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A Short Response to “My Last Post”

Image from multiplesandmore.com

Image from multiplesandmore.com

I have been a regular user of social media since 2010. After a period of time I began to post my political observations and my quotations on Facebook and Twitter (I had been in the habit of writing them down over many years) under the titles MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY or AND ANOTHER THOUGHT. Here are two recent examples.

AND ANOTHER THOUGHT

The Governments response to the MH17 plane disaster and their treatment of Asylum Seekers makes for an interesting comparison. In the first instance I detect an open compassion even though it has an eye on the camera. In the second a complete absence of any.

MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“Life is an experience of random often unidentifiable patterns and indiscriminate consequences that don’t always have order nor require explanation. The more we relate to others the more we get to know ourselves”.

Over a period of time I have built up a fairly large following of people from many walks of life both here and overseas. It is not unusual for me to get 100 responses to my posts.

I have spoken to some internationally on the phone and met for coffee with others in Melbourne. It would be fair to say that some have become close friends.

Gradually I started to expand on my political commentary and wrote a rather lengthy piece on Tony Abbott. It was first seen by respected journalist Alan Austin who encouraged me to write some more saying I should write a blog. A foreign word for me at the time. Then I had a message from Michael Taylor asking me to confirm that I had written the article and requesting that he publish it on his blog. He added a few extra facts to it and low and behold it went through the roof with 10,000 reads.

Overnight I became a blogger. That was in December 2012. Since that time I have published approximately 120 articles on many subjects together with my short stories and poetry.

I had joined the team at THE AIMN. I thought I had better educate myself as to what blogging was all about so I read some articles by Michael and a book titled “The Rise of the Fifth Estate” by Greg Jericho. “Café Whispers” gets a mention.

I looked at different blogs and realised the potential of the medium. The quality of the writing, and I was impressed by its capacity to give voice to people who really had something to say and who otherwise would not be heard.

What a joy it has been to write for THE AIMN. An online blog that is now ranked third in Australia of the independent blogs of its category. It is now approaching 5 million reads in a bit over 18months. Personally I think I am approaching 400,000 but other writers enjoy higher readership.

In some ways it reminds me of an old fashioned Sunday lunch where the whole family gets together for a roast. Many subjects are discussed and different views digested. They are not palatable to some and others suffer indigestion but we all come back again to see whats on the menu. And our appetites are never filled.

Since I joined, additional writers have been added, its appearance has been enhanced and technological changes have taken place. New updates in technology, content and functionality are planned (so I’m told). For me it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I had to convert from a creative writer of short stories to a writer of some journalist merit. A fusion of both has been inevitable. It was here that my grammar was found wanting somewhat. The barrage of criticism early on took me by surprise and at first I didn’t react so well. People’s ability to go of topic, or change its course, also staggered me at times.

Often disappointment would consume me when I thought I had written something worthwhile only to find little interest. Conversely I would write a crappy piece and it would go through the roof.

But what makes this blog the success that it is, is not its appearance, or its quality writers, or indeed the formidable amount of work the administrators do.

Its achievement can be measured by its followers who are many. They have the capacity to critic with reason, sometimes wit, and with expansion of argument at times that uplifts articles beyond their initial intention. We might argue, debate and disagree but it usually is well mannered discourse. Mind you I don’t see the comments that go to the trash bin.

This all brings me to the responses I had to my piece “My Last Post”. At the time of writing there have been 104 comments. I didn’t think people would take the title seriously. I was hoping to just have some form of discussion on the importance of grammar. Well I certainly got one and how enlightened it was. I learnt much from it. However, what it did empathise was the esteem in which people held me. How much they appreciated my work. So to all those who encouraged me to continue with my writing let me say thank you. I am far from perfect but I am determined. This blog and its followers makes it all worthwhile.

To Dan Rowden who made the one derogatory comment out of the 104 posted:

“John writes to a commendably good standard given his autodidactic history, but he also needs to accept that he’ll be subject to criticism given his considerable egotistical attachment to his identity as a scribe. It’s the territory”.
I would say this:

“Dan. I simply try to do my best. What I write I write in good faith. Your assumptions about my personality are completely off the mark and I am surprised at your presumption. But as you say “it’s the territory””.

A special thanks to Tim Jones the co founder of MARCH IN MARCH. A linguist who advances my love of language every day.

 46 total views,  4 views today

51 comments

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  1. DanDark

    John, you and all at AIMN provide a free service to many many folks
    Its a great site, the trolls shit me, but hey that’s life
    The arm chair critics shit me, but they are everywhere
    I always love to read what you have written,
    Wisdom is displayed in many ways, and you are a wise man John
    Occasionally the lack of respect for the writers is appalling
    and the personal attacks not needed, but like I always say
    We are humans, some are just more evolved than others 🙂
    And Thanks to Michael as he keeps it all rolling…..

  2. juliefarthing

    Hi, I am very glad I came upon this blog site as I have completely given up on mainstream media. I am not sure how it came to me in the first instance. I enjoy the conversations and I tend to just ignore the trolls (though sometimes this is painfully hard to do).
    I am also a writer on career and employment issues and would be more than happy to contribute my thoughts – my blog is found at julie-farthings-career-report.blogspot.com. It sometimes has a political bent, but often I want to be more uplifting than I can be if I focus on today’s political regime, so I tend to hover between the two.
    If you would like me to post here, just let me know and I will be glad to do so.

  3. staffordhall

    John, If there is one thing I would hate to miss, its your writing. You and a few others keep us sane in the sea of fascist bullshit. Keep it up! Cheers!

  4. John Ward

    John, I would like to read your response to this desperate policy and your opinion of the leaders who could decide such things.

  5. Keitha Granville

    I am another who is so grateful to the writers on AIMN for sanity in this land of nonsense. I get so angry reading mainstream press that my husband begs me not to read them and upset myself. At least I know that here I will find measured and reasoned arguments, beautiful pieces of prose and often a jolly good laugh. It’s easy to ignore the trolls, I just feel sorry for them. You can’t be cross with someone you pity. Keep it up John, you and the other writers of AIMN are keeping us going in these dark times.

  6. Dennis

    Yes thank you John, i have not watched or listened to TV or newspapers for a long time, from 2009 i have been watching the web and i have found a great deal of nice unselfish honest and very thoughtful and wise writers, who would never have had a voice, it gives a sense of belonging to a better society. The education available on YouTube is astounding, i have learnt so much, and now learning and succeeding in Mathematics, what a world, the science the philosophy, Its like growing up again. My grammar is not good but am trying to do better,
    am self taught with a lot of things. Yes through the Web i have found a lot of exciting and wonderful people like yourself and all at the AIM Network, and so many others, it makes for a lot less sleep though, no problem there. I also wonder about Dan, but can not make any criticism, it is easy to read into peoples posts weather they are honest and sincere, or spinning. Dont know if that is a word or not for talking spin, the IPA are wonderful at it, although not clever,more deceitful really.

    Dennis

  7. John Lord

    John Ward. What are you referring to.

  8. Kaye Lee

    John,

    You know how much I appreciate your artistic use of language, far more important than grammar.

    I cannot however agree with your reaction to Dan’s comment. He criticises us all at times, often stridently. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes not, but he is always willing to explain his criticism. He questions everything. He doesn’t just nitpick, he also makes very interesting informed comments.

    By blogging, we open ourselves up to criticism and should take on board the relevant and reject the irrelevant. How far you wish to defend your case is up to the individual but I don’t view the comments here as attacks. That is one of the wonderful things about this site.

    You have proven literary credentials and a huge group of followers that should give you the confidence to not question your ability. I look forward to your next contribution.

  9. juliefarthing

    I agree Kaye, criticism is good as it means people are reading. I wish more people would read and criticise my blog!

  10. Maree Elizabeth

    you do a great Job John…. but when will you share to the masses that the silent hand of government in AU is the WEU? straight up no fancy stuff … plain and simple…and wabbott is a gimp just like shorten will be if elected.

  11. Anomander

    Perhaps those who criticise should try submitting their own posts rather than just making cheap shots.

    Keep-up the great work John, your voice is much wanted and appreciated.

  12. John Lord

    Anomander. Dan used to write but hasn’t
    done so for some time. When he did I found it refreshingly good.

  13. Garth

    John, your work, like many on AIMN brightens my day and inspires me to be more involved in my own community. No one is perfect but the ability to touch a part of someone’s psyche that they didn’t recognise existed is a gift in itself. You, and your work, are appreciated. Thank you.

  14. Roswell

    John, I think Dan was a bit harsh on you. He gave you his opinion, which was basically this: “In my opinion I don’t like you expressing your opinion”.

  15. randalstella

    John,
    The other night a friend brought up the topic of perspective.

    We discussed this predicament, thankful it is not our own. This sort of scenario very rarely gets any publicity. What gets publicity blocks it.

    A prisoner is having great difficulty getting parole, because he refuses to ‘confess’ to a crime he did not commit. .
    He fell upon police committing this crime. He was bashed, verballed, framed, and perjured against; to receive a hefty jail term – for ‘showing no remorse’.
    While his letters to various authorities need infinite discretion in detailing his innocence, the police can continue to make false and entirely unsubstantiated allegations about his involvement in other crimes.
    (His grammar, by the way, is immaculate.)
    A sense of perspective sees him through. He will be released, to some sort of life. He had met another prisoner who had maintained his innocence until his death behind bars.

    John, I am sure that if society had your values it would be much fairer and kinder. It would not be pathological.
    And it is clearly quite upsetting to you to be stirred like a cold cup of tea. Looking forward to you finding another topic. A warmer brew.
    What the other worthy does is of course up to him.
    Too many people do not have such idle choices.

  16. Kaye Makovec

    I like reading here and have told some friends about it, including a couple who I am teaching to use computers as an easy way to participate in online discussions, even if they are uncomfortable at giving an opinion online in case it is criticised.
    There is nothing like criticism to stop a person giving an opinion as we may say we don’t mind it but deep down we really do, well some of us do anyway 🙂
    I have also passed on links to here in other places, some of which blocked me as a consequence 🙂 but that’s OK, plenty more out there 🙂
    So be assured that not everybody will reply but many will read.

  17. Kaye Lee

    It is interesting to see which articles create the greatest interest. By far the most popular has been Victoria’s article about Frances Abbott’s scholarship with almost 430,000 views. It tends to indicate that people are more interested in a whiff of scandal than inspired prose, philosophical discussion, history, in-depth analysis or policy evaluation.

  18. juliefarthing

    Really? The depth of people amazes me. Although I can understand why people would be outraged when there is so much talk of increases in education costs, the unfairness of Frances Abbott being given a free ride is pretty blinding.

  19. Dan Rowden

    To Dan Rowden who made the one derogatory comment out of the 104 posted:

    You find the truth derogatory, John? Fair enough.

    Btw, your brain is currently converting any word that begins with “em” into something derivative of “empathy”. It happened in the last piece as well. Understandable, really, in the face of the current obsession with the word “empathy”, which is often being used inappropriately; then, the meaning of words doesn’t matter any more, apparently …

    However, what it did empathise was the esteem in which people held me.

  20. Don Winther

    John your articles and comments are greatly appreciated and respected by me as are all the posts and comments on this site ( 99.9% of the time ). Abbott was extremely critical of Julia Gillard but now has shown us he has very little to offer.
    I have never felt any need to criticize your work and enjoy every word. Thanks.

  21. stephengb2014

    I have found that AIMN has been the most beneficial media outlet for me. I have no education to speak of and have learnt so much from the articles and views expressed by writers like John Lord, Kaye lea, and Victoria and of course the most clever of saterists Rossliegh.

    I am sorry if my grammar is not up to the standard of some the readers on this site but actually I do not care.

    Well done all of you

    regards
    Stephen G B

  22. John Lord

    Dan I wonder. Do you speak to people in the same manner face to face. The answer is very simple. Don’t read my stuff and you won’t have to insult me.

    Often I find the aloofness of your commentary toward me and others borders on a form of superiority complex.

  23. Helen

    Thanks for your article John. I look forward to and read AIMN every day, and of course share with family and friends…some of whom now receive it direct. I too struggle with grammar…having left school early – many decades ago…but as with stephengb2014, I don’t care if it upsets the grammar police. Please keep writing and posting. To all the admin and writers on AIMN…keep up the excellent work. It is articles on sites like this that help keep us informed and interested in what is going on around us. And…strange but feels like we get to know you. 🙂

  24. patriciawa

    Glad you picked John up on empathy, Dan! I think he meant emphasize and not empathize towards the end there. I don’t care if he uses an ‘s’ or a ‘z’ in those spellings.

    I often itch to correct spelling and grammar on my favorite blogs. but I care more about the message, albeit I think we do have a responsibility to maintain, even llft, standards of literacy amongst our fellow travellers.

    e.g I wasn’t sure somehere back there if John’s was a typo when he should have written talking about his bent or leaning in politics.

    Shouldn’t we all draw our own conclusions on this sort of thing? Or do we try to hold a thin red line of old school grammarians? What does our blogmaster prefer?

  25. Garth

    I really don’t understand Dan’s position. I mostly find Dan’s comments thoughtful and insightful (as I do with Johns’). I just don’t understand the antagonism toward John. Is there something in your guys history that I just don’t know??

  26. Don Winther

    My wife can spell every word in the dictionary and writes a lovely letter.
    I loaded up the washing machine the other day and went out, she was reading a novel and stayed home. A hose burst and started flooding the laundry so she shut the door and rang me. I told her to turn the water off she said how? By the time I got back home there was water running out the front door. I ran to the meter and turned the supply tap off. I showed her what to do next time……. nicely. Then we cleaned up, had a cup of tea then I replaced the hoses.
    I can’t spell emperthy but I know what it means even when it is spelt incorrectly.

  27. John Lord

    Not that I know of Garth

  28. John Lord

    My wife can’t stop laughing Don.

  29. darrel nay

    John Lord you are a legend.

    Your recent story titled Petal, was one of the most beautiful works created – it was brilliant.

    It is a sad reality of our time that success emboldens criticism – Australians have long been said to suffer from tall-poppy syndrome.

    It is universally accepted that over a million innocent lives have been taken in Iraq and senseless wars rage around the globe. Surely we cannot afford to be focused on one man’s use of grammar.

    Keep up the illumination mate.

  30. Don Winther

    Good on ya John, it was time for a laugh 🙂

    The important thing is to save our country.

  31. jimhaz

    Garth wrote,

    [I really don’t understand Dan’s position]

    I do. Was considering saying something similar, until I saw that Dan had already commented on this in the offhand but concise way he can do.

    I’ve newly arrived to this forum and first impressions do count. For these two articles I was interested in the discussions about grammar and some historical content, but not what I made an assumption of being motivation for the articles.

    Sorry John, but your article portrait image does not help. It gives me a mental image association of a stunned pompous priest [says the bloke whose equivalent would look like a yobbo].

    Now, though I’m being negative here, I’m certainly not asking for anything to change – there is no drama or issue whatsoever. It is just a comment confirming that yes, you, and all writers will be judged, rightly and wrongly, by certain readers who attempt to read between the lines. With forums you have to build a tolerance to personal negativity. It can take a few years.

    [I just don’t understand the antagonism toward John]

    It isn’t antagonism. It is indifference to his emotional needs.

  32. jimhaz

    Well that was the unfriendly post.

    Here is a more friendly one.

    Worth watching. Laurie and Fry

  33. Anne Byam

    Well done John, and thank you for a peek into your private world, thoughts, writings, political leanings and your objectives. Takes a brave person to do that. The posts on the original subject were fascinating – even if they did get off the rails at times. Personally, I have not found Dan’s comments objectionable, but then – that’s just me. I tend to take it as it comes – and reply only to bits here and there.

    This is, however, not about me or any other commenters on this blog. It is about you, your appeal to many, and your excellent writings on a variety of subjects. Would really like to see you continue ( which I rather thing you just might !! ).

  34. Dan Rowden

    John,

    Dan I wonder. Do you speak to people in the same manner face to face.

    Yes, in fact I do. I have not said a single thing that I would not say to a person’s face. You, on the other hand ….

  35. John Lord

    Dan I will leave it to others to judge your last remark. I don’t apologise that my writing doesn’t meet your expectations. I can only repeat. If you don’t think it is up to your standard then don’t read it.If you want to be critical go after the content and not the man. May tomorrow be rewarding for you.

  36. Dan Rowden

    John,

    Tell me, honestly, you’d tell our Prime Minister, to his face, that he’s a psychopath? Would you?

  37. Garth

    Jimhaz, for a topic that is along the lines as this one perhaps I didn’t express myself well. I may be off the mark (as the written word can often be misinterpreted) but Dan’s comments just seem snarky (I know it’s not a word but it conveys the meaning, I hope). One of the reasons I frequent AIMN is because it often gives me a perspective on issues I hadn’t considered, and I get to participate in the debate thereafter. I honestly don’t understand the utility in bagging someone over the quality of their written word when the meaning is clear. I too, find it annoying when reading something that isn’t word perfect but I have to say AIMN’s quality is much better now than most of the online news sites. My main point is, why be snarky about it? Give your feedback.. Sure… But do it in a respectful and constructive way (just as I’m sure most of us would want from others). I just have to say again that I really enjoy Dan’s comments (in the main), which was why I found his comments to John so perplexing. I hope i’ve expressed why.

  38. Garth

    Btw, Jimhaz, looooove Fry and Laurie. Thanks for the clip. It inspired me to get the DVDs out and it was a perfect end to the day 🙂

  39. Anne Byam

    @ jimhaz …. skipping straight to your friendly post … I found that video so very funny, and not too far off the mark, if one can take a lighthearted look at language ( in its infinite forms ). Mind you, being a huge fan of Stephen Fry helped somewhat as well !! Thanks for embedding ( I think that’s what it’s called ?? ) the clip …

  40. John Lord

    Dan. My answer to your last question is NO. I should think that with my public speaking skills, my diplomacy, wit and whatever else I needed I could do much better.
    Having said that I wont add anymore. Please feel free to rip into my next piece as is your want, or need, but please don’t personalise things.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I am hesitant to buy into this but here goes…..

    I think it perhaps a little unfair to say “Please feel free to rip into my next piece as is your want, or need, but please don’t personalise things.” when you had just said “Often I find the aloofness of your commentary toward me and others borders on a form of superiority complex.”

    The previous article was a discussion on the importance of grammar, but it was also a personal snapshot of your journey as an author John, as is this post. You have welcomed the personal praise but are offended by what you perceive to be personal criticism.

    You are an artist John and you are rightly proud of the art you produce. But as with all art, it is in the eye of the beholder. While the total effect may be pleasing critics will comment on the minutiae as they dissect the method or the motivation of the artist. This is a different exercise and should not detract from the overall.

    I actually find criticism easier to deal with than praise which embarrasses me because I am not producing original works of art. I do however get very defensive when my greatest creations – my children – are criticised.

  42. John Lord

    Kaye. I will give your comments consideration and do some self analysis. It well may be that personality types like me shouldn’t write on blogs. Greg Jericho in his book “The Rise of The Fifth Estate” States that the most successful bloggers never comment on their own work.Maybe that’s like art. You let the work stand on its own merit.

  43. Kaye Lee

    It would be a great disservice if you stopped blogging and I prefer it when you comment. It makes it easier to develop ideas. And please don’t overanalyse anything I have said and certainly not yourself. I, like so many others, enjoy your work. My comments are to try to reassure you that, while criticism will come, it should not deter you.

    I find the idea that “successful bloggers” don’t comment on their own work somewhat strange. I don’t understand it. Isn’t the idea to promote discussion?

    I had an uncle who would say the most outrageous things at family get-togethers and then sit back watching the mayhem that ensued. I thought it was gutless personally.

  44. Michael Taylor

    I feel obliged to put in my two bob’s worth.

    We are all amateurs. We are passionate about our work and we try our best. We do make mistakes. We don’t like to, but when we do make them we like to learn from them – which we can only do from the feedback (or criticism) these mistakes attract.

    We have editors who make every effort to correct obvious errors as soon as an article is published. Sometimes though, the editors – for whatever reason – can’t be on hand at every given moment. I hope I’m not coming across as someone offering excuses. It’s definitely not my intent.

    If I had a choice between an author whose opinions are worthy of an audience and an author whose work was grammatically excellent – but whose articles were not up to standard – I’d take the former any day. I believe that 99% of our readers feel the same way. It must be working; the traffic this site receives is testament to that.

    John was ‘only’ a million out as far as the number of visitors this site has received since its inception. In our first year we had 1.95 million readers. We are only 6 months into our second year and we are on the verge of welcoming visitor number 5 million. This year we are on target to reach 4 million readers, which is double from the previous year.

    Quite often our articles attract more comments on Facebook and Reddit than they do here. I’m yet to see grammar Nazis on those other sites. The readers there seem to be more interested in the articles, which is obviously the reason for our existence.

    Some people might rightly argue that if we want to put material in the public domain then we should make every effort to ensure that that material is of the best grammatical standard. We respect that opinion. Like I said earlier, we appreciate feedback and we hope to learn from it.

  45. John Lord

    Haven’t walked that far for awhile. The dogs stuffed.

  46. Dennis Bauer

    Dan and John, I congratulate you both, how can I put this, thank you for talking sensibly to each other, and not getting into some sort of depraved slanging match as so often happens, I find it now this is one of the few places I can read comments without feeling I have been covered in dirt and filth.
    gee wiz, I didn’t need the spell check that time, must be getting better, although there is no grammar check, I think I got that sentence wrong. hi hi.
    Dennis

  47. darrel nay

    Happy Days,

    Grammar and appearances are merely superficial aspects of the great animating contest which is life.

    I just read at infowars.com that Ian McDonald (Liberal senator), the head of ASIO and an NSA lawyer are arguing, in a senate inquiry, to introduce a tax on internet usage to pay for a program to spy on Australians. McDonald claims that he would prefer to give up his privacy rather than be killed – I would say that if Mr McDonald doesn’t value his privacy then that is his choice but he has no mandate to devalue the privacy of innocent Australians. For their part, ASIO say that privacy is already dead although I guess they still intend to operate in secret – typical statist double standard. The NSA should go back to America and mind their own business. The NSA is a disgrace and they have no morals – many whistle blowers have pointed out that the NSA wants to have authoritarian powers which disrespect common human values. In my opinion spying is a sickness of the mind and all of the spy agencies should be shut down so they can get real jobs.

    Peace and Freedom

  48. stephentardrew

    Still watching when possible. Just too busy. Great response Micheal. Appreciate you all for keeping the brain on an even keel. This LNP mob are giving me seriously huge head wobbles and mind boggles.
    You guys are my favorite.
    Johno keep up the excellent prose. Dan nothing like a good cut a slice. All in a days fun.
    Regards to all.

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