’t have hyperlinks – when I place a link in a post (such as see here), I expect the reader will click on that link.  It’s part of the post.  Other than links to Amazon or other sources for purchase information, those links aren’t put there for giggles.

In addition, blog posts are usually pretty focused and brief.  Topics are generally narrow.  In what is still my favorite series of posts, the Kilpatrick Family Ties series, I did not write much about Kilpatrick’s military career.  So you see no mention of, say, Monroe’s Crossroads.  That’s not because of poor research, but because the “story” in that case was his family.

I held these truths to be self evident.  I guess I shouldn’t have.  But I definitely shouldn’t have let it get to me like it did.  It’s times like these I wish I’d spent a few years in an ashram, or taken up TM.  Ohmmmm…ohmmmm…

UPDATE:  Today this guy has sent even more insulting and rude emails.  He steadfastly refuses to identify what he calls “misinformation” spread by my “blithering” blog, and keeps repeating the same nonsense.  I’m quite willing to correct any mistakes I’ve made in my posts, and have done so on more than one occasion when they have been pointed out to me.  I’m tempted to reproduce his emails here in their entirety, but that would be quite embarrassing to the individual and maybe there’s more to his story than I know.  Hopefully I’ve heard the last from him.

Sorry about this.  I don’t use my blog to vent, and hopefully this will be a one-time thing.

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4 responses

17 07 2009
David Langbart

Harry-

I say out him. There is no excuse for intemperate remarks.

And calm down.

David

17 07 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Sorry David. That’s just not how I roll.

18 07 2009
cenantua

I don’t know, Harry. Trying to bring this person to an understanding may increase your heart rate even more, and, as you point out, it doesn’t sound like he wants to hear what you have to say. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but this person needs to get a grip. If he can’t defend his position without hostility in insulting and rude e-mails, then he’s doing nothing to add credibility to his position or his work, and he’s not worth your time. Keeping doing the good stuff that you do!

20 07 2009
brian

I agree about keeping the emails private. Sorry about the abuse, though. Too bad this guy didn’t comment directly on the post(s) – that would be the “money where your mouth is” approach.

I know you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt, and trying to find perspective for his criticism, but you’d be right to ignore him from here out.

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