Tuesday, November 28, 2006

JBlogger Interview: SerandEZ

And now, the interview you have all been waiting for! I was granted special permission to interview with SerandEZ. In case you missed my last interview it was with Jblogger of many great Jblogs, Life-of-Rubin. Sit back and relax it is going to be great ride:

JBM: What motivated you into entering politics?

SerandEZ:I’d have to say a combination of things. I was sick and tired of hearing my father listen to Rush Limbaugh, who (IMO) had a lot of good things to say coupled with a number of stupid ones; I really liked economics, and was interested in how the different parties approached it. Most of all, though, was my mother’s getting me into reading the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto’s column called Best of the Web back in 2000. That, coupled with the beginning of the intifada in Israel, reading two terribly slanted papers throughout high school (’97-’01: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune), and my eventual spending of two years in Israel where politics is life, even during war, basically all drew me deeper and deeper into understanding politics. Trying to pinpoint exactly when I got the most interested, it was probably during the Republican primaries, when our government teacher had us watch the old Nixon-Kennedy debate, and then had us watch Bush-McCain-Keyes.

JBM:How did you meet your wife?

SernadEZ:For that, you’ll have to catch up on the How I Met Serach series on my blog.

JBM:What do you find the most difficult part of blogging?

SerandEZ:Good question. I’d have to say it’s one of two things: Putting out new material every day can be tiring. Now, obviously, I don’t have to put out new material every day – but because I now have advertisers, and there is a nice amount of people who do take the time to visit on a regular basis, I feel as if I owe it to them (if it doesn’t inconvenience me) to put out new material. More frustrating, though, is watching people really denigrate others and each other, particularly during debates within comments sections. We all can get a little heated sometimes, and that’s understandable, but some bloggers – and more often, commenters who don’t seem to have blogs of their own – seem to get a kick out of trying to put other people down. I don’t understand why people can’t have reasonable discussions on the subject without resorting to petty name-calling and bashing. Worse still, I’ve found myself say things that weren’t all that great, though I don’t think I’ve said more than a couple of things that were *way* out of line (and I apologized to the people privately for those).

JBM:Which blogger do you envy the most and why?

SerandEZ:Heh. That’s an interesting question… I don’t really have blogger envy. My blog isn’t like most blogs: It’s not a personal blog, it’s not a big “punditry” blog, I don’t have a specific area of “expertise” or focus. I envy the ability of some bloggers to really bring a story to life (David Bogner of Treppenwitz), the ability of others to bring out the incredible humor of a funny story (Mark/PsychoToddler, Renegade Rebbetzin and Jameel @ the Muqata), the creativity of others (Kasamba, Fudge), the sharp/well-written analysis of a current event (Orthomom), the ability to really touch a person (Shoshana of SweetRose), the ability to find holes in a piece (SoccerDad), the amazing breadth of knowledge (CharlieHall, R’ Gil Student of Hirhurim, S. of On The Main Line, Chana of Curious Jew) … I just named the talents of the first few bloggers that came to mind. Every blogger has their own talents, their own style, their own way of putting that out there. I’d love to have all those talents, but even though I say I envy those, that’s not really true. They’re them, I’m me, and that’s what makes our blogs what they are.

JBM:What sport are you best at?

SerandEZ: Football. By a long shot. It’s a thinking man’s game… JBM

JBM:How did your blog become so popular?

SerandEZ:My blog is popular? Cool! I really don’t know, honestly. It was a combination of things, I think, though my readers would probably be able to tell you better why they come. I had a piece that was put in the Wall Street Journal just after I entered the J-blogosphere. That probably caught the attention of some people. A big factor was probably my linking to other people’s pieces – at first, most of my readers were people who weren’t bloggers themselves, so I would point them to some posts that I thought were really good. A lot of people told me that they really enjoyed these “roundups”, and other bloggers probably started coming simply because of the traffic that was coming to them from my blog. Once they were there, they started reading my own posts. I guess they liked it enough to keep coming back. I also think that people enjoyed the discussions on my blog, which tend to stay very civil and simple; they saw me commenting on their blogs, and developed a “blog relationship” if you will; and of course, the fact that I started actually meeting a lot of them helped, because then they could actually feel like they knew me.

I know this answer is already too long, but I do remember that there were a couple of incidents in particular that drew people over: Gil Student listing me in his “Blogs a Rabbi should read”, and a couple of discussions about why people choose to – after becoming religious – turn around and leave Judaism.

A simpler answer could simply be that people feel comfortable on my blog. I’m not a real intellectual, I’m not hilariously funny on the blog, I’m not really anything specific. I’m just a regular, nice guy, and people are regular, nice people, so they like that.

JBM:What do you love/hate the most about being a Jblogger ?

SerandEZ: Hmm. The hate I think I covered above. What I love is basically covered in a post I wrote and then published in my school’s paper, Welcome to the J-Blogosphere. It’s great to see that there are people out there who really care – good people – and are trying to affect change and work on the problems that modern-day Judaism faces. It’s great to see that people can (usually) have rational discussion about serious issues. It’s good that people feel comfortable discussing issues which all too often are shoved under the rug. It’s really good to see how people are (usually) brought together by blogs; BeyondBT’s Shabbaton was a great success, for example. And, of course, there’s the opportunity to meet a lot of very impressive, talented, nice people. I’ve met at this point probably about 60-75 bloggers (including about 25 who I knew from before or would have met otherwise). I’ve learned quite a bit from the J-blogosphere, whether from the bloggers themselves, what they write, or the discussions they start. And I’m a better person for it.

JBM:What is the craziest comment you ever received on your blog?

SerandEZ:Heh. I have no idea… I had a few loony comments and some hate mail when my WSJ article got published, so it could be those. It could be some hilarious comment by Jack making fun of Cleveland . I really don’t know. My commenters are usually pretty sane. :P

JBM:Where do you see this all taking 5-10-20 yrs down the line..will you ever stop?

SerandEZ:I can’t think that far ahead. If the day comes where blogging is no longer fun, and I don’t feel I’m gaining anything from it, I’ll probably quit. That probably won’t be anytime soon, though.


Shoshana said...

Wow, now I know a LOT about Serandez. How come there's no mention of everyone's favorite part of Serandez - pictures of Elianna?

Ezzie said...

Nobody asked! :)

Wait, you didn't know a lot before? :P

Chana said...

Fantastic post! Very informative and very interesting. Thanks so much for the mention!

Jack's Shack said...

Nice job.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Why Thank You Jack :)

MordyS said...

Where did you pick up those crazy guest posters?

Ezzie said...

Oh, good question!

Let's see. I've met just about all of them - I think Jameel is the only one left who I haven't met in person, but we speak plenty on the phone. Except, of course, for the lovely Sarah, who is Down Under and therefore kind of hard to meet.

Most of the guests are people I knew from before the blog; a number are bloggers I like - and trust - and therefore asked them to join. I invited MordyS for his ranting ability, Pobody for her writing skills and humor and what she brings to the table. Prof. Justice I brought for the RW-rants and for his legal expertise; SoccerDad for his ability to fisk an editorial; Shoshana for her perspectives on life in general; Sarah for something different; SIL to be the happy and pleasant poster, Holy Hyrax to be the comedic bitter man. Chana is there for the intelligence, clarity, and writing skills, DGEsq. for his strong opinions, RebAbe for the holiness, FFD for the meds and fun, and IPayTooMuchForMyHair for the co-worker stuff. Hmmm... maybe I'll make a post out of that sometime.

Jack's Shack said...

Haha. I have met Jameel in person.

muse said...

OK, even though, Ezzie didn't mention me,( or did I miss it?) I have to thank him for being the first blogger to encourage me to start KCC (Kosher Cooking Carnival) and he even guest-hosted in the early months.