The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

July 16, 2007

An apparently non-cathartic experience

I was going to say that I have had a cathartic experience.


But as far as I can tell, I would have been wrong.


Because according to dictionary.com, a carthartic experience involves, at least in one context, a cleansing of the bowels. I have not had my bowels cleansed, although maybe I should.


No, in fact, what has been recently squeezed through the wringer of my life is my supposedly naive view of the Internet.


I appear to have been caught -- like a doomed deer caught in the glare of oncoming headlights -- in the vaccuous nebula and space-time continuum of the World Wide Web.

Too trusting a soul, too enamoured by the miracle of instantaneous communication, too blind to the dark element of humanity (or some newly devised software that randomly scans computers and lifts off images for other uses).


My habit, my desire, my wont has been to often post on my blog about people I care about and to display pictures and stories of those people on Blogspot.com and, with many more pictures, on my Flickr site that I also put on my blog.


It has been a wonder of my world, at times, an avenue for telling fellow bloggers -- people I have come to care about -- what's going on in my emotional and personal life, and to talk about my feelings for and history with those people.

Little snippets, as it were. From Spaceship Orion. From Within, Without.


I have told you about my kids, some of my loves, my different lives, my self, my ups and downs, my immediate and extended family members, my upbringing...the stuff that has brought me to where and who I am now.

I also blog far too much about Bush and Iraq and religion and a whole bunch of other crap that really doesn't matter, except to our current and future existence.

Oh, and about my fridge and stove and my closets and my shoes and my nosehairs and my small male brain, too.


But I have felt most alive when I'm posting about things and people that really matter to me. But as of now, I can't do that any more. At least not in the same way.


Some of those people closest to me have told me they don't want me publishing pictures of them on my blog or on Flickr. Some object to me saying things on my blog about my family.

And as much as I think their concerns about image manipulation or child abductions or someone being able to track them down and do harm to them or their kids or their property is overblown, I have to honour those feelings.

Even in the face of the advent of Facebook and similar Web trends, these ARE their faces. These are THEIR lives too, not just mine, even though this is MY blog and I feel I have a right to write and say what I want.

So I have obliterated my Flickr site altogether.

I'm in the process of removing most pictures from all my posts of the past, pictures that have revealed some of my most favourite people, but who fear having their images or the images of their kids on the Internet.

And while I've been doing this, the word catharsis came to mind.

But I guess I never really understood the word entirely. Here's the definition from dictionary.com that comes closest to the reason I've so enjoyed posting about more personal stuff:

"An experience of emotional release and purification, often inspired by or through art. In psychoanalysis, catharsis is the release of tension and anxiety that results from bringing repressed feelings and memories into consciousness."

I wouldn't say I've been releasing tension or anxiety when I blog about people who are close to me.

It's been more of just a joyous, exhilarating experience that, yes, has brought these memories into consciousness so I can celebrate them in some sort of new way.

But now I'm going to have to find another way.

Forget the enema and laxatives. Where's my Bran Flakes and beans? I can feel myself loosening up already...

35 comments:

  1. ooo er WW, you've had your wrists slapped eh? You're right we have to concede to other's paranoia but I for one will miss your pictures, they were lovely and showed your people in the best light. It's the nature of the world to focus on the bad that can happen instead of the good, and to promote fear and worry. It's a shame and it plays right into the hands of those who would like us to always be watching our backs and running scared. The risk is always over exaggerated but that's what scaremongering is all about.

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  2. Ziggi:

    Well, they were very gentle. They understand I had no ill intent, only good motives.

    I'm loathe to go along with descriptives like paranoia or scaremongering. It's what they feel, it's what they fear, it's what they believe.

    I'm going to really miss it, but thanks for saying you'll miss them too.

    The Web can be a big and nasty thing to some people, and I suppose it can be.

    You know what they say...you have a better chance of dying in a car accident than you do of dying in a plane crash.

    But people don't look at it that way. And for those who fear it, I think we have to respect them.

    The Internet can be a big, bad thing. I don't think it is, at least not in my little corner of the world.

    :-) Thanks.

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  3. Your small male what...? :)

    Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 should be compulsory viewing for the anxious and suspicious. Get your loved ones to watch it. We have been *so* braniwashed to think there are dangers lurking around every corner when statistically speaking it just ain't so. To live your life looking over your shoulder or fretting about some innocuous photos/words on a personal blog is a lousy way to live. I do feel sorry for them and NOT for you, Chris, because you live life with a half-full viewpoint (it's obvious in your writing). It's much worse to be living half empty, don't you think?

    Now after my mean words you're going to defend their decision to gently chastise you because you love them but I have no such compulsion. If you were writing trash I'd see their point.

    It's probably just selfishness on my end. I'm going to miss those posts. The best writing is writing that comes from the heart.

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  4. PS Actually I'm just jealous because my relatives and friends never even bother to read my blog. :)

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  5. Andrea:

    You are so beautiful.

    My small male whatever. My people are beautiful people, and I do have to defend them.

    But you have made my heart bigger. Thanks.

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  6. Andrea:

    I've told my family about my blog before, but evidently most of them didn't bother to look...until now.

    DOH!

    Hugs.

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  7. Is the world/the web a safe place or not ? it's a crucial question, that indeed has to do with trust and believing in the good. Give into "the dark elements of humanity" or not ? Anyway, if your relatives don't feel safe with their pictures on the web, then it's logical that you erase those pics. I admire that you do this with such an apparently ease because sharing who moves you and what they mean to you was a major part of your blogging and so it means you have to redefine your blogging in a way and I think that would put me in a sort of serious doubt and a small crisis. I'm sure you will find your way again because you are many-sided and creative in thinking, but it sure will be a change. Good courage !! and I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn to know you through the people you love, that is very precious and I value it very high.

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  8. What! You mean that Humane Escapist has complained at your posting his pic? Shame!Shame!Shame!

    No, I'm being flippant, aren't I?

    Chris, you obviously love and care for all your "wider family" and we readers know that. But because you care, you'll respect their feelings.And I respect that in you.

    For the same reasons, I don't write about my family.But in the time I have been blogging, I've found another family (you all know who you are!)and I know you see some of us as family, too.

    So maybe we could send you some pics of ourselves and you could pin them to your dartboard...er!...put them on Flickr.

    Just keep writing and we'll keep reading. (Except for the retards who only look at pichers cuz they caint read proper!)

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  9. It's a shame and i will miss seeing the pics but you're right in trying to respect their wishes.

    Sometimes I admit to thinking maybe I'm being so open about me, my family and our lives but it is what started my blogging and I wanted there to be a journal of our lives so I guess it serves it's purpose. Plus I suck at maintaining handwritten journals.

    I have a lot of family and friends and my hubby's officemates reading my blog so to a certain extent, I am also extremely careful about what I write. Not all of us can be that free, I guess.

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  10. I must be a bit paranoid - it took a whole year for me to put my son's baby photo on my blog!haha.And of course no one would even recognise that.If none of your famiy are bloggers they just wouldn't understand the scale of the whole thing -that there are so many millions of blogs out there...though,having said that -I STILL haven't even put a photo of myself on there. I guess it's what ever a person feels comfortable with. I can understand, to some extent, your family not wanting their photos out there -but at the same time feel sorry that you will have to keep this side of yourself in check when you would like to express it :(.

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  11. I was so afraid of putting up my pics in my blog...but that was ages ago..cos I realised ppl r ppl wherever they r and I hv found some very nice ppl in Blogville..alot of em actually.

    Keshi.

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  12. aaawwww, sorry ww, i've always been careful about who i publish pics of, but some people are over paranoid i think!



    hahahaha... funny coming from me!

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  13. Hildegarde:

    Actually, I DON'T do it with ease, but it's an absolute, right? People own their images and who they are.

    I just don't have a choice. And that's there's no point in arguing or debating. Family comes first by a country mile.

    Thanks, Hildie. At least most of my close blogger friends got a gander at them!

    Dinahmow:

    I don't think Homer ever complained, I've often put his mug on my blog.

    Yeah, send me some pix and I'll put THEM up on my blog as my second family, my truly "extended family!"

    My Flickr site is history, it's gonzo...

    Menchie:

    I don't see the harm in what you're posting about. Danger does lurk, but not by doing that.

    It lurks behind trees in the shadows at schools, and only rarely. Good parenting and watchful eyes solve that.

    :-)

    Lee:

    Again, I don't think the right word is paranoid. At least I wouldn't want to refer to my loved ones as that.

    People believe what they want to believe, and they're entitled to that. Doesn't mean I have to agree, but when it comes to their pictures, that has to take precedence.

    I'm sorry about it too...:-(

    Keshi:

    You put as many pix of yourself on your blog as I put up of me! Yers are a little nicer to look at though :-)

    Fear exists in many forms for many different reasons. It's an emotion. And emotions don't lie.

    Angel:

    They have to be honoured just the same, doncha think?

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  14. I'm sorry, Chris. I know how important your family is to you and how much you enjoyed posting about them. I agree with everyone that has commented here...I'll miss hearing about your loved ones.

    It's a good thing my family and friends (and 85.1 cats) don't mind my posting about them, I'd have absolutely nothing to write about if they did.

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  15. The reason that the Bush Administration utilizes FEAR as their primary weapon on their own people is because it works. It trumps all other emotions and thought processes. Once FEAR is instilled little consideration is given to other matters. It lurks in the foreground, first and foremost.

    People fear change and the unknown. From the uber Rich to the poorest of the poor they all equally fear any alteration that might wipe out their routines and daily expectations. '

    People who live in fear of the electronic age must remember that the most dangerous enemy to their family may live three doors down or might accidently meet them at the next intersection.

    I am so mad about this that I'm about to start quoting Bible verses! This is actually the only bit that I have retained from my decade in the Gulag Archibiblico because it actually rings true from an Agnostic point of view...In Ecclesiastes 9:11 Solomon writes;

    "I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for TIME and CHANCE overtake them all."

    Lurkers Schmurkers!

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  16. Damn! I am too tired to read this. I will get back when I wake up.

    Who knows it might be catharitic for me?

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  17. WW's brother1:52 PM

    Hi everyone:

    I'm Within Without's brother and I am reading your comments here. As a basis to my comments, WW knows and you should know that I like his Blog. But to be upfront, I am the guy who objected to one post my brother put up - as he noted in this post.

    The Post related to my father and my objection was to the level of detail of personal information about my Dad's mental illness - and his general struggles in life - that he included. I understood that WW was doing the Post as his tribute to our father. I also fully understood the context and intentions of WW's post in that case, but as I said, objected to the level of detail WW went in to about our Dad. There are limits IMO.

    I complained to WW about that but to be clear, and WW can confirm this, did not ask him to delete the post. Since it's about our Dad, I'm gonna tell my bro what I think and believe me, he let me know his opinion.

    On another note related to this current post, I also have no objection to and in fact, really liked the images WW had on the site. I also enjoyed reading the Posts about our family more than any of the others. Pretty ironic eh!

    Some issues your blogging about here:

    Internet security and safety? My job's in tourism and I manage 28 websites to the promote the region of Canada I live in. I work every day to understand how the Internet works - especially how information on the Internet is sought, retrieved, and delivered. Just to buzz all your brains a little I want each of you to Google these two search strings:

    "All Hail Google"

    and

    "Confusion corner Winnipeg"

    Look at the results you get for search result 2 (of 2.27 million possible matches) for the first term and search result number 8 (of 136,000 possible matches) for the second string. The results provide links to 2 of WW's Blog posts. Pretty neat eh? Just one example of how information is picked up, retrieved and delivered to users of the web. The key question at issue in regards to WW's situation, is what do people do with that info.

    While there are safety concerns to consider, I don't think there are real significant concerns in relation to WW's posts or images related to his family. But I guess in regard to the concerns stated by his siblings, it could happen. I think identity theft may be the most significant concern when publishing too much personal information. This crime statistically speaking, is increasing. Still I think that can be addressed by some simple, self-imposed limits followed by the blogger - if they care. WW for example, probably shouldn't be posting images of his car's license plate on the Internet - mostly because of identity theft concerns

    Like all of you, I too will miss the posts about the family and the images. Hell, I have in the past sent him of bunch of those pictures you saw knowing he'd post them on his blog - and I wanted him to.

    I don't agree with my other siblings' concerns about posts or images of the family that are on WW's blog. But if they are, it is their right to express those concerns. No one has to agree with them. It seems WW had no other option - very shitty situation - for him to say the least. I could easily see that it was a "cathartic" experience for WW when he blogged about the family.

    I'm going to miss those Blog posts and images about the family too - it is what made WW's Blog so enjoyable - for me anyway. My one concern was content of one post as I noted so yes, I'm guilty on that but I believe there are limits. I think WW having to remove those images and posts is going too far but my siblings don't feel that way and that is their right. I think calling them fear mongers and running scared and stuff like that is going too far, but that's just my opinion.

    I think he should put the flickr site back up and just remove the images for those folks who object.

    Anyway, wanted to add my two cents......

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  18. WW's brother2:19 PM

    Oh, just to clarify since WW has two brothers, I am the one that he did the post on called "My Brother is a Bother".

    I realy liked that post and hope he doesn't delete it!!!!!

    Even though I'm a bother, it doesn't "bother" me :>)

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  19. Laurie:

    I'm not saying necessarily that you won't hear about them, although I certainly will be hog-tied in terms of what I can post about, particularly in the absence of pictures.

    If I AM going to post about them, I'll have to do it in a different way. And I'll be a lot more aware about what I say and how I say it.

    Or maybe I'll just go down to the Humane Society, take 85.1 cats off their hands and blog about them. :-)

    Homosophocles Erasmus:

    You put some good context on it all. I agree about Bush.

    And I really believe this IS fear of the unknown, or the what-if, or just plain privacy.

    And those things are sacrosanct, whether I agree with them or not or understand them or not.

    Especially when it involves my family.

    Gautami:

    Well, it MIGHT be cathartic for you. Or it might just be arthritic. I hope you had a good sleep. :-)

    WW's Brother (a.k.a. Gerry):

    Ha! I taught you to be WAY too smart! (Not). I certainly didn't expect this, but welcome.

    Your comments were mostly directed at visitors to this blog, so I'll just let that be and if any fellow bloggers care to respond directly to your comments, they're welcome to.

    Personally, I think you've been very honest and you've added a lot to the dialogue and, I hope, to the understanding of the issue itself but also our family and the Web beyond.

    Your stats on the Google search numbers are interesting, and they're true.

    But the numbers are so gargantuan that it proves one of my points: what's the chances? It's like trying to find one rain drop in a torrential storm.

    But the bottom line is exactly what you said: it CAN happen. And those concerns have to be respected.

    As far as the post on Dad goes, you did NOT ask me to remove it. I had to, though, for reasons I stated in this post.

    I agree with almost everything you said here, although that really doesn't matter. It was worth a lot more than two cents.

    Thanks.

    P.S. You sure are a bother. :-)

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  20. WW's brother8:39 PM

    Oh no you all know my first name! Just kidding, doesn't bother me. Just a clarification on this from WW's reponse a below:

    "Your stats on the Google search numbers are interesting, and they're true.

    But the numbers are so gargantuan that it proves one of my points: what's the chances? It's like trying to find one rain drop in a torrential storm."

    This is an incorrect conclusion. Since Google returns the 2 blog posts in the top 10 search results, the odds are then, 1 in 10, which are pretty good odds that someone has a "chance" of finding it. As least for those specific searches. The likelihood of someone typing in those searches is admittedly low.

    But Google also matches parts of word/phrases even if they are not all in the search string that was typed in, so you need to consider this point anyway. Therefore the numbers are not as "gargantuan" as you may think as to make the "chances" insignificant.

    Remeber, since the Blog is a Google Blog the page the Blog is on has a very high Page Rank of 9 out of 10. The Page Rank can be seen if you have the Google Toolbar downloaded on your Internet Explorer Browser. Google usually returns higher ranked pages such as the Blog page, high up in the search results as my examples demonstrated. If you do the same searches that I used a month or two from now, the results will likely be the same.

    If one doesn't care then it doesn't matter does it?

    On a related note, remember the only people you know "for sure" who has seen and read your blog are those people who respond to it. All the Lurkers Schmurkers Homo Escapeons referred to, are not trackable by the Blogger. These lurkers outnumber the dedicated bloggers (the responders) me thinks and you don't know who they are. Again, if you don't care, then it is not a big deal but my point is a lot more people read your blogs than just those who respond to a post on it.

    I'm sure lots of you know that anyway but my bro appears to (maybe anyway) not realize that.

    Cheers

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  21. WW's Brother:

    Your clarification amounts to looking at the forest rather than the trees or in this case, looking at a sequoia, but fine, your point is heard, at least by me, and you have made it.

    The larger point is OK, so people can find my blog. They can find an individual post on my blog.

    They can do a Google Earth search, I suppose, and hone in on my house or anyone else's that I post about, from Siberia or Timbuktu.

    But what do you think the chances are they're going to do any of that or any of the other things that are, technically, possible beyond that, let alone do anything bad to me or anyone AFTER as a result?

    infinitesimal.

    But again, even that's besides the point. The posts have been stripped of pictures and names and any identifiers.

    The Flickr site's deader than a doornail.

    The only thing left is for the blog itself to be deleted.

    I'm not there yet.

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  22. WW's brother (last post)10:01 PM

    I think you took my point way too seriously and I already said I agree the pictures and posts being deleted is uncessary. So no need to stigmatize me with that nonsense.

    My point is that people could stumble upon the blog and the chances (because of the way search engines work) is more tan infinitisemal or what ever word you used. Please don't stop blogging bro - not what I am saying, I think you either missed the point I was trying to make or you don't understand it.

    This is your blog so I will not rudely barge in again. My intentions from these posts were however, good :>)

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  23. these things happen, I usually ask unless i know for a fact they wont care.

    I am photo documneting dad's tatoo this month (depending on design) i have his ok for that.

    I am going to miss the picks, The HE lampshade shots, dont tell they have to go to?

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  24. WW's Brother:

    You were never being stigmatized. You wanted a debate on this in this forum, you got one.

    The infinitesimal chances I was talking about were of anything bad happening as a result of any Google search, not the search results themselves.

    Aidan:

    You're exactly right, that was the No. 1 mistake...not asking them, assuming blindly they'd get the same kick out of it as I did.

    As far as lampshade pix of HE, well, that's another story. You'll have to ask him :-)

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  25. Chris, I think its time for you to head over to the Humane Society to pick up some cats. They really are easier to deal with than those pesky humans.

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  26. Laurie:

    Ha!

    Well, I can't keep pets in my apartment, so that's a bit of a hurdle to overcome.

    But the cats would let me take and show their pix!

    Just kidding. The issue is over and done with. I don't want to alienate my loved ones, and I won't.

    I will agree, in general, with your contention that all humans -- including me -- can be difficult to deal with!

    But they're lovely just the same.

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  27. What the hell is that avatar supposed to be?

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  28. Homo Irascible:

    Can we get a translation of your comment please for us Martians who have no idea what you mean...

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  29. Quite honestly, if I found out a friend or family member was posting my image and/or information about me without having asked permission first, I would ask them to remove the information. Maybe I'm paranoid and maybe HE will yell at me for this, but I just wouldn't want to take any chances. There are more wackos out there than we think - or maybe I'm just a little jaded because my husband is a correctional officer and all he sees are wackos.

    I think you can still write anything you want about anyone you want as long as you don't identify them in some way.

    By the way, I totally agree with your brother about not posting pics of your car showing your license plate. I was a little surprised when I saw that too.

    Please don't delete the blog or stop blogging. I would miss you way too much.

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  30. Anna:

    Yes, you're right, I'm learning this more and more.

    I had the best of intentions but I was oblivious to the concerns of others. I think the concerns are way overblown, but I blindly applied my beliefs to others.

    I told people in my family about my blog and my Flickr site, I think most or all knew about it.

    What I didn't do was go to them and say OK, this is what I'm posting on there and these pix are on there, is that OK with you?

    And I didn't do that because I didn't have any concerns myself. It never occurred to me they might.

    So this one's all on me.

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  31. I had the same issue with some relatives that I'd blogged about. Personally, I feel if someone is out to do me or mine harm, they're going to do it whether or not I've got pictures of them up on my blog.

    I'm a public person, and I am easly found. Mostly. Although I do write under my maiden name, so that's some comfort for my family.

    I'm sorry you've had to obliterate your flickr account. Pictures add so very much to the stories we tell.

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  32. Pam:

    I agree, but it's still THEIR pictures I'm showing and stories about them I'm telling.

    And I don't feel I can stomp on their concerns about that with my belief that it's safe.

    I asked my daughter the other day whether she minded. She said no -- and besides, she's all over Facebook.

    I wonder how many of my nieces and nephews are doing the same.

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  33. Pam:

    Oh yeah, forgot to say...I brought my Flickr account back, but only using images of people who know and have given me their OK.

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  34. Anonymous6:19 PM

    I will miss the images,however I completely understand.

    Laura

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  35. Laura:

    Thanks! I'll try to post pix when I can of people who are OK with the whole thing...

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If you choose to use anonymous to comment, it is only fair that I reserve the right to obliterate your comment from my blog.