"if you don't like this stuff, you don't have to read it".
Now to be fair, I had been close to the bone with my comment, and much credit to him for publishing rather than quietly suppressing it, but at first I was a bit put out. Then I wondered how I would have reacted if I had received that sort of comment on my blog. In the end, I felt a bit uncomfortable about it all, and was pleased to give him the last word, even though I didn't agree with him because it is, after all, his blog. It did feel a bit like going into someone's living room and shouting at them.
On the other hand, why do we blog if not to get a reaction? The internet is a public space in which anyone can see what you've written. Shouldn't we expect them to exercise a right of reply? There are some blogs which seem to be read only by mutual admiration societies, if the comments are anything to go by, everyone rushing to agree with the opinions being peddled that happily coincide with their own. You fear to post a negative comment on these, in case the crowd rounds on you and stones you.
Most the comments I get are quite friendly, which is nice but doesn't generate much debate. Of the negative ones, most are so banal that I can't bear to publish them, usually sub-trolling of the "Church of England is rubbish" variety. I like to think that I welcome genuinely critical comments, hopefully not too insulting, but taking issue with me in an intelligent and responsive way. Bring it on! I wonder just what level of dissent other bloggers are prepared to tolerate?