In many countries, people are protected by laws regarding freedom of expression. Thankfully, I’ve never been marginalized and have the liberty of expressing my opinions without fear of backlash or censorship. For some, this isn’t the case–just ask Judy Blume, J.D. Salinger, or J.K. Rowling. The banning of books is a hot-button issue for me (and for many others).
So, how has it come to pass that I find myself censoring someone else?
Last week I wrote a post that loosely compared literary diets to the USDA’s Food Pyramid. The feedback from readers was positive and people seemed to connect and see the humor and parallels…until Sunday night.
Sunday evening I found a ‘Pending Comment’ from a new reader. I read the comment and couldn’t believe what I was reading. “Shut up! This is lousy…” it read. The comment went on to detail how my comparison of the Food Pyramid and a reading diet was essentially baseless.
Reading it, the heat rose in my cheeks…indignation and a touch of humiliation. My mouse arrow hovered over the ‘Delete Comment’ button for a long minute but I resisted. I decided to post the comment–I didn’t want to practice censorship on my blog. But in the end, I didn’t approve the comment and it’s still sitting in my ‘Pending Comments’ queue. I’m not sure what to do with it. The woman made some salient points, but the negativity and sheer meaness put me off.
I talked it over with my hubby and he said that I didn’t have to approve any comment I didn’t want to approve. I argued that since I put myself (via my words) out there, I can’t be a Revisionista, approving only positive comments. He disagreed, saying that the commentor disparaged me on a personal level, telling me to, “…shut up!”. I worry that I’m compromising my (and Book, Line, and Sinker’s) integrity by ‘editing away’ this comment.
I guess my inaction could be considered ‘Passive Censorship’–not approving OR deleting the comment. I’m hanging on to it for now…infringing on the commenter’s right to freedom of expression–censorship from the comfort of my own home.
Have you had to deal with critical comments or emails related to your blog? How did you handle them? Am I compromising this blog’s integrity by blocking comments like these? Or am I just too sensitive?!?