petty censorship, pt I

i have been pressured to 'take down' apparently 'inflammatory' parts of an old blog post that refer to someone i don't care for. i had considered the matter put to bed nearly six months ago, but fresh pressure now comes from an organizational entity that has offered me 'the chance' to remove the comments before they issue a formal letter of 'complaint' to the organization.

why there is still interest in this blown-out-of-proportion issue is BEYOND me. what is the fuss about? expressions of dislike – sentiments about someone that are not unknown to folks within the organization. i certainly didn’t breach any agreements or contravene any rules. most importantly, i did nothing to warrant organizational intervention of any kind. i did nothing wrong, and that would be true whether i hold a titled position in the org or not. the blogosphere is a place for people to express themselves, freely. my modest page within it is a personal place where i explore 'the line', sometimes nudging it. i stand behind what gets said here, and have welcomed all kinds of commentary – positive or negative. i feel pretty strongly about the integrity of this medium, and my own integrity as a dabbler in it.

so … when unofficially approached in december via the org with the suggestion to remove the comments and/or apologize for them, i chose to do neither. i did, however, write a letter to the person in question. in it, i committed to not blog about her again and to remain professional in our interactions. i invited her to get back to me if she wanted to discuss things further. she did not. and that was that. the post in question never occurred to me again.

but oh gosh, now it’s a scandal, anew.

while i suppose i should be flattered that this much attention (aka pertinence) is being given this page, i mostly feel sad that some colleagues have little better to do than obsess over a handful of my words instead of focusing on any small piece of the critical work so desperately needed in our organization. i also find it fascinating that a remark about how unpalatable i find someone elicits this absurd backdoor response, yet no concern has ever been raised over any of the bazillion negative things i’ve said about the Party. twisted thought policing, i think … hardly the democratic principles we are supposed to espouse.

to attempt to activate recourse that has no business being activated implies a motive that does nothing to help your case. don’t drag organizational letterhead into this – first of all, it doesn’t belong here whatsoever, and secondly, doing so only fortifies the criticism in question.

seems to me the best defense against negative comments is to conduct oneself in a manner that would contradict them. in other words, prove the naysayer wrong by going about doing good, integrity-filled work. and when you or your protective friends want to lash back, doing so in an appropriate, impersonal way would better make the point.

that’s my strategy, anyways. being a firey chick with a big mouth – never mind any sort of leader or head of something – means people dislike me. for better or worse, it comes with the territory. far worse shots have been taken at me than the words at the centre of this here (mini) storm, but i pick my battles carefully. i find it more vindicating to keep at the work and activism that i believe speak well for me than to heed the small sticks and stones. we should all be too busy for that.

so my decision to remove the comments is not about intimidation or fear of a baseless letter. this is about hoovering the pesky crumbs that insist on creeping back onto my plate. it would be a waste of everyone’s time to give the complaint any time. plus it would be exasperating for me to have to challenge this attack as without merit. and it'd be downright embarrassing for those trying to make a case out of it.

so to anyone who has been offended or hurt by something said here (or anywhere else on the net, really), i say this: pay no attention to me. really. or else get into it with me. or else get a page of your own and get things off your own chest. that’s what the blogosphere is all about ... a free exchange of ideas - discomforting honesty, icky words, and all.


Blogger Audra said...

Oh man I want to know the back story here SO BADLY!

1:31 p.m.  
Blogger accidental altruist said...

yeah. I want to complain!
You don't mention me here at ALL! People should count themselves lucky they show up on your radar. Sheesh. I don't get any words written on Pamusement! It's an affront, really.

1:01 p.m.  

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