Friday, May 18, 2007

Do I Need An Image-Adjustment?

About a year and a half ago, an otherwise brilliant and caring person who I respect told me that before they met me, they thought, based on my internet presence, that I'm some kind of (note: this is a paraphrase; they probably didn't put it this way exactly) pedantic PhD student with a stick you-know-where.

And now I get the following comments from (lehavdil) Steve Brizel in the comment thread to this Hirhurim post:
Steve Brizel:

i'm not denying that RIETS/YU/SCW & Azrieli include a wide variety of students with a wide variety of hashqafot; but it's still all one institution.
Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Homepage | 05.16.07 - 9:47 pm | #

We pretend to be liberal when we read it and then go back to our right-wing modern Orthodox practice and thinking. Thanks for letting us pretend to be open-minded.

Frisch Family:

could you explain what you mean?
Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Homepage | 05.18.07 - 12:51 pm | #

Steg-I can't comment or anticipate the response to your question . However,in more cases than not, I find posts that spell hashkafa with a "q" as implying that whose who post with a "k" are somehow intellectually inferior and that the spelling with a "q" is an inicator of "proper", presumed or alleged intellectual superiority when it is really a display at times of being supercilious-especially to those who might disagree with you and use the more conventional "k" spelling, etc.
Steve Brizel | 05.18.07 - 1:57 pm | #

Maybe i'm just dense, but i fail to see what my transliteration-style has to do with other people's self-description as periodically "pretending to be liberal" or anything like that.

I also don't understand the answer. Does "pretending" mean
[reference to something Frisch Family wrote in response to my question to them]? Or is it referring to your willingness to read other people's opinions even though you know they won't convince you?
Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Homepage | 05.18.07 - 3:43 pm | #

Steg-I always read everyone's comments, regardless of whether I will agree or disagree, in whole or part. It is just that when I see Hashkafah spelled with a "q" instead of a "k", I can sort of figure where the person is coming from in his or her comment.
Steve Brizel | 05.18.07 - 3:51 pm | #

If you're interested you can read my angry and sarcastic response.
But you don't need to.

For the purpose of this post, you just need to answer one question — Do I really come across as such an ass? And maybe a second question — if I do, is it really because I transliterate ק as Q instead of K?

Being a mentsh is one of the pillars of my philosophy of Yahadut (although I admittedly do give in to anger and snarkiness when pushed); do I really express myself so poorly that I give people the impression that I'm a supercilious bastard?


Blogger The back of the hill said...

Do I really come across as such an ass? [ye qutte in the tekste be heere] do I really express myself so poorly that I give people the impression that I'm a supercilious bastard?

Dude, you are asking the wrong crowd. We don't have that impression of you - that is why we regularly read you. But who the heqqe knows what others may think when they read (and if they read).

To me you come across as rather like the type who, when ten years younger, celebrated graduation from the Hertog Jan College with an all-night party - at which the only rowdiness was the volume of the political and theological discussion. Sort of brainiac, brilliant, planning to go to Leiden University.

Your friends probably include at least one person who resembles professor Frick, and another who is just like the comic bookstore guy.

5/18/2007 4:51 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

BoTH - LOL. Well put.

I always find the use of a "q" to be quaint, since evertime I say "kedem" in shul I'm thinking "qadeem" (Arabic for old) - I assume that those who use it are just preserving the semitic language roots of the transliteration, whether they fully know them or not. ;)

5/18/2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

no. stay how u r :)

5/19/2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

Is the "t" in mentsh (for מענש) really representative of any Yiddesh dialects, or just a mis-hearing?

5/19/2007 1:57 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

You never seemed supercilious to me, either before or after I met you.

Just my 2 šəqalim.

5/19/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Mike Miller said...

Given that I've never seen you object to others who transliterate differently, I'd say you're OK.

Now if you asked if you were an ăs, that might be a different question...


5/19/2007 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

presumed or alleged intellectual superiority when it is really a display at times of being supercilious-especially to those who might disagree with you


Also, I do have to say, that there is a correlation between transliteration style and overall Hashkafa (I wonder if that choice shows anything about me), with the use of "q" being more "academically correct", which is somewhat related to liberalism (within Orthodoxy) and elitism according to some people.

Personally though, I think you're awesome.

5/19/2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

The baq of the qill:



the reason i do it is because i like being exact... כ and ק are different letters in Hebrew, so i want to distinguish them in translation as well.



Mar Qavriel:

interesting, i haven't actually looked up the word in a Yiddish dictionary; i guess it's an artifact of the [American?] Engilsh habit of transitioning between /n/ and voiceless sibilants through [t].



Miqe Miller:

okay now i'm going to wonder what exactly you meant by "ăs", if anything :-P


thanks for the explanation; a friend in shul today said something similar, that when people do something differently, setting themselves apart from the general way of doing things of the community, it can easily be seen as implying that everyone else is wrong.

i can see the academic~LWMO connection, too, and we all know how Steve Brizel feels about LWMO (i.e. people like me).

that doesn't explain the first — moral and menschlikh — person, who changed their opinion of me after meeting me. as far as i know, they had nothing against me or my assumed 'people'.

5/19/2007 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...

It's the sign of a weak mind when one is unable to argue with a person on rational grounds, and must resort to stupidity such as this. Qarry on.

5/19/2007 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, Brizel is just a pompous jerk who needs to have the last word. If he has no criticism of ubstance, then he will criticize spelling. It is hard to understand why you would question yourself based on a comment he made.

Not every person deserves to be taken seriously.

5/20/2007 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you roq.

-Moishe Potemkin

5/20/2007 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Mike S. said...

I infer nothing about your character from your transliterations. I will admit to scribbling them down in Hebrew so I can figure them out; the unconventional transliterations do make it more difficult to read your posts.

5/20/2007 7:33 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

LOL, Steg, no need to get carried away!

But as a side note, now it is my turn to get angry, - because you never gave me credit for starting this whole world war.

Although I was kidding in my initial billard que comment, it is really annoying to see the roadsigns in israel being so pathetic - for example "petah tiqwa", "newe yaakov", etc., not to metion the fact that they're almost always spelled differently at each sign. It's just silly, although I recognize being exact has a certain importance, IMHO in transliteration it very often distorts the original pronounciation. Why do you think simplified Chinese was invented?

As a side note - notice how most foreign names are distorted in the USA because we say them as we see them: Schwatz=shworts instead of shvurtz, Soros instead of Shorosh, etc etc.

Also internet abbreviations are annoying - what's LWMO anyway? You mean LMAO?
But now I must go as Captain Ahab awaits me on baod of the Peqod.
--- Mobey D'Iqq.

(BTW - I hope you didn't take my 3rd comment as criticism of you or what you said. It was just a general statement against the "thought police" of all too many people. I'm for free speech. But I'll concede that those who cede to the fads & peer pressure are more guilty than those who set those fads.)

5/20/2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Qreg, Anonqmous, and Moishq:

thanks for your support


do you think just typing Hebrew words in Hebrew instead of transliteration would be better, then?
(although that wouldn't help me on other people's blogs with haloscan comments; those don't let me use hebrew)

The Anti-Semiqe:

you were obviously joking around about Q-use, and so i responded in kind. other people, on the other hand, were not.

oh, and i *like* the fact that קיסריה is spelled 15 million different ways along the highway! :-)

5/20/2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger micha said...

I am a fellow q-er, and yet I still formed a very different first-impression of Steg than he is trying for. (Or than he made on me when we met in person.)

I am away that there are many reasons for q-ing. In my own case, my skill at typing Hebrew, and the frequency with which the Hebrew doesn't reach the other side intact, has me transliterating far more often than writing Hebrew. And my spelling ability isn't up to remembering the real spelling for something if I just use "k" for different letters. And I didn't get it from some liberal academic, but was indoctrinated by a rav whose word nearly all of us rely on regularly, some percentage of the time that we eat fleishig.

But no one knows that on first impression. So how did I form mine? Particularly since I am prone to the same word games? Well, like most people, I guess without realizing where the peices come from. So I couldn't answer the question about myself, never mind someone else who may have reached the same erroneous conclusion.

Added to the "q" is also the "šteg" in the parenthetic next to your nickname. For that matter, the use of a nickname that is pretty alien to most of us. (Says the man who signs every post with a reference to Sound of Music: "'Mi', a name I call myself...")

"Carved on the walls of the caverns" and "of the valley of the aboriginal ghosts, IL", and some conlang script in the title box is a reference to whole realities that has little to do with the blog's content.

The PhD student theory may also have come from the mention of "lesson plans" in your profile.


5/20/2007 12:04 PM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...

My one q word is miqvah/miqva'ot. I use it a lot, though. I hope it doesn't make me seem superior and whatnot, I took the spelling from my advisor, used it in my thesis, and have since adopted it as my normal spelling. I think qs are qool. I guess since you were a fellow voice of reason on Beyond BT, I never thought of you as stuck up or anything. You were "person who agrees with me [at least somewhat] and doesn't think I'll have trouble finding a carpool for my future children because of a piercing on my nostril" among other things. Or perhaps a fellow apiqorus, since LWMO is exactly that...

5/20/2007 2:23 PM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

Which brings me to the subject of the Qoren tanakh: does anyone else think that they did the lousiest possible job not only on transliteratioon but the translation too? Man, the English is not only harder to understand than Shakespeare and Colridge combined together but even than the hard neviim (no apostrophe!!!) like Yirmiyohu or Yishaya. But their letters are good. I can't take the artscroll skuare letters. Gimme the good 'ol siddur eshkol I grew up with.

5/20/2007 3:23 PM  
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

qeep it up!

5/20/2007 5:13 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I am not so sure that you are come across as so much of a B as much as to say that you sound a tad bit pretentious, something that is also halachicaly inadvisable.

Just being honest. (personaly I like you)

5/20/2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


having random references to outside content/reality can give the impression of being pedantic/elitist? do you think people would 'get it' better if this was just "Steg's blog" and my profile said "i'm Steg blah blah blah"? (the 'carved on the walls of the caverns' is part of the Goblin King theme)

this seems to be getting to the idea that people are scared of things that are different. i don't think i want to give in to that kind of idiocy.

qnitter of shiny things:

well of course, you're one of those 'academic' people that it seems to be negative to be associated with. of course you would be on my side.


i haven't used that one in a long time... i still can't get over how "qoren" sounds like "qur’ān" ;-) . my brother actually once bought a siddur only because it had "round happy letters" as distinct from artscroll's ugly ones.


thanks... but do you have any insight as to how people get certain impressions?


thanks for being honest... could you point to anything specific that makes me sound a tad bit pretentious?

5/20/2007 11:22 PM  
Blogger Knitter of shiny things said...


So do I also give off that arrogant PhD vibe? I don't really qonsider myself an aqademic, though maybe I should after writing that thesis...and I suppose the faqt that I'm going to Harvard* this fall doesn't really help my qase much...

But no one's ever called me on it, but maybe that's because my qs are reserved for miqva'ot, and I'm enough of a miqvah expert now that I can spell "miqvah" any way I please!

*I still qualify that with the fact that the Div school has a 50% acceptance rate, so although it is Harvard anyone decently smart and qualified could get in. It's hard to just say "I'm going to Harvard."

5/21/2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger Kylopod said...

I only use Q for Qof in two instances:

(1) The word "Qof" so it won't be confused with Kuf.

(2) The word "Iraq," which everyone aqsepts.

I have, in the past, lightly moqqed your use of double H for the letter Chet. But I don't see how that makes you an aqademic snob, since I've never before seen any aqademic--or anyone else--use that qonvention.

5/21/2007 2:15 PM  
Blogger Kylopod said...

Also, and I know it's haqneyed to say this, but....


5/21/2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're anything but an ass. The Pritzker zohar transliterates the koof and a q all the time and I don't think anyone is calling Daniel Matt an ass. No man... you're cool. Pay no mind to the critics.

5/21/2007 4:34 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

steg, sometimes being pretentious is justified. Sometimes it isn't. Just when you take your self out from the klal in a way as to be "more correct" it generaly is pretentious. You don't come off as a snob or anything (g-d forbid), but you do come off as being a little bit above and beyond, we shall say.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing, and for you it seems to fit quite a bit, but sometimes it is apporpriate to just chill out and let some things go.

again I don't think you come off badly, and heaven knows I'm the absolute last person to be telling you this with my zman crusades and all that, and white for shabbos and all of that, but I still think that probably because I'm like that and I notice it. The real question I guess is whether or not it is justified. if it is, then its fine, if it isn't, then it isn't.

5/21/2007 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Mike S said...

Sorry for the late reply: for a word or two, I would prefer Hebrew. This is a personal preference, not a general rule. For long passages, the font I get Hebrew in is hard to read, but so is a paragraph of transliteration, whether conventional or otherwise.

5/21/2007 10:38 PM  
Anonymous big brother said...

Dude you're a gigantic dweeb.

Also, it annoys people when they don't understand what you're saying (especially in cases where it's pointless.....think of hanging out with a group of people and one guy says "Ha that's so Vorlon of you!" without stopping to consider that s/he's the only person there who remembers Babylon 5)

Of course, that doesn't negate two axioms of the universe:
a. You don't argue with somebody by attacking the "attitude" of their transliteration.
b. Steve Brizel is a mondo jerk who doesn't seem to be interested in much besides using the torah as a shovel with which to beat anybody different from him over the face.

5/22/2007 8:31 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

"i haven't used that one in a long time... i still can't get over how "qoren" sounds like "qur’ān" ;-)"

I was thinking thesame thing.

"my brother actually once bought a siddur only because it had "round happy letters" as distinct from artscroll's ugly ones."

Same here. The sidur Vilna is pretty beautiful.
In all honesty I think you went a bit overboard here, I mean why take a miserable comment so seriously? Besides, I don't see why spelling with a Q would make you seem like Bilom's donkey - she only spoke, so we can't really know if she meant "lomo zeh hikitani or hiqitani" Unless, of course, she was ashkenazi, in which case she said "hikisoni". ("Do I really come across as such an ass?") In all honesty I can see alittle bit how someone would misinterpret it as somewhat arrogant. I left you an answer there in transliterated Hebrew. I tend to be a purist only in the original language - for example, when people mix up there, their and they're I want to stab them in the fifth rib.

In any way, it's a pity "Susie Q" isn't played more often, (actually not at all) as it's a 1000 times better than their cliched "Bad Moon Rising" or "American Woman" which are played to death.

Gut Yontev, Yom Tov, Yoim Yoiv, Yontif, Pontiff etc.

5/22/2007 8:34 AM  
Anonymous big brother said...

and oh yeah...

Taqe me out to the Ballqame
Taqe me out to the Qrowd
Buy me some qeanuts and qracqerjaqks
I don't qare if I ever qet baqk!
Qause it's rooq! rooq! rooq! for the Home team
If they don't qwin it's a qhame!
Qause it's onqe! twiqe! thqee-striqes-qou're-qout qat qhe QLD QALL QAME!!!!!

5/22/2007 8:36 AM  
Anonymous big brother said...

Hi Mister Anti.
That's exactly the siddur I bought he was talking about. (the Siddur Vilna) It's purty.

5/22/2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

In nusach ari I happen to like the siddur torah ohr which was typset in vilna, it has pretty, and easy to read letters, plus offwhite paper too.

5/22/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Koplow said...

To kwote from the troubadour Mr. Zev Yoily, "Don't go changing to try to please us, voyvel voyvel vom, we liqe U just the way U R."

The cue thing is fine. To me it doesn't look like superciliosity. It looks liqe you're trying to be aqqurate (and what aqquracy means is another kwestion) and liqe a fashion statement (liqe saying stuff liqe "superciliosity"). Does it seem liqe an affeqtation? No more so than any other fashion statement, and it looqs very snazzy on your eleqtrons.

By the way, if I remember qorreqtly (and I may not), I used to nag you to spell "geeq" qorreqtly (this was many months ago, baq when I was a responsible person who spent a lot of time looqing at blogs and not the slaqqer I am now). After a while you started to spell it right. Looqing good!

Steve Brizel--yes, I mean the very Steve Brizel who misspelled "indicator" (seriously misspelled, no goofy q'isms here) at 1:57 pm on 5/18--this Steve Brizel guy is engaging in ad hominem behavior. Ad hominem arguments aren't necessarily attacks--they are simply a focus on the message instead of the messenger (if you talk about the wonderfulness of the people who agree with you, this is ad hominem too). It's usually a change of subject, as it was in this case, when S"B started talking about your spelling style. A time waster.

5/22/2007 9:47 AM  
Blogger Heccy said...

Some people just dont appreciate the difference between a uvular plosive and a velar plosive.

5/22/2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

Just bought 10K of QQQ only because this whole episode.

Of course, as soon as I was long the whole thing started to collapse...

5/25/2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In truth, there is a better way than looking to the q to see if one is an ass, just look for the name Steve Brizel it is a dead give away.

5/31/2007 5:35 PM  
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