»

A Rabbi Tells Me What I Want!

Rabbi Schmuley Boteach wrote an unfortunate essay published in the Huffington Post, entitled, “What Women Really Want.”

I printed it out as a document and graded it as I would have graded one of my students.  Normally I’m a nice person, and I don’t get off on ripping someone else’s writing to shreds, because I can appreciate that people put themselves into their work. It’s risky to put your writing out there, so my policy is to be gentle with other people always. However, every once in a while I feel snarky with my criticism. Indulge me, if you have the time.

Jesus Goes to the Dentist.
Vote of No Confidence
An Apology to Street Harrassers
Dreams of My Grandfather
  • TLanceB

    You’re very fair. I don’t see the plus, only a D.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    Brilliant! Not the essay of course. That poor guy is utterly clueless about women, our libedos, or what we want. Mr. ” know what women want” , not to be mistaken for the movie of the same name, starring a still sane Mel Gibson, must think women think like he does; instead we use vaginas to do all our primary thinking instead of a penis.

    What is brilliant about the essay is the grading you gave it. The essay itself makes me want to take a bleach bath.

  • conceptualinertia

    I realize this is completely beside the point, but most grammarians will tell you that there is nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition or beginning a sentence with “But” or “And.” Those are myths.

    • http://www.whoaisnotme.net/anakinmcfly anakinmcfly

      I think it’s a matter of context, where it’s not supposed to be good practice for formal writing, but fine for creative and/or informal writing.

      • Stan_Dubinsky

        Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
        So, to sum it up, Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

  • http://www.thisamericanbite.com/ This American Bite

    I think grading this like it was a student’s paper is an insult to a published author and makes Worthington look like she’s crying for help, or a cheap shot at some media attention. It’s an opinion piece. Also, equating passion to “rape culture” seems a little far fetched… Each to their own.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      I think you’re right. It is an insult to a published author. Pretty sure that was the point.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        The article was an insult to women. Getting his work critiqued, high school composition class style was a minor dig compared to this man’s views on female sexuality…or females in general.

    • http://www.whoaisnotme.net/anakinmcfly anakinmcfly

      Regarding the last point – it wasn’t passion that she was equating to rape culture, though, but the whole concept of ‘I cannot control myself and I must have you no matter the consequences’, which is… pretty much the mindset of a rapist.

      • http://www.thisamericanbite.com/ This American Bite

        A little bit of healthy “I can’t stand to be away from you” can go a long way in a relationship. The desire to be with someone you love, the discomfort at being away from them. Take the comment in context and it’s not creepy, it’s endearing.

        I can understand a rape victim analyzing that comment with a viewpoint of it being a threat, but that is clearly not what was intended.

  • Stan_Dubinsky

    I cannot comment upon the substantial criticisms, but pretty much every grammatical correction is pointless and silly. “No split infinitives”. “Don’t end a sentence with a preposition”. “Don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction”. These are all the sort of comments that would come from someone who has either never graded composition, or who should never be allowed to do so. Expressing your opinions is fine, but stick with what you know (which is definitively NOT grammar and composition).

    • mindy

      Stan, it’s graded as if it were a research paper. Those are required to adhere to strict grammatical and structural standards. Note my comment above: How is the humor here completely lost on so many of you?!

      • Stan_Dubinsky

        Let’s see. It’s not graded like a research paper. The grader wouldn’t pass muster at my university grading First Year English composition. Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
        So, to sum it up, Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

        • Yonatan_Maccabim

          Stan, your comment was fine the first time I read it. It became tiresome after reading it 8 more times. You may know a thing or 3 about writing, but you’re a considerable bore with your copy and pasting on a blog.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            You’re absolutely right. I am a bore in this regard. And happy to be recognized as such. :)

  • Stan_Dubinsky

    The author of this blog may be one of those many victims of “50 years of stupid grammar advice”, which you may read about here …
    http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497

  • Kathe Repasi

    Grammar aside, he described my marriage in the ’70s as though he were there! Of course my ex husband was a womanizer, insecure and threatened by an intelligent and sensual woman but that seemed to come with the times. We had just stepped out of the 60s and into sexual confusion. Oh well, I have a beautiful daughter who has a wonderful husband and two great sons. I survived, coped and enjoy them all. I have often dreamed about what a good marriage would be but don’t know anyone my age to ask. I haven’t discovered any yet.

  • John Kelly

    Why did you bury your points, valid as they are, in all that rubbish about ending sentences with prepositions, splitting infinitives, and beginning sentences with conjunctions? If the rabbi’s points are valid, his failure to share your superstitions about English usage is irrelevant. If they’re not, why waste time niggling at his grammar when you could be refuting them?
    Besides, that first split infinitive you flagged–it wasn’t one. If you think “she principally wants to be desired” contains a split infinitive, you’re trying enforce a rule you don’t understand.
    Not that misunderstanding that “rule” is such a bad thing. It was dragged in from Latin, where it actually made sense–Latin infinitives devolve to nonsense syllables when split. English infinitives are more flexible, and where that serves to more clearly convey your meaning you may as well take advantage of it.
    If this is an example of your teaching, you’re the kind of teacher I wouldn’t put up with. Oops, sorry–I meant “the kind of teacher I wouldn’t put up with for a minute.” There, fixed it.

    • Laurelin

      “Superstitions about English usage?”

      Interesting phrasing.

      • Stan_Dubinsky

        Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
        Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

      • disqus_kcZ5YZoWCF

        Yes no one likes a grammar anus. Pardon me, I meant to say; No one likes a person who’s anal about grammar.

    • Rosie Gildenstern

      The kind of teacher up with whom you wouldn’t put.

  • elanahope

    Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, misogynistic drivel. thank you for pulling it apart, bit by bit. What a treat!

  • hi_mrj

    If you think that “I don’t care what the consequences are” was an endorsement of rape culture then you are unfit to critique anything written in the English language, especially as the author clarifies this statement in the subsequent sentences.

    Boteach is clearly wrong. It is a shame, that as a woman who seems so confident in representing her gender, you haven’t the first clue as to why he is wrong.

    • mindy

      Do tell, then. If this author didn’t have a clue, you did? But you’re not going to share with the rest of the class? No fair. C’mon – why, in your studied opinion, is he clearly wrong?

      • hi_mrj

        Well, actually it’s my wife’s opinion (she is the smarter one). Boteach’s essay has nothing to do with the tenuous accusations the author has made here, it simply sounds more like the inner desires of a man rather than a woman. I find it ironic that the author here seems to have projected a thousand of her own issues onto this essay whilst missing the fundamental point of this being a projection of Boteach’s mind onto all women.

        The author’s notes do nothing to highlight the real issue. In fact, I found myself lost in the forest of a wasted red pen. If we’re going to have a serious debate about “men telling women what they want” then we’ve got to speak about the heart of the issues and not get sidetracked with a,b,c,d,e and sigh … f as found above.

        Rabbi Boteach has the respect of many educated individuals and whilst I think his article may be completely wrong, it certainly does not deserve the contempt afforded to him by the author. Accusing him of endorsing rape culture is a cheap shot and unfortunately undermines any serious point the author is trying to make.

        I hope this clarifies my position. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

        • mindy

          OK, wait. I think you need to go back and read ALL of the comments Aliza wrote. Yes, she added the grammar/punctuation comments. Yes, she used rigid grammar rules (remember, this is “snark,” i.e., humor, and she is grading it as if it were a research paper, which would have to adhere to those rigid rules. After all, if a man has the nerve to tell women what they want, he damn well better be backing it up with research that is above reproach! But it is also filled with specific comments about his content as well – pointing out how very flawed his entire premise really is. Obviously, this is not *really* a high school research paper. (see above comment re: snark/humor), and obviously, an opinion piece is not held to the same structural standards as a research paper. But as I pointed out in another comment, grading it like a high school paper shows, with great clarity, that the grader is giving him credit for having the sense of a hormonal high school boy. From that perspective, it brilliantly makes the exact point your wife is making. The discussion about the misogyny, etc. is to happen in the comments, like we’re doing here – the humorous take on the article is the spark for THAT conversation. I don’t see anywhere that Aliza appears to project her own issues – might that be you, a man, making an assumption? As a middle-aged woman who has dealt with men like this – in relationships, in jobs, in community – my entire adult life, I can tell you that she is spot on. I cannot speak for men. We women have known that for a long time. We’re hoping that someday, men who “have the respect of many educated individuals” will know better than to tell us what we want – in ANY form other than humor.

          I’m happy to discuss the content at which he so woefully failed. I’d love to hear why all the male commenters seem to want to tear Aliza down for her red grammar pen, rather than address the misogynistic point of the whole thing. Perhaps someone can explain how saying “it ALMOST SOUNDS like you are endorsing rape culture” equates to accusing him of endorsing rape culture? Is the nuance completely lost on you guys? Instead of discussing what remains so prevalent in our society that an apparently respected rabbi (I’m taking your word on that one) adds his two cents to the fray, you guys are obsessing about HOW she made her point. Don’t like it? OK. The humor is over the heads of some, there are just too many words on the pages, she might be projecting her own experiences – AS A WOMAN – onto the guy telling her what she thinks, blah, blah, blah. You say that the points are valid, but give that validation one tiny comment (and you attributed it to your wife!) and then rant about the rest of it. Baffling, truly. But I appreciate you reading to the end of my rant as well, and hope that you will at least think about it from the perspective of the women who simply can’t fathom that an educated man thinks it’s acceptable to write, let alone publish, something like this.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            It’s not graded like a research paper. The grader wouldn’t pass muster at my university grading First Year English composition. Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
            So, to sum it up, Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

          • mindy

            Stan, it’s a joke. It’s not meant to be picked apart for the “grading.” I get what you are saying, and for some people (I am an editor, so I know how this works) it is difficult to get past the editing part of any piece of writing. But this is meant to show the lowbrow mentality of the original piece, and I find it interesting that those picking it apart for the grading are the men, as if you can’t bring yourselves to address the real issue. Maybe it should be written differently to have an impact for you. I can’t speak for the male readers here, but it seems that you’ve missed the bigger point.

            It’s about men – any one of you – believing you can speak for women. I am a mom, and when my daughters were little and still very much “mine,” I spoke for them. I could tell what they needed or wanted most of the time, even if they could not verbalize it yet, so I spoke for them – and even then, I’d ask them if I was right. That is how this foolish piece by this supposedly intelligent rabbi feels to me, a woman. He has our “less than” status so ingrained in him that he believes it acceptable to speak for us as if we are children without the capacity to speak for ourselves. My girls are 16 and 19. I wouldn’t dream of speaking for them now. I talk with them privately, of course, as they sort through the complex feelings of teendom to figure out how they feel – but I do not speak for them. They are people in their own right, and even as their mother, it is not my place for speak for them. I don’t know what to compare it to for a man. I can’t think of an example, for white men in this culture, in which you can all generally relate to having your voice taken away and used by someone else. To say the wrong thing, as if you’d said it yourself. To wrongly inform others of your thoughts and feelings, smugly believing it all to be correct. It’s utterly maddening, and at the same time, old news – because it’s been happening our whole lives.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            I don’t believe I can speak for anyone else, men or women. So, don’t worry about that.

            You now say that that grammar “corrections” are part of a “joke”, but that’s not how you characterized it initially. You’re right. They are a joke – a badly executed one.
            I have no opinion about Worthington’s objections to the column that she panned. I only assert that she showed herself off to be an ignoramus about grammar and composition in doing so.
            Good day to you.

          • hi_mrj

            My problem wasn’t the critique on the grammar – as a teacher, I understand the spin she has put on it. My main point is that in order for a serious debate on these issues, (and for people themselves to be taken seriously) we have to move away from “crying rape” every time someone writes something that may not be entirely agreeable with women.

            “Almost sounds like you are endorsing rape culture” is enough to trigger emotive thoughts by readers and in my opinion makes the author lose all credibility. There was absolutely no need to go there unless you wanted to sway your readers in an underhanded manner. I’m happy to give the author the benefit of the doubt and say that it was perhaps a naive error.

            The author has some valid points to make but like a child playing the violin for the first time, they have come out in a most unpleasant manner (and again, I’m not referring to the grammar critique). You can’t just pull the trigger every time a man makes an incorrect assumption about a woman (it is after all, what we do best). There is no misogyny here nor is there a sniff of an endorsement of rape or any “grotesque” stereotypes (stereotypes there may be but having been married for 7 years, the ones the author referred to weren’t completely out of the park). The article was written in good faith with a genuine attempt to help married couples with their marriage, to infer from this that Boteach hates women is simply not accurate and unfair.

            All I am saying is that for a serious debate, the author could have adopted a far more effective approach – especially if she is serious about changing the minds of men. What she sought to achieve in an entire red pen was masterfully achieved by my wife – in one sentence.

            I cannot speak for others but my focus on HOW it was written is not to detract from the point but to actually highlight the fact that the point gets lost.

            Again, thanks for taking the time to respond – as mentioned, I agree that the article is fundamentally flawed, my wife told me that and I dare not argue with her.

          • Hanan

            >we have to move away from “crying rape” every time someone writes something that may not be entirely agreeable with women.

            Often when I see a tenacious attempt by women “to cry rape” or that it is just another example of “rape culture (LOL)” it seems to me they are far more interested in some yearning to being a victim than actually wanting to deal with points. It is almost a knee jerk reaction if a man says something – unless of course he is also crying rape culture. Then you are part of the tribe.

  • mindy

    Apparently the whole idea of humor is lost on a lot of you. The whole point of grading it like a high school essay is to show that his thinking reminds her of that of a high school boy. Which may be an insult to high school boys. All the picky grading, I would imagine, is part of that. Treating it like the barely-written “paper” that it is. Notice how she said she was feeling snarky, waaaaay back at the beginning of her post? This is snark. By definition, snark is like sarcasm, especially because those to whom it is most often directed have no idea they’ve just been had.

  • Guest

    I am very tired of men speaking for women. They have lived with us for millions of years and yet no absolutely nothing of us. How stupid is that?

    • Hanan

      I’m also tired of women speaking for men and what we want.

      • Snooterpoot

        You must be joking, right? Or are you really the poor, woe begotten male whose masculinity should threatened by women who tell men to stop telling us what we want, and bloody well ask!

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I think that’s the problem…It assumed that we women are this great mystery, never to be figured out. The problem lies in the fact that they so often don’t bother asking us, about us.

    • Hanan

      The real question is, should women even be speaking for other women as well?

  • boldcopy

    Many of the corrections made are based on archaic rules (not ending sentences with a preposition, for example). If this is how English teachers are forcing the next generation to write, are math teachers still using slide rules?

    • mindy

      Research paper format. MLA – structure and grammar rules are strict and specific. High school and college research papers are still very much graded this way.

      • boldcopy

        “Very much” graded this way? I stand by my original comment. Today’s English benefits from evolutionary improvements that emphasize brevity and clarity. As a side note, the word “very” adds nothing to our language. Be quiet or be very quiet; I’m cold or I’m very cold; it’s beautiful or it’s very beautiful … they are the same.

      • Stan_Dubinsky

        It’s not graded like a research paper. The grader wouldn’t pass muster at my university grading First Year English composition. Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
        Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

        • Snooterpoot

          I’d give you an F for redundancy. Enough already!

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            I’d give you an A for having the most revealing username. Love it.

          • Snooterpoot

            There’s a story behind it. My wife and I were watching a program on t.v. A woman had a toddler whom she called Snooterpoot. I thought it was cute, and that it would probably be a unique screen name. I’ve received many comments about it, most being positive.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            It’s more creative than using a real name, for what it’s worth. :)

  • TDHawkes

    I am sick of people speaking for all women. Let us speak for ourselves.

  • http://www.treehugginghumanist.com/ Tree Hugging Humanist

    My brain is a little tired at the moment take in this entire article but I am glad to see I am not the only person left on the planet who is annoyed by the ending of a sentence with a preposition.

    • Stan_Dubinsky

      I suppose you regularly ask people “From where art thou?” rather than “Where are you from?” The “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” injunction is patent nonsense, invented as an affectation in emulation of Latin grammar. You may be annoyed by it, if you wish, but your annoyance has nothing whatsoever to do with principles of English grammar and writing. And any teacher who taught you that was a pathetic pedant.
      Aliza Worthington, whatever else she does, should not be teaching English. In standard, formal writing, there is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I could show you dozens of excellent literary specialists that do so). The idea that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition is sheer nonsense (e.g., “What are you afraid of?” – NOT “Of what are you afraid?”). The ban against split infinitives is a centuries old affectation based on Latin, and not observed in formal English … AND Worthington doesn’t even know what a split infinitive is! She says that “She principally wants to be desired” has a split infinitive. It doesn’t. In order to have a split infinitive, the adverb would need to be placed between the infinitive marker and the verb, as in “She wants to principally be desired”.
      Worthington should have stuck to substantive criticisms of the ideas in the piece, on which she has perhaps a case to make. By pretending that she was grading it as a composition, she only revealed her own ignorance of such matters, and devalued the entire parody. It’s not easy for me, who has taught university students for 25 years, to watch someone like Worthington make a fool of herself and the whole profession of teaching students to write.

      • Robert Ozob

        Hey look, Stan. You are going to a vulnerable extreme in your criticism of Aliza. Everything that you say is correct, as correct means in current good usage in America, but there is a time and place (context) for freedom from the “rules”. And it depends on how many times you do it. It is not all helter – skelter (hef-keh pee-yet- rish-keh, as Shmuely would say when he is not mangling the Queen’s English), or I’m OK, You’re OK. What do you think of Ebonics?

        I was skeptical of Aliza’s work after Shmuely’s first paragraph.
        Aliza should not have let Shmuely out from this introductory paragraph. The writing is crap from the first word to the last. But the paragraph is an excellent use, (I think I’ve got it right), of pathetic fallacy: Shmuely is full of shit.

        • Stan_Dubinsky

          As I said, I have no comment on the substance of the article, and only object to Worthington’s pretense of knowing anything about how to teach or assess English grammar and writing. Chapter 11 of my book, Understanding Language through Humor, discusses these matters in some detail, so I won’t comment more here (already having been told I’m too repetitive): http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Language-through-Stanley-Dubinsky/dp/0521713889/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

          As for Ebonics, I would direct you to an enormously insightful (and short) article by Geoffrey Pullum (co-author of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language), which appeared in the journal Nature in 1997: http://www1.ucsc.edu/oncampus/currents/97-03-31/ebonics.htm

          If you can’t get hold of my book, I can even send you the relevant chapter. The Pullum article is on-line at the link I provided.

          • Robert Ozob

            I looked up your book in Amazon and read the extracts posted. I laughed out loud when I read the Hooters Toyota story. I live outside the USA and I object to paying more for shipping than for the book itself. So I ordered it from my local library. Furthermore I will get it faster this way.

            With respect to Ebonics.
            It is painful to watch American English teachers at work in this age of semi-literacy.

            My father was a native Yidonics speaker. He survived the War in Poland in part by learning and speaking standard German. The great I.B. Singer would have had to do the same if he were in the same circumstances.
            What would you do if you were teaching English Literature in the USA and a student turned in a paper written in Cockney? Or fresh- off -the- boat Jewish immigrant English written in Latin letters? Let’s take it to Ladino. Does it matter if 90% of the class does it the same way? Does the presence or absence of “Yid Power” matter?
            One doesn’t have to choose to succeed in someone else’s world but if one does, one must make compromises.

            If all you say is that Aliza is a bad editor, I agree. But I think that you have gotten excited by attributing to her professional claims which she never made.
            All she is doing is having a bit of fun from her soap box.
            For all we know, she may be a rocket scientist and have nothing to do as an occupation with language.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            Glad you liked what you saw (in our book). I promise you that the rest of it is just as good. And good for you that you can get it from the library. I’m looking for readers, not sales (of course, if you love it and want to post a nice review on Amazon, I won’t object).

            As for student essays written in Ebonics, Hebonics, or Cockney, I can assure you that no one is suggesting that such should be acceptable. Rather, learning to write (for all students) involves learning to express oneself in a register/dialect that is not one’s own, and the discrepancy between one’s own dialect and the formal register is greater (and hence more difficult to bridge) for some than for others. It is in this regard that it is useful and productive to recognize these dialects as different and valuable for purposes other than formal communication. It serves no purpose to deride them as “bad” anything … they are simply inappropriate in certain contexts, and we are obliged to teach students how to use the dialect that is appropriate for the purpose. (you’ll get a better sense of this from the book, I’m sure)

            Regarding Aliza’s professional claims, she states at the beginning of this piece that she “printed it out as a document and graded it as I would have graded one of my students.” So, either she is pretending to have students whose compositions she grades (and is showing herself to be incompetent in this regard). Or she is pretending to have students, and insulting all those who actually do this for a living through her ignorance of what grading student papers actually entails. I don’t particularly care which is the truth, but neither possibility reflects well upon her.

          • Robert Ozob

            Aliza had posted subsequently that she is not a teacher and I replied to you on this basis. But you are right. The natural inference from what Aliza first wrote is that she is a language teacher and has students. I was surprised that a teacher would let off Shmuely so easily from his first paragraph.

            There is a third option which you do not offer. Aliza is a bad writer. She doesn’t express her intent. Her answer would be that in haste she elided “if I were an English teacher.” In her defense, it always helps to have an editor to clean up from the excitement of genius and she doesn’t.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            Well, I’ll allow that it helps to have someone to clean up from the excitement of just about anything. And failing that, one should always clean up after oneself in any case. It is her own blog, and I assume there’s an editing tool.
            😉

          • Robert Ozob

            I don’t think that an editing tool will tell a writer to complete an idea.
            Where does Occam’s razor take us in these circumstances?

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            True that. I’m likely imagining an application that has yet to be developed.

          • Robert Ozob

            Lets stop beating up on Aliza. At least she has enough brains to recognize a bad essay as such. Shmuely is escaping because of the diversionary attack.
            For me the following is the interesting question. Shmuely seems to have the intelligence and energy of a badly programmed first generation robot. How has he managed to be a success and such a large success?

            I envy Shmuely only because he has nine children and a full head of hair. As for the hair, perhaps it is because there is not much heat generated from up there.

          • Stan_Dubinsky

            I stopped beating up on Aliza a few days ago. Have little desire to carry it on further. :)

          • Robert Ozob

            I think that I am able to answer my own question.
            I just read the report on Shmuely’s recent Gala in Haaretz ( Israeli newspaper). I think that I can venture safely that the reporter was not kindly disposed. Nevertheless, it seems that the celebrity of both Shmuely and Kim Kardashian can be attributed to the same factors- a great ass tirelessly self-promoted.

          • theworthingtonpost

            You guys know I can hear you, right?

          • Robert Ozob

            Yes. I didn’t say that you were wrong in publicly taking a run at Shmuely. On the contrary. Just that you are not a good editor. I am hoping that you will learn.
            If you dish it out, you have to accept taking it.
            What is your “day job”?

          • theworthingtonpost

            I’m a former social studies teacher, a full-time mother, and for the last four years, a writer, though I’ve only recently begun to make actual money as a writer.

            I absolutely can take it if I dish it out. Stay tuned for a follow-up post in which I use the red pen on myself.

  • Rosie Gildenstern

    In the last paragraph on p. 2, one should not add a comma after the word “action.”

  • http://www.theanimatedwoman.com/ The Animated Woman

    Nice redline take-down Aliza.

  • damageddude

    Wouldn’t the proof reader been the Post’s editorial department?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      One would think. One would also think they’d screen their content better, to make sure what they display, at least, makes a strong effort to make a solid stance on something. Thankfully, Aliza, the queen of delightful snark, took care of that for us.

  • Yisrael Edward Cohen

    I find it very interesting that those among the comments who seem to take issue with Ms. Worthington’s responses tend to be primarily men.
    As for Ms. Worthington’s comment about rape culture. I agree completely. Before I read her comments, my first thought upon reading that section was, “Good grief that sounds rapey.” Sure enough, I glanced over and there was Ms. Worthington’s comment about. I don’t believe Rabbi Boteach would ever knowingly endorse rape or rape culture. Most people think rape is absolutely horrible. However, most people don’t really understand what rape is. They think it only refers to horrible acts commited by strangers in bad neighborhoods at night. Here is an excerpt upsettingrapeculture.com that explains this clearly:
    The Stanger Rape myth, for example, is frequently reinforced through Lifetime movies like She Fought Alone, or most episodes of Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit. This kind of media perpetuates rape, because it continues the shame and silence that surrounds the majority of survivors who were raped by friends or family; and it allows perpetrators to avoid dealing with their problems, since they do not match the profile of rapists “As Seen On TV.”
    The full piece is here:
    http://upsettingrapeculture.com/rapeculture.php

    • Snooterpoot

      I was raped by a childhood friend when I came out to him as a lesbian. He kept saying I would “never want another woman” after he was finished with me. Imagine that! I would never want another woman after having been beaten, choked to the point of unconsciousness only to be brought back and choked again, brutalized orally and vaginally and repeatedly told he should just go ahead and kill me.

      There is nothing sexual about rape except for sex being used to dominate and humiliate, no matter what the consequences.

      No man can put himself in my place and know what I think or feel, and I am goddamned sick of men who think they even have any right to do so.

      We will tell you what we want and how we feel, and all you have to do is listen.

  • Shira Hirschman-Weiss

    Aliza, I agree with all and I think another point is that “case studies” should have been cited to back up the points about women, with names changed of course. With as many sweeping generalizations as there are, there needs to be examples! :-)

  • theworthingtonpost

    I wrote a lengthy response to many of these comments, and Disqus ate it. Grr. If I have the time to reconstruct it later, I will try, but the upshot is this:

    I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read and comment – even the ones who are critical. Some of the criticism is valid, some of it not so much, and in truth, I’d write the piece a little differently if I were to do it again.

    The most cogent criticism came from people saying my overcorrections drowned out the more salient points I was trying to make involving rape culture, marriage, flawed logic, etc.

    If I can’t reconstruct (or find) the comment, just know that I really appreciate your thoughts – so long as they are polite and not personal. Also, Stan, I promise you I am not an English teacher. So you can let that one go.

  • my truth

    When a woman falls in love with someone’s soul, that is all the lust necessary to devour your beloved’s bones. And that’s the Jewish answer. Hence, Schmuley (I don’t even want to address him as rabbi) is talking about what a man can find at a strip club. That cannot be equated to love, marriage, what women want or true desire. He should just leave the “what women want” article to women.

    If you changed the word, desired, to appreciated, then you might be a little warmer in what women want.

    I find his article offensive and I think Aliza was way too easy on him. I think someone should do a psychological diagnosis on him. It would be easy to see how he transfered his repressed and unfulfilled sexual yearnings, how he objectifies woman, and his immature ability to connect with the opposite sex on a mature level onto “what women want.” His mind is still in the Playboy he read at 15. Grow up Schmuley! I wouldn’t even say “get a shrink.” I would say, “grow up and smell the KY Jelly.”

  • Sholom Keller

    Okay, i would not have docked points for ending clauses with prepositions or beginning them with conjunctions, but other than that, yeah…

    Mrs. Boteach, have you considered leaving this fool? Haha, I kid… enjoy being treated like shit behind closed doors and plastering on your shabis makeup to cover your tear-streaked face.

  • Guest

    I very much appreciate the response to this rather silly and reductive essay! Total nitpick, but the grammar nerd in me feels compelled to point out that the “editor” actually makes an error on page 3. “Loath” means “reluctant or unwilling,” while “loathe” means “feel intense dislike or disgust for.” In this case, the original spelling was correct. Overall, great takedown! The generalizations and unsupported pronouncements in this essay are unbelievable.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Aliza, I think you response to this Rabbi is disrespectful to say the least. While I may or may not agree with his opinion, what you are displaying is far worse worse than him expressing his opinion in an article. The right thing to do would have been to comment on his article, explaining your reasoning for your disagreement with its content. But to mock his opinion outright, ridicule his grammar, and act as the stupid, naive, and stereotypical woman you are accusing the Rabbi of depicting, makes your comments look untenable and unintelligent. Whether you are a third grade English teacher or a college professor, the former far more likely, I suggest you keep your red pen, and your comments, to yourself.

    • Mr. Steve

      Oh yes, how DARE, she call out the Rabbi for being a sexist ass. How about looking beyond a person’s title, and seeing them for the person they actually are? Do you REALLY think a Rabbi, Priest, etc is completely beyond reproach? That it’s perfectly acceptable for them to behave like an ignorant dick? He deserves ZERO respect.

      • Anonymous

        Hi Steven,
        While you seem wildly well-educated, let me clarify. I am not saying that because he is a Rabbi he deserves respect. I am saying that because he is a human being, entitled to his own opinion he deserved respect, as does anyone else, whether they are a priest, rabbi or drug dealer. The Rabbi’s title is irrelevant to me, what matters is that he expressed his opinion on a subject matter, which he is entitled to do. I think it would have been disrespectful regardless of who wrote the content. Also, I recommend that you at least try to sound somewhat intelligent when attempt to prove a point, avoiding vulgarity and crudeness would be job one.

        • Mr. Steve

          Well, Mr/Ms/Mrs. Anonymous, there are social consequences for everything we say and do. Maybe you should think about that, before trying to insult my intelligence, so that you can feel better about yourself. I however, do not show respect, where it isn’t EARNED.

        • B-Lar

          His ideas are no more immune to criticism than anybody else’s. He is be entitled to form his opinion however he chooses, but if he wants it to be respected or indeed, to lecture us on it, he had better have made sure that he has done his due diligence.

          In addition, if you are discarding someone’s criticism based on tone rather than content, then I respectfully inform you that you are a fool, contributing to an ignorant world. Ironically, your tone policing comments reveal you to have a lack of respect for intelligent discourse and an aversion to introspection.

        • JohnVHedtke

          A common misconception about freedom of speech in all its many manifestations is that there’s some implicit freedom from criticism or consequence.

          I’ve published 26 books and close to 200 magazine articles. I’m also a retired priest (yeah, really). As I’m fond of saying, “These are my words and they’re not sacred at all.” If I write something, I’ve accepted that people may disagree with me. If I write something stupid–and I have occasionally–I’ve accepted that people are going to mock me for it.

          The Rab wrote something. And I think he was FOS, too. (Oooooh, vulgarity! ) He came off like a horse’s petoot (crudeness! ) and, lo! he got mocked for it. He deserved it, too. Life’s tough. Suck it up, buttercup.

  • Yonah

    Well, first. I have to do nothing but admire your editing graphic. That is way way cool.

    Uh, Rabbi. Not cool. Uh, what in the hell were you thinking, dude? Have you been hanging out with Rob Ford? Regarding women, you have about as much rhetorical eloquence as Gomer Pyle when he remarked “she don’t sweat much for a fat girl”.

  • Brittany Kaufman

    This is great! Although to be fair, you seem to have a rather puristic and prescriptive approach to writing. Most grammarians today agree that both ending a sentence with a preposition and beginning one with “and” or “but” are acceptable. If those corrections were done in jest, then forgive me :)
    Also, it appears you have misunderstood paragraph 5, page 2, regarding the Madonna-whore complex. Boteach is not expressing his personal views here; he’s explaining and, more importantly, criticizing the Madonna-whore complex.
    Other than that, this is fucking awesome.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      1. The corrections were done in jest. She explained at the beginning, that this was a “snark sandwich” (I found delicious by the way) Which is why I can’t understand the hoofarah over them.
      2. Boteach, doesn’t understand the Madonna/whore complex enough to explain or criticize them. His little meandering on that part of his essay, earned an outloud “what the fu….” from me when I read it.

  • Elie Poltorak

    Nice try, but your grammar isn’t much better than Shmuly’s. For instance, you erroneously correct “loath” to “loathe.” You also place commas in the wrong places, such as on the bottom of page 2, where you improperly place two commas before “and.” If you’re going to dish it, you’ve gotta be able to take it. :-)

    • Tom Muething

      Two ‘errors’ that stood out at me were her harping about ending a sentence with a preposition (it’s OK to, I promise–see Grammar Girl) and starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction (e.g. but). In informal writing like the Web, it is perfectly acceptable.

      ETA: Ending a sentence with a preposition comes from Latin. However, Latin is not English, so it’s really not fair to apply that rule to English.

  • Gitel Hesselberg

    “[S]he wants” is not an infinitive. It is perfectly acceptable to split it.

  • Shmuel Aharon Kam

    Why give “Shmuly” ANY media attention at all. He’s a two-bit idiot, who lives for attention. If a guy can claim that play-pretending adultery is a good idea, then he knows absolutely NOTHING about Judaism.

  • AmyS

    My 15 year-old son posted this article to his Facebook wall. Since I skipped Worthington’s intro, I thought the original essay was written by a college sophomore who had read too many pick-up artist blogs. Does Shmuley know any actual women? Has he studied marriage in any systematic way? Or is he simply speaking out of his own fantasy-laden observations? Even my child sees the ridiculousness of Shmuley’s quasi analysis.

    • theworthingtonpost

      I cannot begin to tell you how tickled I am about your son sharing this. Thank him, and thank you!

      • AmyS

        He is pretty great. 😉

        • theworthingtonpost

          He MUST be!!! 😀

  • Nicole Ar

    I couldn’t get past his notion that every female comes from a loving home and that she leaves their home for her husband’s. It’s so 1950s. Even back then, abuse was common, just no one talked about it.

  • Mister M

    The editor’s grammar is at least as bad as Shmuley’s, but his idiocy is on full display. Is he really suggesting that familial love and romantic love are the same thing?

  • theworthingtonpost

    Here’s a follow-up, in which I turn the red pen on myself.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost/2014/05/the-teacher-didnt-do-her-homework/


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X