Comments Policy

You’ll notice that sometimes I don’t allow comments on a post.  That’s usually because the post is primarily composed of someone else’s work, or because someone’s given me permission to use its contents. I turn off comments for these posts because it doesn’t seem fitting to expose someone who’s been nice enough to let me use their stuff to the risk of nasty comments.

Something I’ve said, or something that’s been posted on the Internet for all to see, is one thing.  But when we’re dealing with someone who gave permission, and who didn’t actively seek out this forum, common courtesy demands they be shielded from insults. Now the situation would be different if I could count on respectful, substantive commentary (which is what 98% of my readers deliver). But alas, as experience proves, you can’t always count on civility, or people knowing how to disagree without being disagreeable. As Eric Hoffer once said: "rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength."

If you disagree with this policy, your objection is hereby duly noted. Start your own blog, and run the comments however you wish. (But soon after, you will see my point. Trust me.) If you disagree with this policy because it inhibits your ability to post ad hominem attacks and snide insults, go away. This blog is run on the principle of enlightened absolutism, not democracy. I reserve the right to delete any comment which I find pointlessly offensive. I’ve already had to remove one comment that contained defamatory remarks. Of course, I only have to "disappear" comments once in a blue moon. Let’s keep it that way.

10 thoughts on “Comments Policy

  1. “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”

    Unfortunately (or not, but it’s an observation) it has been my experience that strong people can be quite rude. That applies not only to physical strength, but also to people who can argue convincingly or argue from a position of power.

    Well, I have written a few things in comments here that were at least somewhat biting. I hope that I didn’t violate the boundaries all too often.


  2. Yer a @$@%#@# fascist, especially for posting excerpts of Kahlberg’s stimulating piece while precluding incisive commentary by which I might enlighten your beknighted $!#@!$@ readers.


  3. I’ve been reading some of your work on German-American relations and have found it quite facinating. I’m going on a student exchange to Germany in a couple of months and would like to carry myself with some semblance of decorum…could you recommend me anymore literature or personal advice so that in my enthusiasm I don’t insult my host or her family? Thank you for your blogs on German culture and other miscellaneous information.


  4. Hi Lauren, I’m not Andrew, but I have an excellent recommendation for you. We just bought several coopies of Susan Stern’s “These Strange German Ways and the Whys of the Ways” from Atlantik-Brücke (2000) for my husband’s Indian co-workers.

    There are a couple of earlier editions available under the same title, which are quite different (even by a different author), and which I don’t know. The 2000 edition has been completely re-worked. It was a bit hard to get exactly this one, we ordered it from Continental Books. Later editions should also be ok, though.

    It’s also available from


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