It Could Happen to Anyone

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge(FOWC) of 27 October 2020, utilize.

It’s like as though I’ve just been blinded,
How could I be so absent-minded?
My circumstances simply dire,
I didn’t mean to start the fire.

I saw the smoke, I made a call,
Soon Fire Service in the hall.
They utilized their three-inch hose,
They really are a bunch of pros.

When fire damped down, the chief comes in,
“Your tumble dryer made the sin!
A close call here, you’re in out debt”,
But now my kitchen’s soaking wet!


One of the things Dr Tanya asks this week was surrounding censorship. She’s echoed a question originally suggested by Melanie B Cee. I’m paraphrasing, but it went along the lines:

In order not to offend our readers, are there some subjects that are off limits?

Blogs are, I think, a personal platform. If they’re not a personal, then I don’t reallythink they’re a blog. In most cases, it’s not only reasonable, but commendable, that somebody holds a view on something, rather than no view at all. So I don’t think it is unreasonable for them to express that view on their blog. One person’s view might conflict with another’s, but I don’t think they should hold fire for fear of causing offense. An opposing view is not necessarily offensive.

That said, how the view is expressed can make a difference. So, it is often not what we express, but how we express it, that makes makes something offensive.

Regardless, the reader has the ultimate right to switch off, if they are offended.

In applying this, the three concrete scenarios I had in mind were:

  1. Writing a post on our own blog (Melanie’s case).
  2. Commenting on somebody else’s blog.
  3. When somebody comments on one of our blog.

For (1), we compose our own posts so it is our responsibility to promote our view tactfully.

For (2), if I disagree with the post, I will mostly just move on, but will sometimes say something. If I do, it is my responsibility to disagree tactfully. And convincingly. Like any other web pages, blog posts are readily accessible through the internet, so it is possible that an open-minded, third-party could stumble across the post. If I write a comment, who am I trying to sway? The poster? Who already wrote something I don’t agree with? Or, this new reader? That’s why I don’t bother arguing in a thread – I state my case and the passer-by can decide for themself.

(3) gets interesting, because the commenter has a responsibility to comment tactfully. That could bar anything from “offensive” to simply “inappropriate” material. In that case, I’m happy to censor – it’s my name on the site, after all.

To give some perspective here, I’ve had 6,400 comments on my blog, since Day #1, and I have censored about 6 so far. All except one were spam (as suggested by Akismet), the last was a genuine comment from a genuine reader, which was simply inappropriate. It might have been embarrasing for somebody (and, by impication, for me). I thought long and hard before removing it because I don’t want to be closing down discussion, but on my site, I decide.

Open Book Blog Hop (wb 26 October 2020)

I wasn’t even aware of this prompt but I read it from somebody I started following, Stevie Turner, and it sounded interesting. It is called the Open Book Blog Hop, and reading Stevie’s post, it is a weekly thing.

The question which piqued my interest was:

Hallowe’en/Autumn is coming, do you celebrate? What does that look like? Is it different this year?

Okay, quickly… We (wife and I) do not celebrate anything, although we generally buy some nondescript bag of snack-size candy just in case we have visitors. We’re rural and it has never happened yet,so I generally have something to chew on through November. This year, we have a stock of facemasks instead.

As a boy, I used to celebrate hallowe’en. We would play duck-apple and bob-apple. It was never very exciting because, well, apples are boring. We used to carve turnip lanterns. I had no idea what a pumpkin was. At that time, they were not available in the shops. Besides, Bonfire Night, just a week later, was always a bigger deal.

As a parent, I was the so-and-so father who would not let my child take part in Trick or Treat. The notion that if somebody does not give you something nice, then you will do something nasty to them is… well, that’s what the highwaymen used to say, wasn’t it? That’s not the way you get through life. So this was not a value I wished to instill in my daughter.

This continued – every year she asked, every year I explained why I was refusing – until my daughter was old enough to ignore what I said.

I reckon most people just go out looking for candy, a bit of harmless fun, but for me, there is a principle involved. “Lighten up”, I hear you say. But actually, the idea is not a very nice one.

Again, though, we did celebrate Bonfire Night (5 November), and took my daughter to an organised firework display each year. Organised – I don’t think I ever bought a firework in my life.

Does that make me a slightly better person?

Oh, and thank you to P.J. MacLayne for allowing me to use their image.