Tag Archives: Jerry Seinfeld

State of the Blog: My Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2014

Delaware State Fair 2010

In some ways, 2014 was not my best year of blogging.

In other ways, it was excellent.

The not-so-good was in the quantity of posts.  I ended the year with 137 new posts. By my standards (admittedly, pretty high to begin with), that’s pathetic. How do you call yourself a blogger when you ONLY BLOG FOR A THIRD OF THE DAMN YEAR?!

But you know what? We’re not going to dwell on that. Another year is here and there’s always room for improvement, right?

Instead, I want to focus on the 10 most popular posts in 2014 here on the blog. By most popular, I’m talking number of views.

Unless you happen to be a big-name blogger with thousands of followers and a book deal (or three), every blogger wonders if anybody is out there reading. Even when you check your stats and see numbers that indicate that someone, somewhere in the world is paying attention, there’s still a lingering doubt that wonders if what you’re saying in this space makes a difference.

I’m not a big name blogger and I certainly don’t have a book deal (yet), but I know this: I’m incredibly proud of the 10 blog posts I wrote that received the most views in the past year. thanks to all of you. (Some of these were written pre-2014, but for various reasons, experienced a bit of increased traction over the past 12 months.

Links take you to the actual post.

10. The Sunday Salon: Yet Another Best Books of 2014 List
I love lists. I especially love lists that feature books. So, when everyone was sharing every possible incarnation of best books lists several weeks before the end of the year, I had to jump into the fray by offering up my list of “best books I read in 2014 that were published in 2014.” Apparently, other people like lists of books as much as I do. (That’s good because I have more such lists from 2014 in the works.)

9. Book Review: My Beef with Meat, by Rip Esselstyn
A post from 2013 that continues to get a decent amount of traffic. I’m not sure if this is linked someplace, but it resonates with people for some reason.  

8. Book Review: The Returned, by Jason Mott
I’m guessing that this review got some attention because of the TV show that it is based on. Of all the books I’ve reviewed, it was just okay … not one of my favorites.

Seinfeld - show

7. Punch Lines: On Jerry Seinfeld and Autism
When comedian Jerry Seinfeld mentioned in a November 2014 interview with Brian Williams that he thought he might be on the autism spectrum, several people saw Mr. Seinfeld’s statement as less than … what? Less than genuine? Less than heartfelt? In the ensuing backlash, I wrote, “If we truly believe that there isn’t one autism, then there’s no room for throwing punch lines when one of our own is vulnerable.  We need to truly reflect on what the meaning of “not one autism” means and we need to truly embrace the spectrum for what it is – as a place where we all need to co-exist together.  This isn’t a battle of who has the more difficult autism – because we are all fighting difficult battles.  And through it all, there is too much at stake for us, for our kids, for our friends and our loved ones.”

Kristin text

Text message Kristin Mitchell sent to her boyfriend, who was later charged with killing her. Photo credit: The Kristin Mitchell Foundation, www.kristinskrusade.org

 

6. forever 21: remembering kristin
I never met Kristin Mitchell, yet her murder at the hands of her boyfriend has profoundly affected me in a way I can’t quite put into words. I am humbled to use this space to remember her with this post (which has been repeated here several times) and to honor her memory however I can.

5. Book Review: Sea Creatures, by Susanna Daniel
My most popular book review, one that was written for TLC Book Tours in August 2013 but continued to get a lot of traffic this year. 

Philadelphia Flower Show

4. For Sonya
Probably my most controversial post, but one that I don’t regret publishing.  This case brings out the nasty in people in a way I never imagined.

3. #SaveDallas and a Piece of Our Childhoods
I was pretty active on Twitter during the six weeks after “Dallas” was cancelled by TNT and fans were trying to save this iconic show. Unfortunately, our effort wasn’t successful but I still think it was worth it.

Daffodils in snow 4

2. On National Adoption Day, Baby G. Still Waits
I am beyond humbled that this post is #2. Thank you for caring so much about Baby G. As we go into Year 4 of this ordeal, her story and that of my friends becomes even more heartbreaking and maddening. I hope and pray that 2015 is the year they are reunited as a family … because as we turn the calendar to another year without a resolution in this case, they are still waiting. (A disappointing update on this is that the ACLU of Wisconsin declined to take the case.)

And the most popular post of 2014?

1. Weekend Cooking: Hits and Misses with ALDIs LiveGFree Products
Seriously, I should send ALDI an invoice for this one because this has been my #1 top-ranked post since I hit publish on it back in May 2014. I even had the guy who worked on the LiveGFree packaging email me! For real. This has to be on some website someplace (I can’t figure out where) but it is has staying power. Who knew?

As I typically do at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on the blog and my writing and what I want I do here. I have some thoughts and goals, but would like to hear from you. What posts resonate with you most? Do you most enjoy the book reviews? The food posts? The advocacy posts, such as the ones about Kristin and G.? What do you want to see more of in 2015?

Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy and safe New Year!

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Punch Lines: On Jerry Seinfeld and Autism

Seinfeld - show

Welcome to the club.

That was my first reaction on Friday, upon reading news reports of Jerry Seinfeld’s comments that he believes “on a very drawn-out scale, [he thinks he is] on the spectrum.”

“Basic social engagement is really a struggle,” Mr. Seinfeld said, adding that he is “very literal” and has difficulty “paying attention to the right things.”

Turns out, those personal admissions might not be enough for some people to accept one of the world’s best-known and most-popular comedians into the autism club.

There have been no shortage of blog posts and commentary (some downright cruel) taking issue with Mr. Seinfeld’s revelations.  Over the weekend, I spent some time reading a lot of perspectives on this subject and (despite knowing better) too many online comments. And after seeing the backlash on social media, I wouldn’t blame Mr. Seinfeld if he never said another word about autism – his own or anyone else’s – ever again.

Which, in my view, would be a huge loss for so many people.

People like my son, who despite our best efforts to boost his self-esteem and encourage his talents, could benefit from more real-life, successful examples of living people with autism. (Sure, the likes of Einstein and Mozart are impressive, but to a kid who aspires to be a reality TV show host, Jerry Seinfeld is more relevant.)

Or, people like my friend Rich [name changed] who at 56 is giving serious consideration to those who have told him he may be on the autism spectrum. “But after reading what’s being said about Seinfeld,” Rich says, “I’m pretty sure it would just make me feel even more like I don’t belong anywhere.”

He’s referring to the backlash that has ensued since Mr. Seinfeld’s interview with Brian Williams. Because he’s a comedian, some feel as if Jerry Seinfeld was somehow minimizing the very real aspects of autism and self-diagnosing himself with a condition that is best left to the professionals.

I don’t see it that way. What I saw from Jerry Seinfeld was a candid statement from someone who felt comfortable disclosing something that he has more than likely pondered for some time.  Mr. Seinfeld is clearly familiar with and identifies with some of the traits of people on the autism spectrum. Obviously I don’t know the guy, but I’d imagine this isn’t the first such conversation he’s had. His comments were honest, reflective and thoughtful – not mean-spirited or belittling, as others have insinuated.

The comment that I’m concerned about is the one that’s not going to make headlines.

“I’m pretty sure it would just make me feel even more like I don’t belong anywhere.”

That’s what I keep coming back to.  My friend Rich and all the others like him who wonder what kind of response he’ll get if he mentions his own struggles with social interactions and tendency to take things literally.

People have said Seinfeld should get himself to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis.

I’m no expert on Seinfeld’s medical situation – or my friend’s, for that matter – but when you’re 56 years old in this healthcare day and age and you think you may be autistic, I’m pretty certain seeking medical attention is easier said than done.  Where do you go?  And what does such a diagnosis get you at this stage in life, anyway? Legitimization in the eyes of the autism community?

If that’s what we’re after, I think that’s a dangerous path. It’s sure as hell not one I’m interested in walking down.

But that’s what we’re asking of Jerry Seinfeld, isn’t it?  To prove it before we accept him as one of us, as a member of this club?

Aren’t we better than this?  Don’t we want to be better than this?

Perhaps we should consider the possibility that Jerry Seinfeld thought there truly was nothing wrong with a casual, yeah-you-know-I-think-I-might-kind-of-maybe-sort-of-have autism approach. Perhaps its how he has coped all these years.

Tears of a clown and all that.

Perhaps it is the only way he knew how to tell us what he has wanted to tell us for so many years.

And who are we to judge? If we truly believe that there isn’t one autism, then there’s no room for throwing punch lines when one of our own is vulnerable.  We need to truly reflect on what the meaning of “not one autism” means and we need to truly embrace the spectrum for what it is – as a place where we all need to co-exist together.  This isn’t a battle of who has the more difficult autism – because we are all fighting difficult battles.  And through it all, there is too much at stake for us, for our kids, for our friends and our loved ones.

All of them need the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, whether they know it or not.

And we owe it to them to accept him into this club.

 

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