Dowbrigade admits to being slightly jealous of bloggers so polemic or
captivating that their every post spurs waves of comments, controversy
and debate. Most of the comments we do get come either from our mother
(Hi, Ma) or offended fringe readers, like the guy married to a woman
from Mongolia who objected to our referring to our son as a mongolian
Dowbrigade posting, however, has created a mini-polemic of
sorts. It featured a British woman raising money
to fight multiple sclerosis by baring her breasts. At the time of the
original post, we honestly didn’t think it would offend anyone, but after
reading a few of the the comments, especially two from women whose opinions
we respect, we went back and edited out the nipples in the photo.
Now although we are not proud to have buckled so quickly under editorial
criticism, the question has made us think about when and under what circumstances
it is appropriate for a blogger to self-censor.
First of all, this is clearly an area of personal standards, which obviously
differ widely from blogger to blogger. These standards involve both what
kinds of materials one finds personally offensive, and the degree to
which one cares about the number and sensibilities of one’s readership.
Clearly, most bloggers care a great deal about their readers, not in
small part because many of them are friends and correspondents. On the
other hand, some maintain that when a blogger, or any writer for that
begins to edit according to anticipated audience reaction, or worse still,
write what he or she thinks that audience wants to hear, rather than
what needs to be said, that writer begins to lose authenticity and to
engage in a sort of literary prostitution.
area of personal morality, the Dowbrigade believes the human body constitutes
one of God’s most beautiful creations. The fact that
we prefer to linger on the female form rather than the male is a corollary
of our sexual orientation and no way inhibits our ability to appreciate
the beauty of the torso of David, for example, pictured above,
It seems illogical that the first photo is an iconic example of high culture and art, and the second is considered borderline pornographic.
Furthermore, we feel that it is patently ridiculous that our culture
finds nothing scandalous or sinful about the male nipple, but has a heavy-duty
taboo against the public display of the female version. What’s
up with that? As far as we can tell, the only difference is functional;
the female nipple produces milk, while the male has none. Is there
something dirty about milk? We thought Milk Does a Body Good…
Be that as it may, the Dowbrigade acceded to covering the nipples in
the photo in question because A) several women readers wrote to say they
found it objectionable, and B) one said the presence of said photo in
her aggregator limited her ability to review or demo her aggregator at
work, for obvious reasons.
Now this is a tougher nut to crack. As a true believer in RSS and aggregation,
we can see how the presence of risque material could adversely affect
some working environments. In addition, the Dowbrigade, probably
facetiously, has long considered himself a feminist. It
should be obvious to any unbiased observer that women are the superior
sex, have a much better understanding of how the world really works,
be much better off if the entire world were run by women. There would
be no wars, I bet, and public buildings would be much more attractively decorated.
The human body is not dirty. The dirtiness is in the human mind. Everyone
has different delineations in their minds about what is dirty and what
isn’t. Some poor people find almost everything dirty. We
say they have dirty minds. A few rare people find nothing dirty, and
are able to accept anything without making moral judgments. We
say they are saints or devils, depending on our points of view.
But most of us are offended by some things and not by others. The Dowbrigade, for example,
is offended by ketchup on scrambled eggs, but not by the uncovered female breast. What it comes down to, in the
end, is a tradeoff. We choose to self-censor in cases like this because
we don’t want to lose people we like as readers. We feel the effort is
worthwhile if it allows us to continue to share and exchange insights
with these folks.
However, we will continue to publish T ‘n A on a case by case basis,
depending on news-worthiness and aesthetic allure. Remember, it’s not
pornography if it has Redeeming Social Value!