Walking Off Into the Sunset

MediaShack readers,

The time has come for me to announce my retirement from the blogosphere.

I no longer have the motivation to consistently write good posts  on the Middle East.  Rather than let the quality slip,  I will be walking away from the blog, Michael Jordan style.

A special thanks goes out to all those who contributed to MediaShack  through writing comments.  I as well as other readers have learned an enormous amount from hearing different perspectives, many coming  from  people with experience and knowledge of the Middle East far greater than mine.

I also also want to thank all those who contributed as posters, and especially Blackstar for constant editorial guidance and not hesitating to tell me to shut the %^&* up on the few occasions when I may have written something stupid or outrageous.

It’s been fun.  Keep it real,


40 Responses

  1. I assume this is not up to debate, huh?

  2. Oh, come on… can’t you just draw down on posting instead?

  3. You will be missed! Now that you’re retiring, you should reveal your true identity. My guess:

    Grad student studying / doing research in Egypt.

    By the way, what was the big media surprise you kept promising me?

  4. Rob,
    Please reconsider. This blog is the reason why I never get any work done. Now, I’ll have no bloody excuse!!!!

  5. Now to whom will I deliver my mail?

  6. Alle,
    Would the Beatles have the same luster they do today, if, after they got sick of each other and broke-up in 1970, they then insisted on putting out some lower quality post-breakup albums simply for the sake of keeping it going?

    Appreicate it. The big surprise still hasn’t happened.

    So shouldn’t you be thanking me?

    The Mailmain,
    Same place.


  7. Dang, Rob, my Arabic’s terrible. who’s gonna do the legwork now?

    Good luck with the next phase …

  8. Rob,

    Sorry see you go. I’m not surprised to hear this, though. Blogging takes a lot of time. It gets to the point that one thinks, why am I doing this when I have other things do do by which I reap greater rewards (broadly defined).

    It is not all for naught, however; writing about things helps to clarify one’s thoughts. Your conclusions and insights will come back in some other form.

  9. It’s not the sunset; it’s a new dawn!

  10. Rob,
    Take care of yourself. It was good knowing you and I hope to meet you one day. Don’t say “divorced” three times though. You might want to come back and give your two cents on something.

    I said goodbye to a website I had been participating in for three years. I won’t quote it all but I will reproduce some wise words from Mark Twain:

    “I am bidding the old city and my old friends a kind, but not a sad farewell, for I know that when I see this home again, the changes that will have been wrought upon it will suggest no sentiment of sadness; its estate will be brighter, happier and prouder a hundred fold than it is this day. This is its destiny, and in all sincerity I can say, So mote it be!” (Mark Twain)

    Take care, Rob, and God bless you …

  11. Would the Beatles have the same luster they do today if after they got sick of each other and broke-up in 1970, then insisted on putting out some lower quality post-breakup albums simply for the sake of keeping it going?

    What prevented a reunion was Lennon getting shot, wasn’t it? So stay clear of the crazies.

    Seriously though, this has been a wonderful blog — esp. but not only the commentary on Islamist politics. Wish you all the best, and I hope you stick around commenting, at the very least.

  12. Did you have such a good time on vacation you decided you’d rather not come back? ;D

    Seriously, though, enjoy your now blog-less existence. I’ll tell you to enjoy, but won’t hold out any expectation that you’ll stay away – the blogosphere is an addiction that never goes away.

  13. Rob,

    Your voice will be missed. I always looked forward to your take because you often sought to challenge conventional wisdom. Whether or not the readers agreed, a healthy debate ensued. Please do return.

  14. Semi-Expert, John,
    Absolutely— flushing out ideas on a daily basis has been tremendously useful, so I have no regrets whatsoever. But as you know, blogging takes up a certain amount of time. Eventually it gets to the point of “what’s the point of this?” And much thanks for the good comments.

    Yeah, something like that. I realized that I didn’t have the motivation to start back up again…

    Jeff and Tim,
    Much Thanks

    yeah I’ll stick around as a commenter here and there.

  15. Listen Rob,
    If you have made a decision then the only thing I could say, and I think Semi-Expert would agree with me on this is, اسْتَخِير اللهَ . A non religious translation would probably be “Really think it over.” I think I understand why you want to leave: you have been writing too often. Sometimes I would look over at your blog and see 3 or 4 postings and, like you have said correctly, it takes time away from you. Why don’t you post something of your own every two weeks? Let people send you their feedback and observations. I am writing something concerning the release of Al-Maqrahi and summarizing AbdulBari’s opinion. What I am writing is nothing and it takes time. I was and I am still thinking of sending you a copy.

    What I am trying to say is don’t feel obliged to entertain your readers every other day or even every week because you will take the joy away from writing. Try every two weeks or three. You will notice the difference. Sometimes a picture is more eloquent than words and can receive interesting feedback.

    Anyway, توكَّل على الله and كل عام وأنتم بخير .


  16. Man ! you can’t do that to me!

    I just posted my second post on this that i just discovered and started to appreciate and enjoy!

    I guess you can!…lol.

    Thanks to you i discovered some great resources on Egypt (CairoScholars) and about learning arabic. In just that little time span. So please, although you might feel drained by consistently and often writing, don’t think it was in vain.
    I am convinced that many others, just like myself, have benefited from your blog.
    I think John’s suggestion was on the spot and wise. But if you still stick to your gun, thank you again and توكَّل على الله.


  17. Hate to see you go, I’ve enjoyed the site. But I wish you all the best in whatever you do.

  18. شكرا لوقتك, Rob. And شكرا for the efforts you’ve made on your guide to getting good at Arabic so we neophytes may follow in your footsteps. This was a great blog.

  19. allah ma3k ya ustadh. shufak ba3dain.

  20. I will miss the blog…one of my favorite news sources. Best of luck on your future endeveros.

  21. This was one of the very best blogs on the Middle East and I’m sad to see it go. Good luck!

  22. Don’t you know what a bad idea it is to walk into a sunset? You could get burned!

    Seriously, I will miss your blog on my feed reader. So long and thanks for all the memories.

  23. Enjoy the break and best of luck with future projects!

  24. You know, I just realized something. That Michael Jordan analogy is bad, since he did come back. Will we be expecting you at some point?

  25. I haven’t commented much, but as a loyal reader I wanted to thank you again, and I hope that this site thrives and welcomes new contributors you admire respect. It’s a fantastic resource.

  26. all, thanks for the kind words.

    Zen Pundit,
    Keep up the good work at tour blog, I’m a regular reader.

    Who knows? It did take MJ quite a while to get un-burned out from basketball before he came out of retirement.


  27. Come on, Rob. Make a transformation (transformations can be spiritual as well as physical). Make Arab Media Shack a forum. You will have even more fun and work less. You can even ban people if they get out of line …

  28. I don’t believe it. Lookng forward to the “Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to return to the blogosphere…” post, in about three and a half months or so from now.


  29. To be honest, Rob, I’d rather have a bunch of mediocre posts from you than no posts at all. At least the former leave room for debate.

  30. Matt, Qifa,

    Brett, John,
    What really cealed the deal for me was a concert I recently attended. At one point in the 1980s, this particulur band was selling out 15,000 seat arenas, but I saw them playing in front of 200 people at a local bar. It was pretty pathetic. Sometimes its best to just call it quits — all good things must come to an end right? MediaShack wants to go out on top, not get remembered as the blogosphere’s equivalent of some washed-up 80s hair band…..

  31. I think your analogy is erroneous. First of all, you are writing about topics which interest you and, by the way (at the same time) interest others such as myself.

    Maybe you need to take some time off and think about transforming the blog into a type of forum where you would just have to supervise once in a while to make sure everything is going smooth.

    Or maybe you should just write less.

    There is one thing I will tell you, the Arab-Islamic world is more explosive than ever and I think you will find some interesting stuff to reflect upon. And like I have previously said, we readers could occasionally share our thoughts on some of the issues. If you deem them publishable according to Arab Mecdia Shack standards then you can embark on a transformation.

    Anyway, enjoy your free time and rest.

    P.S. Who was the group you saw?

  32. This is a shame, but I wish you well. Please do not abandon the domain and come back when you can. Thank you for the edifying commentary.

  33. Very sad indeed, Rob.

  34. Thanks Rob. Always enjoyed your posts !

    take care

  35. This was a great blog, I’m sorry to see you go.

  36. Thanks and all the best to you now and in the future

  37. Sad news indeed! Hope you change your mind after a few weeks or months.

  38. you can’t you just stop ?

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