Friday, January 4, 2013

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword: Write a Guest Post for Bieganski the Blog

The Letter. Haynes King. Source: Wikipedia 
I received a communication recently from an occasional blog reader who is troubled by what he assesses as "tribal" content of some of the comments in the comments section of the blog. I would use the word "chauvinist" rather than "tribal" to characterize these comments.

I responded to this gentleman thus:

Comments to the blog are moderated, if imperfectly. I am only human and I maintain the blog in my spare time. I gain no income and certainly no glory thereby.

Comment moderation criteria can be found here.

I try not to exclude comments on the basis of their substance. I have posted comments with which I disagree. I strongly disagree with the commentators who argue for the rehabilitation of Roman Dmowski, an early 20th century anti-Semite and Social Darwinist whose Endek followers were notorious for beating Jews.

Similarly, I strongly disagree with commentators who insist that Poles are the world's worst anti-Semites. One can find those comments, as well.

I believe in Free Speech. I believe that Free Speech is an essential ingredient of civilization. I believe that attempting to divide people up into the good, who are allowed to speak, and the bad, who are not allowed to speak, causes trouble.

The reader protesting "tribal" comments protested their "them-against-us" character. I agree. I don't think that "us-against-them" thinking gets us anywhere. Thus, I decline to do that kind of dividing up myself.

"Jaw jaw is better than war war," said Winston Churchill. It is better to talk about things than to fight about things. I think if we talk, we help to prevent fighting.

I invite my disgruntled blog reader, not to stand on the sidelines and take potshots at my efforts here, but, rather, to contribute to my efforts here.

It's funny – when I ask some to contribute to the blog, they say, "I have no time." I received a cancer diagnosis recently. I know how little time we all have. I am using my limited time to do this work.

So, disgruntled blog reader, step up to the plate.

Respond to the "tribal" posters with whom you disagree. Don't demonize them. Don't marginalize them. Don't ostracize them. Demonizing, marginalizing, and ostracizing unhappy people just creates more trouble.

Address them with respect. Take on their stated positions with logic and courtesy. Show them why they are incorrect. Show them how it does not best serve Polonia to adopt chauvinist stances. Show them how much damage we do to our community, and to our own souls, when we adopt chauvinism. Show them what better strategy you have to offer them. Show them better ways to achieve the goal we all desire – the elimination of the Brute Polak Stereotype.


That – bringing them around to your point of view – would be your victory.

Julia Swartz Letter Writer. Source


  1. To use this often-buzzword vocabulary, there is a world of difference between the chauvinism and tribalism of the aggressor, and the "chauvinism" and "tribalism" of the defender.

    Considering the depth and breadth of Polonophobia in all its malice, as so lucidly described in your book, Bieganski, and furthermore considering the excessive docility of most Poles, perhaps some "chauvinism" and "tribalism" are in order.

    Sorry to hear about your cancer. It also occurred in my family lineage. You are not alone. I have prayed for you.

    1. Jan Peczkis, we continue to disagree about some things, but I very much appreciate your prayers! Thank you.

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  5. I just posted a series of comments, subsequently deleted. These comments are valuable and deserve more attention. I plan to repost them as a stand alone blog post. God willing, that will occur tomorrow morning. Thank you for your patience and please watch this space for the new blog post by a guest commentator!


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
This blog welcomes comments from readers that address those themes. Off-topic and anti-Semitic posts are likely to be deleted.
Your comment is more likely to be posted if:
Your comment includes a real first and last name.
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Your comment uses I-statements rather than You-statements.
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Your comment includes readily verifiable factual material, rather than speculation that veers wildly away from established facts.
T'he full meaning of your comment is clear to the comment moderator the first time he or she glances over it.
You comment is less likely to be posted if:
You do not include a first and last name.
Your comment is not in Standard English, with enough errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar to make the comment's meaning difficult to discern.
Your comment includes ad hominem statements, or You-statements.
You have previously posted, or attempted to post, in an inappropriate manner.
You keep repeating the same things over and over and over again.