Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Post that got removed

So some of you early risers may have noticed a wee post on the blog yesterday morning that isn’t there any more. It got “censored.” Which prompted me to think, in the ensuing discussion, about censorship and the internet and what sort of lines we draw while living our lives out publicly on the internet. (And by publicly, I mean to the dozen or so of you that visit on a regular basis, and all you other occasional stragglers!)

So I put up a little post the night before last about an incident that happened to Steve at work. The professionally inappropriate actions of one of the members of one of the many shows that he’s working on right now, cause me to raise my eyebrows in shock and wonder, and I posted about it right here, avoiding names of people or places. It was just a little “what’s up with that?” to an audience of like minded people, that I knew would also go “what’s up with that?” Then we’d all have a little head shake, ponder momentarily about the crazy lives we lead, and then go on with our days.

Except Steve didn’t like it.

He didn’t feel comfortable with me posting about stuff that happened to him at work, something that he mentioned to me in a phone conversation, perhaps feeling a little agitated about the situation in the heat of the moment. The situation was not exactly as he explained it to me on the phone, or as I posted about it, and it was dealt with quickly when he got to work. It was really no big deal. Except it was a big deal that I wrote about it. I wasn’t asked to erase it, but I did, understanding somewhat why it bothered him.

Steve said what if so-and-so reads it? And I said if so-and-so is going to be such a goofball, maybe he should read it, so he can realize what a goofball he’s being! Steve said he didn’t want to have to worry about censoring his conversations with me, fearing that something he says may inadvertently wind up on the internet, and hurt someone’s feelings. I thought he was over reacting. This is the second time I’ve erased a work related post – the first one also being about a goofball moment on the part of an unnamed director - he didn’t like that one either.

I mean, I kind of understand where he’s coming from. Work being work, home being home. But anybody who’s ever worked in the theatre industry knows that work often follows you home (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally!) and work and play more often than not go hand in hand.

I try to keep things light and humorous around here, with the occasional digression into rants on Dumb People, and chemicals in soap. I don’t post about really private stuff, I don’t share gossipy rumors, and I am able to keep my mouth shut for as long as needed when people tell me they’re pregnant!! I post things that I think you, the internet, will find entertaining. And I tell myself that it is my choice to post my thoughts here – you have the choice whether you want to read them, or not.

This blog is about our life, here in the country. Griffin, Steve, Dudley, our friends and family are all part of that life. Some days I wish to god that we could just win the lottery so we can sit on our porch drinking Guinness all day and never work again, but that hasn’t happened yet, and thus, our work is a big part of our lives as well. We all lead crazy lives, every family has their quirks, everybody does stupid things. We just happen to be in the sphere of people that post about them on the internet.

But I’m left wondering if I crossed a line…some line that we maybe need to make clear! Obviously if it makes Steve uncomfortable then I’ll try not to let it happen again, but I honestly didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I posted. Like I said, a little shake of the head, perhaps a chuckle from you Theatre Readers, and on with the day. But I’m interested to know what other people think.

If you live "on line," where do you draw the line at how much of your lives goes on the internet, and what stays off it? Do you edit your thoughts with your readership in mind, or don’t give a horses arse who reads it – these are your thoughts. Would you post something entertaining that may be at someone else’s expense – would you alter it if you either knew they were going to read it, or you were certain they wouldn’t? Any other thoughts??


The Single Girl said...

Complicated issue but I direct you to Dooce, who got fired for her blog. So I can understand why Steve would want to have the control over his work stuff being or not being on the blog.

Me, of course I sensor. There are stories that don't make the blog and there are details I leave out for anonymity purposes or to make the story more succinct.

Curious what others think.

Gretel said...

It is tricky terrain, Jenn. I try to chart a fairly straight course where I'm honest and fully self-expressed - but inevitably I have to rein 'it' in a little here and there - I choose to remain appropriate to my elders (fortunately, I have a very COOL grandmother, so it's not much of a deviation!) yet say what's going on for me. I have to respect Isaac's desire to live slightly more anonymously than I choose to (I do, after all have photos of me giving birth on my website) and though I'd love to, I don't post photos with my children in full frontal nudity...well - I probably have...but I try not to! My website and blog are for my family as well as my bestest buddies and my own personal outlet. It is a crazy balance - and sometimes you have to go in and delete something. It's not a failure - it's helping to keep it all fun, by not letting people get needlessly hurt. Dooce may have just bought herself a nice big new house and her husband quit his job because her blog makes so much money - BUT - she gets hate mail every day and has cyber stalkers and....

kodeureum said...

Steve has a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation for being a great person to work with and for. Please don't jeapordise that and respect his wishes.

kodeureum said...

gretel, I only hope you are aware of Canadian laws regarding child pornography. As a visual artist with a BFA I have been aware of them since the case of Eli Langer in the mid-nineties. The internet crime unit in Toronto may overlook your oversight but online predators may not.

Jenn and Steve said...

Posted by Jenn actually.

Here’s a few other comments that I received via email:

Comment #1:
“I can't control how people react to my blogs, and I refuse to censor what is supposed to be my online journal. Knowing who among the people I care about reads my blog can help me be more responsible about how I write things, but I can't take on the responsibility of how I may affect someone with what is ultimately my life's info.”

Comment #2:
“There may not have been anything wrong with what you posted but when I read it I thought it was a little "touchy". Just the fact that Steve would probably have handled it diplomatically when he got there, would be enough reason not to disclose how he really felt. And because he has told you that he feels those things are private you should be respecting his feelings. It's really not an issue of right or wrong but one of respecting the privacy of your relationship.”

And now, my comment:
I know exactly what Steve’s reputation is, and I have no desire to jeopardize Steve or his work in any way, not even in the name of "entertainment." (That would be downright stupid…especially considering who pays the mortgage around here!) Whether I think something is appropriate or not is inconsequential if it makes Steve uncomfortable. I HAVE respected Steve’s wishes, and will continue to do so - I may not have made that point very well in the original post, as a few of you have commented on my need to respect him. Despite the fact that I'm the only one that publishes my writings here, this is meant to be a forum for OUR family. I recognize that as the primary writer here, I have a responsibility to Myself, Steve and Griffin to ensure that everything that I post here is in no way harmful to our family – whether that has to do with our personal lives, professional lives, or our personal safety. Keeping this in mind, I will continue to post what ever my little heart desires here, because after all, it’s my Party. (and by My, I mean “our.” It’s the Royal “My.” Or whatever.)

And lastly: The Child Pornography section of the Criminal Code “forbids any depiction of a person under the age of 18 engaged in an explicit sexual activity or for a sexual purpose.” Pictures of ones children playing, on a personal family web site hardly fall under this category. And while there very well may be predators lurking out there, Gretel is a smart gal, with nothing but the best interests (and safety) of her family in mind, and I’m quite certain that their family website wouldn’t even hit the radar if one was to Google “Child Pornography.”

kodeureum said...

Thanks for the reassurance. I never doubted your intentions, Jenn, or Gretel's mothering skills. As a father myself I am awfully careful about the images of my daughter that are made available to complete strangers. The "for a sexual purpose" applies even to the basic (excessively photoshopped) nudity of Playboy models. There really is no gray area. My strict rule? No images of my daughter unclothed until she is old enough (18) to make her own decisions.