Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Internet has given the word “comments” new meaning. “Comments” are giving this blog new meaning.

As anyone can see (below), anyone is free to post anything on “Son of the Cucumber King.” Most blogsites screen comments before they post them. Unlike them, I don’t force people to check off a loyalty-oath box or copy an infernal, sometimes unreadable combination of five twisted letters and numbers—“to prove you're human,” they explain. Subsequently, various messages inform you there will be a delay while your comment is reviewed for “appropriate” content, and management reserves the right etc.

This blog, laissez-faire, is drawing frequent debates, and while I disagree with many of the comments, I welcome all of them. I marvel at their diversity and wonder at the extent people go to in order to air their views.

In the matter of Melia Obama wearing a T-shirt displaying a peace symbol [“Seeing Them For What They Are”], Steve says, “At 11 years old Melia knows as much about Peace as Miss America knows about quarks!” To which Lauren [full (proud) disclosure: my daughter] replies, “my 6 1/2 year old nephew has been able to identify the peace symbol since he was 3 and when asked back then what it meant he said, ‘no more fights.’"

In the matter of Michael Jackson [“Securing Michael Jackson” and “Recalling Michael Jackson”], Participant says, “I don't know what to think about this whole thing (about the man himself - the Peter Pan). Your blog has given me another side - good perspective.” To which James Patrick Updike responds, “…a great entertainer, but as far as I'm concerned he was a pedophile and deserves no mourning.”

Tough crowd. Let me eschew looking at “both sides now” and share a few random zingers with you. The most brazenly callous comment appeared in conjunction with “Free Roxana,” my appeal on behalf of the young journalist imprisoned in Iran. Posted by Anonymous (The cowardly tend to conceal themselves.), it stated, “I have a feeling Iran is going to milk this for all its worth to get whatever concessions it can from the U.S. all because this incredibly STUPID woman didn't know when to leave town! I hope she rots!” The wittiest may have been from Jacopo, who said, “W is writing a memoir? Ha! I'll believe it's his only if the first draft is written entirely in crayon…”

The dramatic street demonstrations following the elections in Iran produced two of the most notable comments: the most concisely profound one from betty fussell, “The Iranian government? The Iranian people? These are short-hand rhetorical constructs far different from the complex realities of both. … Let's talk less and learn more.”; the most evocative and perhaps touching from Paul Evans, “I remember listening (on a short wave radio) to the Hungarians' call for help - "For God's sake, help us." - just before the Russian army put an end to their revolution. Better fortune to the Iranian people.”

The last word (for now) belongs to the sanity and sagacity of James van Maanen, who has his own site, “TrustMovies,” in reaction to the exchanges my last entry, “Seeing Them For What They Are,” produced:
"My goodness, Ray: This post seems to have brought out the "extremists" like no other you've published. I don't know whether to say, "Keep it up" or "Move on, fast." I guess we do need to be reminded of the whack jobs out there. They are a shrinking minority, all right. But as we do learn occasionally and to our horror, it only takes one finger to pull a trigger."


  1. It's so refreshing Ray to read an un-censored blog. Thank you for allowing all voices to be heard!

  2. i have only one comment:
    i am so proud of my father...

  3. “Son of the Cucumber King” is unlike anything I have encountered on the Internet. Few websites read so artfully, speak so personally, and operate so openly.

    Congratulations on its success.

  4. The Obama Child wearing a pacifist shirt at the G8 is not cute. It sends a message that the president of the U.S.A is surrounded by Mickey Mouse fantasies about the world. and I really enjoy pickled cucumbers.

  5. Since when is wearing a peace sign an indication that one is a pacifist or oblivious to the realties of the world? A child wears a shirt that supports peace and that means her father has his head in the clouds? We would probably have a much better world today if adults praised children who touted peace instead of the violent TV and computer games the younger generation is so enveloped by. "?" has eaten too many pickled cucumbers. It has affected his/her brain.
    Ms. Anonymous

  6. The Obama kids are extremely good looking and what they wear doesn't send a message of any kind to anyone. The worst blogs are those like bastardobama who spew hatred in a feeble attempt at attention. Praising kids who tout peace won't do very much to make a better world. You want a better world? Teach parents to praise kids for reading, playing an instrument, learning another language valuing education, going to museums to be exposed to the arts. Praise kids for ignoring video games and the mostly mindless media that comes from Hollywood. Most of all teach parents that the most valuable assets in their lives are their kids, not their SUVs and homes in the Hamptons. The let them all sit down and have a good half sour pickle with a cold Dr. Brown's. That would make a much better world.