The Hostel Life is run by cowards

I recently read an excellent article by Shambling After about her time in a bathhouse in Istanbul. Take a look. The event clearly represents a significant moment for her, and I think it obviously deserves a bit of respect. As such, when I saw it reposted on The Hostel Life I wanted to leave a quick comment of praise. I did, but then I thought about it a little more. The title. It’s…it’s awful:

Rub-a-Dub-Dub in a Hamam Tub

The article is the same, but this really does it a disservice. This wasn’t some trite throwaway piece meant to bring about a quick chuckle from the audience. Anyone who reads the article – and you should – won’t be able to avoid realizing it has clear emotional gravity to the writer. I think she conveys that fact admirably, which is why she gave it an intelligent title on her blog. Unfortunately, the yellow rubber ducky image The Hostel Life implants in the reader’s mind is misleading and a poor way to start any serious writing. I had to leave a second comment to voice my opinion:

Incidentally, while this article is absolutely wonderful, I think the title is misleading. “Rub-a-Dub-Dub” implies a light-hearted, whimsical piece. It sounds to me like this was a significant experience for the writer, something which carries with it striking weight for her even today. It would be nice if the title reflected that.

I actually went ahead and made it a point to save that because I had my suspicions. The Hostel Life is one of those sites that moderates all comments. That tells me they aren’t very interesting in discussion they can’t control, and when they do have control, they’re going to be censor-happy. Even though my comment could only be described as respectful constructive criticism, I got the distinct sense that some coward wasn’t going to approve it.

It looks like I was right.

It has now been a full week since I attempted to comment on the unrepresentative title and nothing has appeared. The first comment I left praising the piece showed up within hours. It’s hard to tell if anyone else has commented in the News section since my second attempt because there are no time stamps on comments, but I find it difficult to believe no administrator has looked at the submitted reader posts since January 14th. It seems that the most reasonable conclusion is that there is some censorious asshat over at The Hostel Life that can’t deal with a little well-intended criticism.

It’s too bad, too. Bathing in Istanbul is a great article – with a great title to boot.

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