Ever start something for one reason and have it become about something else entirely?
I recently posted an entry about the inauguration that was controversial in nature. I had read a number comments and posts on the web with a recurring theme concerning the nature of race and politics (specifically, the future of racism and politics), and felt the need to write a commentary which was rather critical of that sentiment. In my desire not to cause anyone any hard feelings, I published a portion of a sentence, verbatim, from another blog without properly citing it. At the time I composed the post I felt that the subject matter was a tad incendiary in nature (as race and politics often are) and so made the judgment call to not link or cite the quote (which was an iteration of many just like it). Well, I was wrong. The author of the quote saw it and called me on my error. I apologized in the comments section, quickly changed the post to properly cite the author -- and then, after giving it some thought, opted to delete the post altogether (I did re-save it as a draft so it is not lost forever, but unless there is some kind of popular demand to see it, I will not republish it).
This is how a post about one thing became a lesson on something else. This incident was almost certainly designed to teach me something. What is primary here, however, is not the basics of citation, which in itself is important, but that the journey through life is not predictable and it is ultimately up to us to decide whether or not the risks we take in publishing an opinion are worth incurring the emnity of someone who might take issue with what was written. For me, at this time, in this blog, it was not. I say this because based on the comment I received, it wasn't so much that I pulled the quote at all, an act which, again, was wrong in itself, but that in that person's opinion, I had taken it out of context and portrayed the author in a negative light.
And so, the second lesson is the nature of posts in a blog that I designed to discuss and promote my creative life. Although I enjoy politics and try very hard to discuss it with others without making it about the other person, it clearly does not have a place here. Or does it? I invite your comments.
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