Self-censorship

I have gone back and edited a post on here, at the request of someone mentioned in it.

And I have written posts I’ve never intended to publish, usually because they talk too intimately about someone else. (Writing helps me make sense of my thoughts, so these unpublished pieces serve an important function.)

Once I wrote something that I intended to publish, but decided against at the last minute. It was about a work issue and reactively written – a childish, angry mess.

Is prudence the same as censorship?

I’m not going to publish a post I haven’t written about my new job.

I’m not angry, just frustrated, but something tells me maybe I should exercise a bit of caution. It might get messy, it might not. I don’t know. Hopefully I can figure it out and resolve things soon.

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7 Comments»

  S wrote @

No I do not see prudence being the same as censorship. For that matter foolhardy and bravery are not the same either 😎

I read about people being sacked/diciplined for facebook entries.

  Grill wrote @

I’ve been in trouble twice from blogging / social networking – once almost lost me my job (criticised my then-editor, not a good move) and the other broke up my then (failing, needing to be bolt-gunned) relationship.

That said, I’ve always admired your forthright honesty in your writing and I’ll lament the loss, or even the diminuation of that.

  elle wrote @

Hmm. I have been pondering the distinction between censoring yourself and not feeling like writing about something.

In this corner of the internet, I am editor and arbiter of content. There is no brief, no obligation. I write for the self-centred reason that it orders my thoughts while indulging my exhibitionism.

There are lots of half-formed posts in my head – some of them will get written up and published at some point, others will be forgotten.

Plus there are things in my life that rarely get written about – notably fights with the Boy. I know that he stops by sometimes, and I don’t think it would be fair for him to read online something that I haven’t tried to talk through with him first.

Because of this, I wait until we’ve discussed things before writing anything here, except (the joys of communication) talking tends to resolve the problem, which removes the desire to commit thoughts to paper.

So, does the *reason* for not writing make a difference to the *fact* of not writing? Ad absurdum (Adam Surdum) says yes:

Why don’t you write about pink shoes? – It’s never occurred to me to do so. – Ok.

Pink shoes fascinate me, but this guy has a gun to my head and will shoot me unless I write about orange shoes. – Not so ok.

But when it’s just me, generating and moderating alone, when where how does that line get drawn?

  Grill wrote @

Well, the situation here is that you do want to post about this thing, or did, and there’s something internal obstructing you – similar to what the ancient greek’s called akrasia “moral incontinence” – knowing what the good thing is, wanting to do the good thing, but doing the bad thing instead.

In this situation you feel, as a free person, you should be able to post whatever you like, but feel constrained by a moral pressure, which feels external but is really part of you, to post something else. It’s just a case of clashing motives, really, and in that situation prudence is self-censorship.

Being prudent really is no fun, though, is it? Because blogging is like a diary that your friends are prying into – if they opt in, you feel, they shouldn’t whinge.

  elle wrote @

Akrasia. A new and interesting word, thank you. I think being able to balance desire against judgment is quite handy. Imagine the hilarious sociopathy that would ensue otherwise.

Thanks for the thoughts. On the last point, when I started writing here, a few people who’d expected travel journal stuff stopped reading when it got more personal.

My initial reaction was to apologise and make concessions, but I realised I would rather have fewer people reading than to have to worry about the effect I was having on my audience.

Which is why one of the posts on the pending list is about a teenaged sexual encounter that may or may not have been a violation – very personal, intriguing topic.

I am all about lines in the sand at the moment…

  elle wrote @

>>My audience

Hah! Almost makes navel-gazing sound noble.

Incidentally, another friend complained that I always spoil the navel-gazing by pointing it out. Good job I don’t care what he thinks!

  amillionthingstosmileabout wrote @

I enjoy reading your words.
How would you like to become a contributor on my site? You seem pretty into life and know what you want.
let me know.


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