I have a few more posts on the Tea Party GOP's hate of the poor as demonstrated by their cruel attack on food stamps that I will be offering up later today and tomorrow. But, I wanted to take a brief moment to work through the following issues and questions a bit more.
I would like to thank the folks who chimed in on this earlier post on Godwin's Law and truth-telling as it relates to writing online. Your thoughts were very much appreciated. As I outlined there, I am trying to work through the bigger meta-question of how trying to be an acknowledged member of the commentariat often involves one's compromising their intellectual integrity in order to package an idea to fit within the approved bounds of public discourse.
Styles make fights; we often have to modify our style to get the big payday.
There is a related question here: how do those of us who write online on our own blogs, websites, or in traditional print, learn to censor ourselves (or not) for fear of consequences if we deviate from what the/our public/audience expects from us?
For bloggers and others who participate in online social media one of the options is to free yourself by turning off the comments on a respective post. John Scalzi, one of my favorite writers and online personalities has done some yeomen's work exploring this issue. As he details, there are many advantages to turning off comments. Primarily, a given writer is freed from anxiety about comments, self-censorship, and writing for the purposed of increasing traffic and hits.
And given that one of the trends in blogging is that much of the commenting occurs off site on Twitter and elsewhere, for many very talented online writers, it makes sense to turn off comments in order to free their creative voice from the fear of approval and disapproval on the part of readers.
I appreciate that perspective. But for many online writers who practice their craft seriously, and on a consistent and deliberate basis, the comments of their readers are a resource. I count myself among that group.
However, there is still a sense of being confined by expectations and consequences if you step outside of the box that your readers and fans have constructed. Your readers made you. Your readers can break you.
One of my challenges is always doing my best to say what I truly believe and think regardless of the consequences. However, living up to such a principle can be very difficult.
If we write for comments and hits there is the great risk of being imprecise and a provocateur just for the sake of driving traffic to a given post, and your website, more generally. I would imagine that when advertising is a variable in the incentive structure rewarding one's online work, the temptation must be even greater.
I try to free myself from those self-imposed boundaries by being my own random self whenever possible. For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, these last few days I have felt like one of the characters from the underrated movie The Devil's Rejects.
I am the angry clown. What is my fear in sharing such a sentiment? I am worried that folks will bring in the political correctness police as opposed to understanding the politics of pleasure and impolitic indulgence that we as human beings should allow ourselves.
What is your favorite anti-hero who you become in your daydreaming fantasies when you are not interested in performing the politics of respectability, pleasing others, or alternatively are having a bad day and not interested in bourgeois norms of politeness and self-censorship?
For those of you who write online, have blogs or other websites, how often do you self-censor and self-police for fear of how others will respond to your honest and sincere thoughts on a given subject or topic?