Monday, January 05, 2009

Toothless blog post

I've been exercised over the past couple of days by the idea that a blog that is anything other than anodyne could prevent someone from getting a job - even a blog which is written pseudonymously (is that a word?) I know that theoretically I have all the freedom in the world to write exactly what I please, as I have nothing to lose by it - no job, no prospects, nothing. But how free am I?

Every blogger knows that if they are at all successful someone will read their stuff. So I visualise a readership and write with them in mind. Sometimes I might write specifically so that someone will read what I say and be affected by it in some way; other times I realise I'm avoiding a topic because it'd open a can of worms which I can't be bothered putting back. I wouldn't be lying or exaggerating either - just writing about something which is on my mind. (Like intercessory public prayer, f'rinstance. Really.)

But am I guilty of moral cowardice when I keep quiet? Has living in a smallish community sapped my will? (I feel a bit like Hamlet here: who calls me coward? breaks my pate across?) There was a time when I demonstrated at the Holy Loch, lay down in the road, sang at policemen, went to court as a witness, appeared on telly and radio and spoke my mind - and then suffered the consequences. Golly. I could have had such a good time with my blog then. Back then our most sophisticated form of communication was a telephone tree. But then I didn't stop to think about it - the sight of the Poseidon subs in our loch was enough.

That might be it. Some craven scruple of thinking too precisely on th'event. Shakespeare knew a thing or two. But I'd like to put the question to the bloggers (and lurkers) who read this: if you knew that what you wrote was likely to inflame prejudice in your employers, would you desist? Do you restrain yourself for that reason? Should we always think twice before we hit 'publish'?

And yes: I've just written yet another toothless post when really I might want to bite. Grr.


  1. One of the blogs I link to is written by a local guy who lost his job in part, in reality, because of his blog. See here: or here:

    I hope those links work. You might just have to copy and paste them.

    Anyway, the blog is Legal Schnauzer and search for "lost job UAB" on the site.

    Chris, I write things all the time that could get me fired...and may prevent my hiring...if and when I search for a job again. I've been threatened with lawsuits for outing a plagiarist. I still laugh at the email I got where he said it couldn't be plagiarism..."it was all true!" And he is (was) a newspaper editor!

    But if they don't like me for who I am, or don't like that I speak my mind (I'm "uppity")then I sure don't want to work for them.

  2. Anonymous11:45 PM

    I am aware of the fact that the Episcopal Church Press Officer reads my blog, and she and others have advised me to delete posts in the past.

    I saw the wisdom in their advice.

    I think as a priest you really need to be careful, more so than the loose lay canon that you could actually be. I guess there are unwritten rules, especially amongst Episcopal Bloggers in Scotland.

    Someone once hinted that I shouldn't blog anything I wouldn't want my grannie to see! That certainly cramped my style a bit!

    I'm usually in enough trouble as it is without shooting off too much in a Blog, but like you, I'm often feart to open certain cans of worms.

  3. Anonymous12:13 AM

    I won't comment directly ad rem for the moment. Firstly, because I'm brain-dead after the Festering Season, and, secondly, because I'm testing a theory that I have: I'll tell you about it if it works.

    Since we're in a Bardic mood, are you worried about behaving like the poor cat i' the adage?

  4. Joe, the links worked in the notification email. The case I have in mind is of a job app turned down because of a blog. I notice that one of the more outspoken comments to the August post linked to is anonymous, which is presumably someone more fearful than the blogger. I've seen what you have to put up with because of and on your blog. I wonder if I met the editor you refer to - there was someone I met at church in your neck of the woods who was like no-one I'd ever come across in the racial arrogance stakes.

  5. ABF - absolutely cat-like. It's time for a change. And I'm interested to learn what your experiment might be...

  6. As I get older I tend to the philosophy that venting one's anger/frustration/.... is only worthwhile when it achieves something (other than the self-indulgent letting off of steam).

    There are points of principle, but they can easily be confused with selfish concerns.

  7. Chris, I dunno....

    On the one hand, everyone *should* be able to express themselves freely. However. (I really need to STOP using that word. Methinks I am beginning more and more to morph into Tevya in "Fiddler on the Roof"!)

    Many times, we tend to want to present *our* side of the story in haste...anger...retribution. I find myself getting my knickers in such a knot, I want to tell the world! (Ukrainian bloodlines, eh?)

    As I begin to settle down, I realize there is One who knows these things already and He is the One who wants to hear my story. And so, as I calm down and come to my senses, my heart feels a bit disturbed that I have taken this life so seriously. In the end, I am happy I have not offended anyone or shamed myself. (let me clarify I am a "middle child"!)

    Interestingly, I read a young woman's blog yesterday where she ranted about her mother. As I read, I felt embarrassed and took pity on the mother for raising such a self-centered child!

    In the end, my friend, it would seem that the issues that enrage us today might just seem so insignificant in the grand(er) scheme of things!

    I nearly wet my pants, laughing at Joe's comment about the editor's remark regarding plagiarism. Egads!

  8. Anonymous2:34 PM

    The experiment failed, I am glad to say! The last 2 or 3 times I ventured to comment, thereafter all comments ceased together. I began to wonder if I had cornered the market in last words or was just a hard act to follow - or had driven everyone to drink.

    (What is the literary reference above? An easy one for the post-Ne'erday doldrums.)

  9. Abf - who needs to be driven?

    (Just so you don't have the last word!)

  10. Rummaging through past posts, I came on the above, as yet, unmet challenge from abf. Now abf is dead, and his question still hangs there. I shall answer it and hope he knows. The reference is, of course, to Browning's "My Last Duchess".