Some Final Thoughts on Unpersoning

Lost & Found In the Age of the Internet

When it comes to words we are in an age of forever. Writers used to worry about their books/texts going out of print. This is not the case anymore, post something on the internet and it will never go out of print. I’m going to wrap up (for the time being) the current topic of conversation with a few words concerning the internet.

“Lost and Found”

The internet allows most anybody to have a voice, to post his/her thoughts and feelings. Once posted this information is out in the ether of the interwebs not only for now but forever. Unfortunately, this everlasting nature of information on the internet can become problematic. It is an all too common occurrence to read or hear about a post somebody made, sometimes years ago, and calls for that person’s cancelation/unpersoning because of the content of that post. We’ve moved beyond the simple advice of watching what you say. It is as if we expect individuals to be able to gaze into some sort crystal ball and somehow forsee how their posts will be interpreted in the future. I believe that individuals should be held accountable for both words and actions, but that accountability should also be proportional to those words and actions. Reactionary calls for cancelation/unpersoning may stifle voices.

There was a time when writers were worried that their books/texts would go out of print and be lost. Now writers may fear that old posts may be ‘found’ and used as means to call for their cancelation/unpersoning. So do we second guess ourselves, do we self-censor, or do we continue to write from the heart and share our voices with the world?

-K-

The Dangers of No Filter

It’s Not Just Cigarettes

I’ve embraced many vices over the years, some more detrimental than others. When I was younger (maybe I should say young-age is a weird sliding scale eye of the beholder kind of thing) I smoked no filter Camels. I knew then as well as now that cigarettes in any form are bad, but there were a few reasons why I thought it was better to smoke no filter cigarettes, one being the environment (seriously people police your butts). Those days of no filter smokes got me thinking about a different kind of filter, one of thought and speech. It’s odd to think that we are in a time when you may worry more about filtering what you say than the possibility of cancer from a no filter cigarette.

“Camel No Filter”

Have you found yourself filtering what you say when speaking to others? Are you watching your language, wondering if your words will label or offend? Obviously there are things we should not say, and those who do say these things should be treated accordingly (that is the topic for a different time). My concern is not about those words, the ones we know are intentionally hurtful or intended to incite. Most of us don’t worry about filtering that kind of language because those words aren’t in our vocabulary. What I mean is the trend of filtering what we say for fear of offending someone’s feelings. Many people are censoring what they say or avoid certain topics of conversation for fear of being called out, called in, or possibly canceled. When we become more concerned about the context of our conversations than the content of them we are inhibiting honest communication.

Quite a bit of time has passed since my days of smoking no filter Camels. The days of the dangers of no filter cigarettes have given way to days of the dangers of no filtered speech and the question of which is more dangerous. Should we be mindful of what we say, yes. Should we not speak or purposely change our word choice out of fear, no. Yet many people are self censoring and in doing so are not being their true selves. Which is more important, polite conversation or honest communication?

-K-

From Crushes to Breakups

“It’s not you…” is a Prohibition

Have you ever been on the receiving end of the “It’s not you…” talk? Whether it’s after revealing your feelings to a crush or being on the wrong side of a breakup being told, “It’s not you….” is an interesting form of prohibition.

“Awesome”

“It’s not you…” (along with the awkward and one sided conversation that usually ensues) often prohibits an individual from truly knowing why his/her feelings aren’t reciprocated or why he/she is on the receiving end of a breakup. “It’s not you…” does not necessarily explain why feelings are not mutual or why a relationship is ending, but it does offer the one who says it a means to take some sort of make believe responsibility yet somehow not feel guilty. “It’s not you…” doesn’t make the one on the receiving end feel better, but it does prohibit him/her from justifiable feelings of sadness or remorse because the phrase itself implies there is no need to feel sad or remorseful. “It’s not you…” is like getting a participation trophy, ultimately it means more to the person giving it than to the person receiving it.

-K-

One Man’s Trash

Is Also His Story?

When is an empty bottle more than an empty bottle? Another way to start this journo would be to ask how many times have you walked past an empty booze bottle and wondered how it got there? A while ago I noticed that there were empty booze bottles showing up in the alley behind my house. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries so discovering the source of the bottles was a case I wanted to solve.

“Back Alley Bottles”

I found out rather quickly the case of the empty booze bottles wasn’t much of a mystery. A neighbor from across the alley was stepping behind his garage most afternoons and having a drink or few before going inside his house. Mystery solved. But there was still a story, and there were still unanswered questions. Was he drinking because of what happened each day or to brace himself for what was to happen each evening? What prohibited him from drinking in his own home?

Empty bottles may be trash but they are also stories. Stories that may be mysteries, stories that may not have resolutions. The mystery of the empty bottles in the alley may not have a resolution, but I’m positive it is a story of Prohibition.

-K-

Because You Can’t

Some Thoughts on Prohibition

It’s the first day of 2021, but it would be foolish to think 2020 is in the rearview mirror (unless you picture 2020 as some sort of villain form a slasher flick waiting to pop up a cut your throat once you look in the rearview). While sipping from a jar of Kentucky homemade last night counting down the minutes I got to thinking about Prohibition (clear whiskey crafted by people from the hills has a way of doing that).

I started 2019 and 2020 with the topic of Drinking and figured I’d start a tradition of doing the same with 2021, but that jar of Kentucky clear convinced me to focus the topic of conversation on Prohibition. After a few shots, I started to reflect on the events, experiences, and perceptions of 2020 (whiskey is a facilitator of many things, self-reflection being one of them) and started thinking about the many of prohibitions, imposed and suggested, over the last year and their impact.

“Taking Photos Is Not Allowed”

I will continue the tradition of starting the year with the topic of Drinking by discussing Prohibition (with a capital ‘P’) and by also discussing prohibitions in general (with the lower case ‘p’). Here’s to an interesting and creative 2021. Let’s start it off with what we aren’t supposed to do.

-K-

Still Waiting For It

‘It’ Being Winter

There was a light frost on the car windows this morning and a few flurries in the air on the way to work but there is no winter yet. The news engaged in a bit of fear mongering this past weekend (as the news likes to do) and warned us about the possibility of a few inches of snow and below zero temperatures all week. Neither happened or is likely to, at least not this week. As I was driving home today with the windows cracked and minding my speed (see “Where is Winter?”) still waiting for winter to arrive I got to thinking about a rather odd question (as I like to do).

“Chair in Snow”

What is an actual Midwest winter these days, and how does a modern Midwest winter compare to those winters I remember from previous years? I mentioned on December 9th that winters of the past were punctual, predictable, and parted in a timely manner. Winters of the last few years haven’t shown up when they should. The news can’t seem to make any sort of accurate prediction concerning the weather out here in the Midwest, and when winter does arrive it stays long enough to rob some of the beauty of spring.

“Snowy Six Corners”

Maybe it’s time to stop being sentimental about winters from the past and embrace these new Midwest winters. Maybe I need to keep short sleeve shirts and flip flops ready through January. Maybe I don’t need to get the snow blower ready by Thanksgiving. Maybe I need to accept that there won’t be as many winter photo opportunities as there were in years past. Maybe I’ll just keep waiting.

-K-

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