As long as I’m on the subject: one of the things that I actually have spent a bit of time worrying about — worrying, mind you, but not enough to really do anything about it — since I discovered among my readership a number of folks in positions of authority, folks whose good opinions of me I’d like to maintain, and whose judgments of me matter, is my tendency toward a vocabulary more befitting a member of the merchant marine than my own decidedly unsalty self. Some of it’s laziness, and some of it’s a carefully cultivated shock value, but get me in casual conversation about something I really care about, and chances are there’s an f-bomb on the horizon.
Which is not to say I don’t censor myself, or that my censor sometimes flags; I’m always critically conscious of my audience, and have never, even under the most exigent circumstances, let such a bomb drop in front of, say, my mother, or anyone else who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t respond well.
But here, on the blog, my sense is always that I’m having a conversation with friends, or if not friends, at least the kinds of acquaintances who’ve decided to drop by and listen, and thus I feel much less compunction about such filtering.
On the other hand, though, this is where the concerns I’ve heard lately about professional self-presentation do in fact have some purchase with me. For a reason that I cannot quite yet put my finger on, I’m far less concerned that someone in some relative position of authority with respect to me might read the post about my last mammogram, for instance, than that said person might be turned off by my casual vulgarity.
This is a crossroads of a sort, the decision about whether or not to pay some attention filtering my language. Perhaps it’s just common sense, common courtesy, something of that order. Or perhaps it’s the leading edge of losing my voice here, of making the character you’re constructing from what I’ve written here somehow less me.