Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blog Readers Come In All Shapes And Sizes

When you put yourself out there as a regular and consistent daily blogger and build up a sizeable audience of readers like I have, then it should not be surprising to learn that your readership is quite an eclectic group of people. Sure, we all have a common bond around the subject of livin' la vida low-carb here, but that doesn't mean we all think and believe the same way. Thank God!

Wouldn't life be pretty drab if all of us were exactly the same? UGH! I think I'd lose my mind if it weren't for the variety that life tends to throw my way from time to time. Of course, that drives my wife Christine nuts because she loves the stability of predictability. But give me the ebb and flow of life any day of the week, baby!

With that said, sometimes the changing tide can get a little more intense than I would prefer it, though. For example, a major company in the United States had someone contact me at 11:00pm on Friday night (yep, when the phone rings that late, it can't be good!) requesting that I remove a blog post I had previously written or they will contemplate forcing me to do so with legal action.

You heard me right--they threatened to sue me! This was the second time this has happened to me since I created my blog two years ago.

Okay, whatever, it's no big deal to me...I'll just remove the post. Sheeeez! And so I took the time to take it off of all the web sites I write for and gladly so. Again, it's no skin off my back one way or the other.

It is not and has never been my intention to cause harm to any business or individual with the columns I write about here at my blog. I only seek to stir up debate about issues that merit further discussion by taking a firm stance on what I believe is important. That scares some people and apparently some businesses, too.

It's kinda funny that this particular company seemed to think my column about them was some sort of viable threat. Sure, I reach over 100,000 readers in a month, but this is one of the most widely recognized brand names in the entire world sending their legal eagles after me over a blog post.

What are they thinking? Do I really wield THAT much influence that this multi-billion dollar company would come after an innocent individual for simply expressing an opinion about them that they disagree with? I wonder what they would do if I took their threat to a major news outlet like the New York Times or NBC News? Talk about your David vs. Goliath story!

I guess I should be flattered that I have a blog that even some of the biggest names in corporate America (and believe me, this is most certainly one of them!) takes notice of and feels threatened by what I write here. If I felt they were doing something that goes against what I believe, then I wouldn't hesitate sharing it with you and refusing to back down. That wasn't the case in this instance, so I pulled the post.

Freedom of speech and press is a precious constitutional right in the United States of America and I don't believe any company is beyond reproach from criticism. That' why I'll keep writing the way that I do and share my concerns when issues arise. Even still, this incident was nearly enough to make Christine have a heart attack!

Was it a full moon last night or what?! Oi!

Despite the distress that brought on my family late last night, then I got the following e-mail from one of my readers about what he thinks of me personally:

god are you an idiot

Ooookay. Aside from the fact that God should be spelled with a capital "G" since He is the creator of the universe and everyone already knows I'm an idiot (just ask Christine, she calls me that all the time! LOL!), what's your point? Some people just have way too much time on their hands these days.

Here was my cordial response back to him:

Why, THANK YOU! I appreciate your very kind compliments and hope you continue finding what you are looking for at my blog. Take care, my friend!

Not content with leaving good enough alone, I received a quick follow-up e-mail from this person with even more personal attacks against me.

Well I did discover something amazing when I read your blog. You could find someone to marry you. That is more amazing than the amount of lard you lost.

WOW, what a freakin' ritard! I wonder who peed in his Corn Flakes to have him go off on me in such a personal nature like that? But, you gotta love it because at least he's sharing what's in his heart of hearts. I think he actually has a crush on me and wants a date, but he's really not my type. Too boorish a man for me! :D

In the midst of all this negativity, though, came a singular ray of sunshine that is actually quite typical of the kind of e-mails I regularly receive from many of my wonderful readers. I don't know if it was because of those two back-to-back crazy experiences or what, but the following e-mail made me smile from ear to ear because this is what blogging is truly all about for me.


Your Web site is fantastic! Thank you so much for providing all this really valuable information! You're inspiring. It's really nice to see that other people have interest in this. I know it takes lots of time and money to provide this information--you're doing a good thing for health in our country and our world, thank you! Your site is very organized and your writing style is easy to read, concise, informative and engaging. Keep it up and thanks for sharing your stories, your life, your research!

All I can say to all the naysayers and haters of what I do here at my blog after reading an e-mail from one of my devoted and faithful readers like this one is go take your angst elsewhere. The "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog is all about providing an encouraging, uplifting, and positive safe haven for people desiring weight loss and better health.

It beats all I've ever seen to think ANYONE in this world would be opposed to such a noble and sincere mission, but indeed there are those who would like nothing more than to see me crash and burn. As long as there are hurting people looking for hope and inspiration to help them get through another day, then I'll keep on keeping on doing my best to edify and raise up their spirits any way that I can.

Being overweight or obese is hard enough emotionally that you merely want to connect with someone who understands what you are going through. When I weighed 410 pounds just three years ago, I would have LOVED a blog like the one I have here to learn about low-carb, read inspiring stories of weight loss success, find recipes and resources to help me on my lifestyle, and have open access to someone who has already been through the journey I am taking.

Hopefully, this blog is all of that for you and more. I stand ready to help you anytime you have a question or comment about the low-carb lifestyle and I will respond as quickly as possible to your inquiry. E-mail me anytime at

This just goes to show you that blog readers can most certainly come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Everyone is welcome to visit, interact, and learn (from the largest companies right down to that guy who lives out in the boonies!). It's what blogging is all about...even if the crazies tend to come out the woodwork from time to time! EEEEEK!

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Blogger Calianna said...

I trolled through the backlog to try to figure out which company it was that thought it was so important to have you cease and desist that they felt it necessary to call you in the middle of the night... then when I failed to see a certain recent post, I put one of the companies (I think there were two mentioned in the post) in the search engine.

(Dare I even mention the names of the two companies here? Or would they come after you again? Perhaps they'd send someone by your house to make sure you knew they meant business, at an even more ridiculous hour, say for instance 3am... Just to get their point across, of course.)

I followed that up with a regular google search for the one company and the product named, and couldn't help but notice when I clicked on the links Google was so accomodating as to still provide, that every one of the links to that particular subject on your pages was dead.

Sure would be easier to figure out which companies are so petty if you had a list of recent post titles in the sidebar. ;-)

And yes, I believe they really are being ridiculously petty - it wasn't like you said anything defaming either company (and I don't know which one it was that called you, but I have a pretty good idea which one it was.), you just pointed out some of the flaws in their new product - at least from a low carb perspective. I'm pretty sure there will be lots of low-fatters who will grab it up.

Since everyone *knows* low carb is dead, surely they don't think you have enough readership to affect their sales. And if low carb is so dead that you don't have much readership, what were they worried about, anyway? That perhaps low carb isn't so dead? That perhaps you were telling the truth?

2/17/2007 7:41 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Ah! Now that's a sharp analysis. Indeed, the truth is very inconvenient to those that live (or make a living) by distorting the truth... the Truth is a Threat.

"In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good." -- Mahatma Gandhi

2/17/2007 9:21 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

BTW: What did I say again, about the Sugar Empire striking back? Jimmy, do you happen to know whether this person who called you, to threaten you, at such a weird hour, perhaps was wearing a long black cape, a black helmet and had a severe case of asthma?

2/17/2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

I would have told them to stick it and kept the post up. This is a free country and if they can't take the heat, well you know.....

2/18/2007 2:37 AM  
Blogger TESS said...

This is very annoying. I want to know who the idiot company was that called at 11 pm. They have no class and must have a questionable product on the market to get so riled!

2/18/2007 8:08 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This just shows what an impact you are having by daring to question the status quo. It is good that you tell us that it happened, since some institutions try to keep you from mentioning that they have threatened you. Legal defense agencies such as the ACLU are now fighting these repressive actions and winning. Though they may have some undesireable qualities, there are times when I might really want the ACLU or other decent PR attorney on my side. Please continue to inform your readers of these attempted corporate repressions of your message. As you say, their identities are really not a secret.

2/18/2007 12:07 PM  
Blogger Darleen said...

Thank goodness the law requires listing ingredients and nutrients on cereal boxes or we would be eating 95% sugar and not know it. Read everything you can get your hands on before you eat a new product - the manufacturers are betting you never read beyond the front of the box. Stick with real food and you can't go wrong.
This is very upsetting that a person can't state their opinion about the choice to eat or not eat a food without a lawsuit looming over your head. I don't recall you telling anyone what to eat or not just that you wouldn't.
They can kiss this consumer goodbye for using these tactics!! Grrrr.

2/18/2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

I know which post was removed. It was the one about Alli/orlistat. What ever happened to free speech?

2/18/2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger FruitFly said...

I know you probably took it down because you don't want to deal with the trouble, and I can't really fault you for that. But I have to say, unless it was something that was patently false or actually libelous (and there's a lot of gray area there), they have no right to threaten you in any way. You are allowed to state your opinion on anything, anytime.

If I knew which post it was (if it's the orlistat post, you need to republish your archives as that post is still in your February archive) I'd copy it and quote it and reply on my own blog, just to see if I got threatened. I'm the kind of person that doesn't back down no matter what when it comes to my right of free speech, and thought I'm not a rich person by any means, I'll fight against any threat.

Actually, if anyone does know for sure which entry it was, follow my profile info to contact me and let me know. If I think it's worth the fight, I'm ready to go. I don't intend to make things harder for you, but this kind of thing really gets my hackles up.

I check by this blog ever so often to read up on low carb, and there are times when I find that I don't agree with some things you have to say on a frequent basis, but I would defend to the end your right to say it.

2/19/2007 1:01 AM  

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