Writing about others (NHBPM 8)

Write about how you choose to write about others in your blog.

What others?! This is MY blog, so I get to write about MEEEEEEE!

That’s the overly simplified version, but there is some truth in it. “Your liberty ends where the liberty of another commences” sounds lovely in theory, but when it comes to the exercise of public privacy, things can get complicated fast. I try to keep it simple so as not to mess up too much.

For the people closest to me (the ones most likely to show up in my adventures), I use nicknames or initials.

  • It’s fair. Just because I want to tell the world about our exploits doesn’t necessarily mean THEY feel the same compulsion.
  • It’s expedient. I don’t  have to ask permission to mention them in a more identifiable way, they don’t have to mull it over, I don’t have to wait for their response, zzzzz…
  • It’s deviously strategic. Savvy Southern waitresses call every customer honey, baby, sugar, or darlin’. When my friends and I are old and gray and have forgotten the details about our earlier adventures, I will be able to claim that “The Very Best Friend in the Whole World Ever” refers to whichever friend I’m talking to at the time.

For the people who interact with me as part of their professional duties — doctors, nurses, bail bondsmen — I use their title or a gentle fabricated epithet.

  • While my friends can choose to hang out with me or not, the people who are just doing their jobs are obligated to interact with me. I appreciate them too much to exploit that vulnerability.
  • Also unlike my friends, these professionals are the people who regularly see me naked and come at me with needles. I want them to stay happy with me and not exploit MY vulnerability.

For public figures who have been publicly named in public elsewhere, I’ll just use their public name. Dullsville.

It’s so tempting to dash off a good rant now and then, using colorful made-up NSFW names, but real problems need to be addressed in real life first. Writ(h)ing about it here would just make things worse: first they pissed me off, and then they didn’t even read my blog about it?!

Yes, best for everyone that we keep it simple. Or as they say in KK’s favorite movie, “Two words, Mr. President: plausible deniability.”

How do you decide to write about others?

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