Where are the Jewish weblogs?
Nu? So where are the Jewish weblogs? It's getting lonely out here!
If this subject is new to you, and if you want to find out more, let me recommend the new book that I picked up this week, Rebecca Blood's "The Weblog Handbook." It's more about the phenomenon than about anything technical, it's short, and so far, it's very worth reading.
When I moved the KlezmerShack main page to a weblog format, I thought that I had missed the trend by now, and that there would be lots of Jewish weblogs (none of which I was or am aware of yet, but I don't know so much that I'd rely on that) to which I could link and have them ping me back.
So far, this hasn't happened.
It reminds me of when the KlezmerShack was started. At the time, this site was known as "Ari Davidow's Klezmer Page". My name was part of the title because I knew that there would be thousands of Klezmer and Jewish music pages shortly, and I wanted people to have a way to differentiate mine. Almost a decade later, there are other klezmer pages of note--see the klezlinks page, but far fewer than I expected. And far fewer people are writing about Jewish music in general than I expected.
I wish I understood better why this is so. I suspect that I know, and am in denial. It is entirely likely that most Jews (let along the rest of the world) simply aren't interested in music that isn't part of popular culture. Adrienne Cooper and Michael Alpert and Laura Wetzler and Lauren Sklambert and Teresa Tova aren't competing well with Macy Gray or Britney Spears. That's too bad. In an age when we have the tools to make such an overwhelming diversity of music available, and to share the music and ideas and culture that it all represents, I am saddened that so few people care enough to do so.
Weblogs are easy, though. If you get one going, let me know so I can ping you, and certainly, so I can let others go. And if you have ideas about Jewish music, and Jewish culture--this is definitely an easy way to get them out to more people to see if they are shared, to get conversations going.
As I said. Weblogs are easy. So, march to the purveyors of the weblog software of your choice (most of which is free--blogger, blosxom, greymatter, moveable type), take some time to make what you write worth reading, and get it online already.
If this subject is new to you, and if you want to find out more, let me recommend the new book that I picked up this week, Rebecca Blood's "The Weblog Handbook." It's about what a weblog is, basic courtesy and etiquette. It's also short, delightful, and should get just about everyone interested in starting a good weblog. Highly recommended, if only to make my own existence, and that of other site readers, more fun.
I tend to think of a "weblog" as just about any website that has dated entries, and in which every entry (or most entries) include a link to another page--preferably a page on another website. There are other definitions. The KlezmerShack doesn't present a lot of active filtering or analysis, something which is typical of many weblogs (although I do some analysis, and hope that people read it when I do). Neither is it a journal in most senses--I take some care to leave most of my personal life offline. The main goal of the KlezmerShack is to make as much information about Jewish music, primarily non-religious Jewish music, and occasionally, generally non-religious or edge Jewish culture, available to as many people as possible, and preferably, in people's own words. It's a small enough area of interest that rather than filter, the challenge is to gather enough information such that people get a sense that things are happening! The KlezmerShack links to any website that looks interesting. I only encourage people to start weblogs because weblogs are fun. The important thing, though, is to put information and views that seem important to you, online, for sharing.
That brings me to the point of this weblog entry: Scoop Nisker*, on KSAN radio, back in San Francisco, California in the '60s, liked to claim that "if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own." I'm doing my best locally to make news. I'm asking everyone reading these pages to do the same. Revolution, or simply active community, loves company.
*I remembered that line as from Travis T. Hipp on KFAT, but have been corrected. 3/24/05. ari