Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A friend of mine told me recently that he thought I should stop being such a prude. It surprised me a bit, because I have (I thought) shed quite a few inhibitions in the past year or so. I have become less frightened of my own voice, of recording it, or of singing louder. I have explored and even begun to discuss topics I would not have touched before. In fact, this blog would probably not have happened a year ago. I read things on the Internet for a good ten years before writing much there. Writing does not intimidate me; I have kept a journal for many years now, on paper, to myself. The audience intimidates me.

The same friend tried before to tell me, "What will it break?" I realized later that engineers are thoroughly trained to be able to tell you. When lives depend on something an engineer builds, caution and pessimism serve important roles.

Still, I think he has a point. (He usually does!) He detected my phone-shyness very quickly, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the moments of boldness I have borrowed from him. Apparently, I still have work to do, though, if I am so transparently prudish.

Now, I do not have any ideological quarrels with "bad" words or "adult" topics. I am strongly opposed to censorship in its many forms. I find it insulting, for instance, that radio and television stations take it upon themselves to decide what words we should not hear and bleep them out, as though anyone over the age of eight would not know exactly what word had been eradicated. (Indeed, I take it upon myself to replace them, at times.) I loathe Wal-Mart's practice of selling only sanitized CDs, and I certainly disapprove of all the various efforts throughout history to squelch "objectionable" literature.

Rather, I think my prudishness is an outgrowth of a broader set of inhibitions, stemming from a strict and well-developed sense of propriety. I understand that certain topics bother some people, and I tend to resist bothering others. I have always been fairly timid, especially with regard to following rules and doing what I think is right.

Why, then, would I want to shed my inhibitions at all? Some years ago, I was listening to an interview between the DJs and the lead singer of the group Eagle Eye Cherry, then enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame for the since-forgotten song "Save Tonight". The remark that stuck (I'm paraphrasing from memory, here) was, "I wrote that song in one afternoon and I'm really glad I didn't do something else that day."

It is not, then, that I feel that I need to offend more people or that I feel the world needs more swearing and sex in it. It is because if I don't I will always wonder what I might have created if I hadn't done something else that afternoon, or just squelched my creativity by being too timid to try.


Blogger Prayer Power said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 September, 2005 21:57  
Blogger Little Running Bear said...

I really wanted to know what Prayer Power had to say. I went to their blog and discovered that I can create wealth purely through the power of prayer! Why am I wasting all my time working?

Anyway, on to the point at hand. I like the way you're thinking. It never occurs to the people who are offended by some of the things we say that maybe the problem lies with them and their own inhibitions.

I have to add that I find it interesting that you |bait| are "strongly opposed to censorship in its many forms" but then didn't allow Prayer Power their 2 cents |bait|.

**Note: Blogger won't allow the < bait > tag.

15 September, 2005 15:54  

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