Unintended meanings and inadvertent offence

This is day 3 of my blogging 101 challenge. The tasks for today were to customise the WordPress Reader by identifying some content ‘tags’ to follow from other blogs; and to follow five other blogs as the first step to building up my blogging ‘community’. There was actually no requirement to submit a post to this blog today, but I have been motivated to do so as a result of some feedback to yesterday’s reflection on my blog title and tag-line.

One of the things that worries me about blogging is the fear that I may inadvertently cause some offence or upset to the reader as a result of what I publish. It seems that I fell into this trap when writing about the background to my blog title yesterday. Some readers have suggested that the description of my grandfather clearing his throat when working on his allotment (followed invariably by the exclamation “Better out than in!”) is inappropriate and disrespectful. I am naturally sorry for any offence caused; but I am equally clear that the anecdote was entirely relevant in the context in which it was written. And for the avoidance of doubt, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my grandfather and my respect for him always was and remains inestimable.

The problem of course, is that no matter how careful we try to be in the way that we write and publish a blog post, once it is out there, we have absolutely no control over the way in which it will be read and interpreted. There is a danger that in trying to avoid anything that might be seen negatively or liable to cause offence, what remains of the content simply becomes too dull to be readable.

In signing off this post – and in the hope that it redresses the balance somewhat – another of my grandad’s favourite sayings was a quote from Voltaire : “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”. I would like to think that this is the approach that he brings to the reading of this blog as he looks down on it today.

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4 thoughts on “Unintended meanings and inadvertent offence

  1. joseelavallee

    The way I see it is…if you are offended, or if you don’t like something I posted…then move along…I don’t imprison my readers to my blog… 🙂 You have free will, use it.

    Ok so that sounded a bit harsh, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it…I love people! I wrote a poem called “Pieces of Me” (it’s on my about page) that actually address it and the process I went through to deal with being misunderstood a lot! I had to chose to not let it offend me…because I am who I am…

    And besides We love strong voices!!

    Great job!

    Reply

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