One of my favorites is going down. December 14, 2001 3:57 AM   Subscribe

One of my favorites is going down. Hopefully, only for the nonce, but Robot Wisdom is going on hiatus due to Jorn Barger's financial troubles. See his message at http://www.robotwisdom.com/weblogs/yafc.html .
posted by MAYORBOB to General Weblog-Related at 3:57 AM (32 comments total)

Gee, who will we turn to for monolithic condemnations of Jews?
posted by NortonDC at 5:37 AM on December 14, 2001


Yeah, I stopped reading him a year ago when he got a bit too Anti-Zionist but dammit, I'm not racist for my touch.

And, let's be honest, that Joyce obsession creeped me out too. I might not get it (much like I don't get clowns) but that didn't stop me from feeling itchy when I read hi.s stuff
posted by Dagobert at 5:44 AM on December 14, 2001


Good riddance to bad rubbish, and not just because of his politics. I hope he never comes back.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2001


He definitely fell off the wagon over a year ago and lapsed into monomaniacal nonsense. He was irrelevant a while ago.
posted by gen at 8:30 AM on December 14, 2001


I have little time on the Net--found him only recently through back door links in the archive. I don't know his politics or history. I am sad, nonetheless, to see those archives lost--there's a lot of interest in there. I hope they were mirrored somewhere.
posted by y2karl at 9:18 AM on December 14, 2001


(bitchy) He's been an ass for years. Anyone who thinks it's a recent development didn't know him in his Usenet days.

(faux-helpful) He should try getting a job.
posted by rodii at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2001


Where will I go for PG13 faux-porn? I bet his financial problems are a result of the Zionist control of the world financial markets.
posted by anildash at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2001


be kind.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:49 AM on December 14, 2001


And here I was thinking yafc stood for Yet Another F------ (Web) Charity.

() I'm broke
() I have a kidney stone
() I need cigarettes
() I want an iBook
Give now!!!

The Ernie-Aid thing was neat, I'll admit that. It was done by friends, and as far as I'm aware, he didn't even know about it at first. But does anybody else find The New Panhandling just a little...gross? In a couple weeks, I'm moving halfway across the country again, and have to cram everything in my car. Anyone wanna sponsor a U-Haul?
posted by Su at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2001


Whoops. And here I was thinking the code filter would kick in during the preview. Don't click the link. Don't touch it. Iss EVIL!
posted by Su at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2001


So, having read the comments here, I'm uncertain as to whether I should be using the official meaning or the slang meaning of nonce.
posted by davehat at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2001


I like Jorn's site, his anti-zionist crusade was somewhat of a distraction and I found most of those links to be ok. Some were just written by people with a very strong bias and I'm sure that turned off a lot of people. Considering Israel's recent actions (assissination lists, firing recklessly into neighborhoods, etc) the divest from Israel campaign makes more sense than ever.

His politics never bothered me. Call me crazy, but I don't equate criticism of Israel with racism or conspiracy theories.
posted by skallas at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2001


Call me crazy, but I don't equate criticism of Israel with racism or conspiracy theories.

I gave up on Robot Wisdom when Jorn started posting headlines like "Is Judaism simply a religion of lawless racists?" and "Are Jews incapable of polite discourse?" A recent visit, to see if anything had changed, found him calling a U.S. official "traitor Wolfowitz" and America's "highest placed Jew." I think we all can recognize what this kind of talk represents.
posted by rcade at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2001


The only thing that had kept it vaguely excusable was the distinction between Israeli and Jew, and eventually he lost track of even that.
posted by NortonDC at 1:15 PM on December 14, 2001


Skallas is crazy.
posted by sylloge at 4:21 PM on December 14, 2001


No, he's not.
posted by Optamystic at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2001


The only thing that had kept it vaguely excusable was the distinction between Israeli and Jew, and eventually he lost track of even that.

That's a much more eloquent way of stating the point I was trying to make. I think Jorn forfeited his right to be treated kindly when he revealed his blatant anti-semitism.

That's not to negate that he is/was hugely influential in the world of weblogs very early on. Just a relevant criticism of why perhaps he hasn't been able to make a proofitable attempt with his ads on Robot Wisdom.
posted by anildash at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2001


Well, holy hell. I had no idea there was this swirling cloud of nastiness around the site. I just thought it was another weblog.

*Notes to self to dig a little deeper next time he links someone...*

I wonder how many people came away from my blogs thinking I agree with Jorn's politics as a result of my linking to him. I mean, I link to SDB too, but I made a note of pointing out how much I disagree with his politics! (*grin*).

This fascinates me. But I do feel a little dumb now. What else is new...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:43 PM on December 14, 2001


On a serious note (for just a second): those who will defend Israel no matter what will always be able to say that those who are critical of Israel are anti-semites, just like those who criticize Israel no matter what will always be able to say that the defenders label anything critical of Israeli policy anti-semetic. It's a great way to not listen to each other and (a small scale version of) the same dynamic which causes the violence in the first place.

Skallas, if Jorn had instead said something like "Is Islam simply a religion of lawless racists?" (say, on September 12) I really doubt you would have ever listened to anything he ever said after that. Whether or not the Israeli government/military was doing things that deserved condemnation, it's simply not OK to blame it on "the Jews" for exactly the same reason it's not OK to take an Ann Coulter stance. (And for the same reason I'd assume you don't feel a lot of responsibility for the things that Kissinger did.)

There are a lot of people who just will lot be able to hear past "them jews are really runnin' things"-type talk (and for good reason, since it correlates almost perfectly with straightforward anti-semitism) so if there is some other (i.e., not based in irrational hatred) reason why Jorn would want to express something which sounds a hell of a lot like that, he has to be sensitive and careful in how he says it (journalists reporting on, say, crime statistics having to do with black males generally manage to avoid using the word "nigger").

But he sure seems smart enough to understand that, and since he nevertheless writes the way he does, it makes me (and others, obviously) think that there actually is some racism/conspiracy theory stuff going on, and not just criticism of Israel.
posted by sylloge at 12:27 AM on December 15, 2001


Skallas, if Jorn had instead said something like "Is Islam simply a religion of lawless racists?" (say, on September 12) I really doubt you would have ever listened to anything he ever said after that.


Jorn's been at this a long time I'm not exactly a Robot Wisdom expert or everyday reader. What I am familiar with was his divest in Israel campaign and remember some decent articles on the subject. Don't confuse me with someone who enjoys sweeping generalizations about race. Nor do I like the suggestion that I would have been more sensitive to Islamic generalizations.


posted by skallas at 1:58 AM on December 15, 2001


Ok, as an Israeli (and a jew, pretty obvious), I'd like to mention that robot-wisdom is considered a racist, anti-semite site, which many Israeli sites have called to ban a few months back. I understand whatever criticism the outside world may have on us, though I don't believe you know enough to criticize us, since the media obviously doesn't show the whole picture, but there ARE WAYS of showing criticism, and what jorn has been doing is showing HATE.
posted by martz at 7:37 AM on December 15, 2001


Ok, as an Israeli (and a jew, pretty obvious), I'd like to mention that robot-wisdom is considered a racist, anti-semite site, which many Israeli sites have called to ban a few months back.

It's fine to say that sites are hateful, etc... But to ban them because you find them as such is at the least annoying, and at the most an indirect statement that your positions can't stand up to criticism... People are to willing to punish anything as hateful, rather than to point out its fallacies.
posted by drezdn at 9:33 AM on December 15, 2001


I read Robot Wisdom occasionally because Jorn finds some damn fine links sometimes. I just ignore the anti-Semitic stuff, since it's not very interesting. I mean, I'm just reading his blog, not initiating a close personal relationship with the man. I take away what I find useful and discard the rest.
posted by kindall at 10:17 AM on December 15, 2001


Dear Jorn: I've compiled a list of employment agencies and other opportunities for you to consider, which might help you out of your dire financial straits. Good luck!

Jewish Employment and Vocational Service, Philadelphia, PA.
JewishGlobe.com's Employment Search Engine
Jewish Vocation Services, San Francisco, CA.
Jewish Sheltered Employment Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.
International Association of Jewish Vocational Services

posted by crunchland at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2001


Less important than his abhorrent opinions on Jews (among whom are people I love), the first reason I don't like Jorn is because when I started my site in the first half of 1999, I sent him a polite email asking him to consider adding a link to it. The response I got accused me of being an "asshole spammer"—even though I sent him just one message, directly to him and no-one else, directly from me, with a legitimate personal and non-commercial message, in a casual and polite tone. In turn, I responded by telling him to go fuck himself, and I still feel that way.

That doesn't even get into what I consider the problems with his site, though they are lesser: no discretion when posting links, no indication of the date when the links are posted, insufficient description of the links, a level of self-involvement most of us outgrow before we reach age 5, his name in huge letters at the top of the page for years (although I see that's changed since I last renewed my bile by visiting the site), unecessary and pretentious abbreviations ("Yhoo", "Drdg"), a monomaniac's attachment to certain subjects (but a poor mastery of them), literary pretention barely reaching the scholarly level of high school, etc., etc.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:11 PM on December 15, 2001


Mo Nickels - was the site you asked for a link to commercial?
posted by NortonDC at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2001


No.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:00 AM on December 16, 2001


Martz, you said:

"I understand whatever criticism the outside world may have on us, though I don't believe you know enough to criticize us." I would humbly submit that you really don't understand criticism.

I'm with kindall on the robot-wisdom thing. I always just tended to skip over the links Jorn put up regarding Israel. I found a lot of the other stuff there to be a treasure trove in expanding my knowledge.


posted by MAYORBOB at 6:14 AM on December 16, 2001


I used to read Robot Wisdom pretty regularly a few years ago when Jorn actually posted more than a one-liner for most of his links. As time went on, it became more and more a long list o' links and I kind of tuned out. Sounds like, based on the comments in this thread, the site degenerated in more than one way.
posted by nstop at 11:39 AM on December 16, 2001


What rebeccablood said. Seems to me that Jorn has some mental health issues in general. That's not an excuse for (what seems to me to be) racist vitriol, but a little compassion goes a long way, 'k?
posted by sennoma at 12:04 AM on December 17, 2001


unecessary and pretentious abbreviations ("Yhoo", "Drdg"),

I believe those are abbreviated so they will fit in his browser window on one line. Jorn obviously uses his own page as a "personal portal" for his surfing. In the words of Kosh, "They are not for you."

Not to excuse his rudeness, of course. I just read his page, and have never had any interaction with him.
posted by kindall at 7:42 AM on December 17, 2001


I've had a couple of email encounters with Jorn, too. Not the most pleasant guy, especially when I was offering to help him out when he briefly considered making his web banner more interesting.

Jorn's definitely an opinionated guy. And his page fit a niche for a brief amount of time. At one point, his site was a bona fide news source for a lot of people. If nothing else, its decline is an interesting case of obvious media bias.
posted by crunchland at 8:48 AM on December 17, 2001


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