Do You Like Bloggers That Reinforce What You Believe Or Challenge What You Believe?

a man in black blog shirt

If you are a mainstream media consumer like I am, you may be familiar with the New York Times op-ed section. I’ve been reading it for years, and although I am avowedly liberal, David Brooks, a moderate conservative, is my favorite columnist. Mainly because he writes columns like these:

Brooks is well-read. He’s a thinker. And he’s about as close to a philosopher as you’re going to get in political media. He really tries hard to weigh both sides of an issue and see things from all perspectives. This is the very thing I aspire to on this blog – and frequently fall short. Brooks divides writers into two categories: engaged and detached.

I’m not pulling for men; I’m helping you understand them.

“The engaged writer closely and intimately aligns with a team. In his writing, he provides arguments for the party faithful and builds community by reminding everyone of the errors and villainy of the opposing side. For the engaged writer, the writing is often not about persuasion. (Realistically, how many times does a piece of writing persuade someone to switch sides?) It’s often about mobilization. It’s about energizing the people who already agree with you. The detached writer wants to be a few steps away from the partisans. She is progressive but not Democratic, conservative but not Republican. She fears the team mentality will blinker her views. She wants to remain mentally independent because she sees politics as a competition between partial truths, and she wants the liberty to find the proper balance between them, issue by issue.”

I sincerely hope that you view me as detached, not engaged. I don’t have a team. I’m not pulling for men; I’m helping you understand them. I’m not pulling for women; they’re my client base, but they’re not always right. I try to help women understand men and men understand women, without judging anyone along the way.

And that is where some of my blog detractors seem to go awry – and why I believe even more firmly in my mission. When men in the “manosphere” get angry at me for favoring women and women on feminist blogs get angry at me for favoring men, I feel like I’m doing my job – explaining how the center thinks. Continues Brooks:

“The engaged writer enjoys a tight community and a powerful sense of commitment. The detached writer enjoys more freedom and objectivity. The engaged writer emphasizes loyalty, while the detached writer emphasizes honesty. At his worst, the engaged writer slips into rabid extremism and simple-minded brutalism. At her worst, the detached writer slips into a sanguine, pox-on-all-your-houses complacency and an unearned sense of superiority.”

Emphasizing honesty? An unearned sense of superiority? Yep, that sounds about right!

As the article concludes, “Detached writers generally understand that they are not going to succeed in telling people what to think. It is enough to prod people to think – to provide an idea or piece information that sets readers on a train of thought that takes them far in front of whatever you put down.”

That is all I hope to do here. As always, I thank you for reading and contributing.

Read the article here and share your comments below.

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  1. 1
    Jackie H.

    I like interesting bloggers…that’s it…if you are boring, it doesn’t matter that I agree with everything you say…

  2. 2

    Second that Evan. Thank you for your job!xox

  3. 3

    You’re totally detached, which is why I like your blog. I know a lot of people like to challenge what you say, but I really enjoy your honest style of writing and respect what you have to tell us women.  

  4. 4

    What haroldluver said! 🙂

  5. 5

    Evan, You get people to think and consider various alternatives and then take personal responsibility of their choices… the essence of a mature human being: flawed (as we all make mistakes) but unrelenting to a satisfying life because we all want it.   However, since many of us grew up with 27 min solutions (via TV or talk shows) and a overcompensated sense of self esteem and entitlement to happiness, the journey feel like a burden instead of an adventure to be enjoyed that creates wisdom to find and love the right woman.   You are on the right path.
    I see David Brooks typically on Meet the Press on Sundays; he is often progressive in his views but he is also a bit of a skeptic on large scale change mandated by groups or government.   But at the end of the day, he challenges my way of thinking, not demanding simple minded compliance to his POV.       Its a good model to follow.

  6. 6

    I am attached to your detachedness!

  7. 7
    Rachael Dez

    Evan – I’ve been a long time reader of your blog (literally years!) and this is the first time I have commented. Your blog is great – real, honest, upfront. Thanks to you and your advice I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in.
    I haven’t always liked what you had to say – but that’s the whole point! To challenge my own preconceptions. And you have certainly achieved that for me.
    Keep up the great blog – ignore the naysayers – some people just don’t want to hear the truth.

  8. 8

    Absolutely, what’s the point of reading something if it doesn’t inspire you or stimulate your thinking department?

  9. 9

    I feel drawn   to detached bloggers who are detached from the outcome of wanting to control others, who want to facilitate others in learning about themselves and others. Facilitating them in examining and observing   the reality of what is happening   Having the detached attitude of allowing them to choose to make their own minds up about things rather than by trying for force or control others to do what they think is best. When a blogger is in this place they will be calm and have a take it or leave it detached compassionate attitude, rather than and angry irate hatched to the outcome one.

  10. 10

    To me as an observer you appear like most bloggers, you fluctuate between the two   Evan.

  11. 11

    Hey Evan,
    Thanks for the link.   This notion of being detached sound like it is tapping into the capacity for dialectical reasoning aka being able to hold contradictory views in mind and weighing assessing them for their essential strengths and weaknesses with the understanding that you are biased by your own beliefs.
    Not everyone is mentally capable of this and of those that are, they still fall into the trap of being overly swayed by their own belief systems.  
    You clearly have the capacity to think this way but it doesn’t mean you aren’t swayed by your particular worldview.   It’s extremely hard not to be.   As long as we can understand our biases and openly acknowledge them then that’s about the best most of us can do.

  12. 12
    Karl T

    You’re not detached at all.   Things are what they are, it’s just that most people have a very hard time seeing or understanding it.   You’re just telling it the way it is and explaining why things are what they are.

  13. 13

    I love that quote, esp. the part about  politics being a “competition between partial truths”!   I concluded awhile back that in politics “both sides of the argument are true”, and that the current political parties are like people in  relationships who dig their heals in and  won’t listen.    When I say this to really political people I see a look of fear on their faces.   Morgan (comment #11) that  some people aren’t “mentally capable” of seeing both sides.   I wonder if they’re not capable or if they just don’t want to make the stretch.   I don’t know the answer.   Maybe I’ll check out that blog that  Evan quoted.   Thanks Evan!        

  14. 14

    I think you tell it how it really is, which is sometimes (ok, always) contradictory to what (garbage) women have been told by (crap publications like) Cosmo for most of their lives.

  15. 15
    Evan Marc Katz

    I would say that I’m not “detached” if, by detached you mean “emotionless”. I’m quite passionate about what I do, and feel very strongly that I represent something approximating objectivity. I AM detached, Rose, in that I don’t have a “side” that I represent. I’m not pro-men or pro-women. I’m a “reality-based” dating coach and I defend that reality passionately, when some readers prefer the fantasy world about how things should be.

  16. 16

    I have been reading this blog for years; I had a great deal to learn about men, as I married the only the 2nd boy I ever dated.   I dated him for 6 years and then was married to him for 12.   I knew nothing, was extremely naive and foolish at best when I discovered EMK’s blog.   I have learned alot; many times it was a bitter pill to swallow, but EMK has gotten through and the reason is, because Evan, you bottom line it for me.   You don’t speak in code, make me read between lines, talk in riddles, etc.   Give me the hard, cold facts and allow me to make informed choices.   I appreciate that.   And I really needed the smacks upside the head. 😀

  17. 17

    starthrower68 #16. All of what you said 😉 Especially about being a much needed smack in the head.
    Evan, I definitely view you as detached. Together with your honesty, humor, intelligence, and genuine desire to see women (and men) blossom and succeed in relationships, it’s precisely why I keep coming back.  
    I enjoy it when you reinforce what I already believe because it serves as a reminder pep talk, and makes me feel I’m on the right track. However, I LOVE it when you challenge me to examine a perspective I have not yet considered. It’s why I am here; to gain insight, learn and grow. Either way, I consider the perspective you provide to be unique, simple (painfully at times), and of enormous value.  
    I can only begin to understand how frustrating it can be. I occasionally impart some of the perspective you dish out, on my girlfriends, and the reaction I get is pure knee-jerk. Some might stop for a second to evaluate, but usually it’s a lot of exasperation and defensiveness. The most common reaction involves references to anti feminism. Which is silly because your particular brand of advice revolves around empowering women!
    You enable women to set themselves free from years of guesswork, games, insecurities, limiting attitudes, destructive advice and unhealthy relationships. You provide the tools for women to lose the anxiety, relax, trust, enjoy the process, make smarter choices and feel good about them. Women aren’t wrong for believing what they believe, they just weren’t taught any different. Till you. Please don’t stop doing what you do.

  18. 18

    Starthrower and Littlewing
    Well said!
    I have been reading your blog for a few months.   The advice has been invaluable.   You have helped me to be able to look at men without all the mystery and confusion, and as Littlewing said, I love it when you challenge my beliefs.   The biggest shift in my thinking so far has been realizing that relationships, good relationships are easy.   They don’t have to be work, work, work.   That concept alone has freed me to dream of new and exciting possibilities.

  19. 19

    I always enjoy your blogs as well….sometimes the other bloggers can get annoying when they want to have an on-going argument to push their own agenda.   Then I tend to skip that particlar topic after a while.
    I agree with LittleWing 17 – I will sometimes repeat what I have read here to my friends and they DO NOT LIKE IT!   The truth hurts sometimes, lol.   My favorite is the friends I have that are always setting their “booty call” guys straight (I told him if he doesn’t start calling me instead of texting me, if he doesn’t quit canceling on me at the last minute, blah, blah, blah) “if he is not your boyfriend after 3 months, or max 6 months, HE WILL NEVER BE YOUR BOYFRIEND – MOVE ON!   I got that one here, and I followed that rule. I may not like it either, but it is also true.  
    So you impact more people than you know, as many of us take what we read here and pass it on to others…they must get  very tired of me saying “well, Evan Marc Katz says…..keep up the good work

  20. 20
    Cheeky One

    There are things you write I agree with (that it not to argue with reality but to accept it) but there are areas where your reality does not agree with mine and it honestly turns me off where I’ve even considered unsubscribing (that is settling for less than I want). One area you have really helped me realize I was after the bad boy with tatts but that I’m really after the nice guy who adores me…if it wasn’t for you many of us wouldn’t have given the nice guy a try..but without a doubt you are passionate and a brilliant writer. I’m going to go so far and guess you’re a gemini….can you please please please confirm either way.
    I still dont get how you were the alpha male…you’re such a dag to me but can’t help but love ya.

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