Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The End of XGH (Again)

While some folks may be happy about its demise, XGH is no more. I am a long-time reader of extremegh.blogspot.com, arguably the most read Jewish blog, both in his latest incarnation and in his previous one as Godol Hador. While he often (especially lately) harped on the same subjects over and over, his posts were for the most part both interesting and well-written. Much food for thought for the whole spectrum from fideistic to confirmed skeptic, although he was certainly much more of a threat to the former. Unfortunately, he devolved into a depressive nihilism as of late and as a result deleted his blog and all of his comments. Not only that, but he deleted the long-defunct, but much more valuable, godolhador.blogspot.com postings.

While I certainly support his right to do this, in a way a popular blog belongs to the world. Many people put enormous time and effort into leaving comments and maintaining debates, most notably his Kuzari debates with Rabbi Maroof (magendavidsephardic.blogspot.com). Although often repetitive to the point of monotony, the posts were still a great source for the seeker of religious and philosophic truth. So it was with some dismay to find that XGH didn't simply close his blog, but removed everything without consideration for the many contributors that made the blog what it was.

Although it is somewhat painstaking to do, Google Reader caches blogspot postings and one is still able to view old XGH postings, although not the comments. If you wish to save a copy of any or all of the postings, simple go to "Expanded view", keep scrolling down to load more postings, then copy and paste to Word or whatever format you like. (The whole thing is about 10 megs.) Anybody save a godolhador archive?

Whether XGH will post again (it's hard to keep a talented blogger down), I wish him luck in attaining whatever peace of mind is possible for such a turbulent soul.


Jewish Atheist said...

This is the fourth or fifth time he's done this. Very dramatic. I agree it's just wrong of him to delete all of the posts and our comments.

Anonymous said...

Not to stroke XGH's ego too much, but his blog was train reading for me so I've printed just about every post (with comments) and have many of them sitting neatly in my home. Anyone want to scan a billion or so pages of blog? :-)

FriedFalafel said...

I have sympathy for XGH's predicament. He must be suffering on many levels - social, familial, and psychological, to have done what he did - and I consider this much worse than what he did previously, since he has now deleted everything related to his blogging career.

I can't help thinking though that he'll soon regret his latest action. His record resembles that of an addict, who goes on and off his addiction, each time trying more severe means to cut off the addiction for good.

I guess more than anything I'm just... disappointed. It's one thing not to find a balance point in life with which you can be happy. It's another to regret everything you've gone through and wish a return to innocence, when everything was (seemingly) harmonious in your life. But it's an altogether different thing to destroy years of work and discussion - your own but especially that of others. The whole thing smacks of childish destructiveness, and I just have to repeat... I'm disappointed.

Anonymous said...

so... we gonna start a Jewish Skeptics group blog?

Frum Heretic said...

FriedFalafel, I agree with your sentiments. Very well put.

Anonymous - plenty of skeptics in the blogosphere, but XGH will be hard to replace!

Baal Habos said...

Nice post, and that's a good observation, his blog was not a one man show, but was fueled by his readers and commenters.

David said...


Maybe we could found a new sect of Judaism, founded on the belief that XGH is moshiach, and that, one day, he will rise again and lead the unbelievers in circles.

-suitepotato- said...

XGH seems to me to be neurotic of the sort coming with long-term untreated/self-treated manic-depression.

He needs help, but he seems not to be currently in a state to listen to advice which is necessary for forward progress towards stability.

His chief nag seems to be a strong tension in his mind and heart between Orthodoxy and reason but this is nothing new. Most everyone fails to grasp the differences between faith and fact, belief by choice and proof, action guided by belief and ritual observance. In his case the anxiety-ridden state he is prone to has reacted badly to it, and he over time became somewhat obsessed. Hence the repetitive nature of his posts.

I wish him well.

offthederech said...

Living a double life sucks.
I don't blame him; I blame God.

Frum Heretic said...

Maybe we could found a new sect of Judaism, founded on the belief that XGH is moshiach, and that, one day, he will rise again and lead the unbelievers in circles.

I love it! Certainly XGH has come back from the dead more than once. And maybe moshiach has to endure the angst of doubt and despair before his ultimate personal redemption that culminates in an authentic, Torah-true perspective. I mean, look at what Shabbatai Tzvi had to undergo before he... oh wait, he became a kofer and died in ignominy.

Rich Perkins said...

off the derech - I couldn't agree with you more about leading a double life. I am married and have become a skeptic/agnostic over the past few years.

While my wife knows I am not interested in OJ per se, she has no idea the extent of my beliefs. I stay with her and lead an outwardly OJ life, but it can be very frustrating at times.

I plan on posting about this on my blog, but the fact that I now live in Israel has made some of this a bit easier.


Frum Heretic said...

Rich, I have added your blog to Google Reader and look forward to your perspectives of living a double life in Israel.

Rich Perkins said...

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. Btw, I have started to compose two complementary posts. one will be about why I made aliyah and the second will be about living as a skeptic in israel.

so have a look back over the next few days.

The Hedyot said...

I have an archive of all the old Godol Hador posts. Not the comments though. I started saving it after he took it down once, but then restored it. I figured this day would come eventually.

Frum Heretic said...

There are some priceless Godol Hador posts. Clever, funny, thought provoking. I wonder if there would be any issues (legal or otherwise) with dedicating a locked-down, no comments blog for those old posts?

Anonymous said...

the hedyot -

you must re-post them all as frum heretic suggests. It's not morally wrong, at least not objectively, GH proved that before.

I wonder which of the above posters is really GH in disguise?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -
can you please contact me,
my email is pondering.avrech@gmail.com
you said that you have XGH stuff and want to copy it.
thanks alot.