The other night I was chatting with my friends and I mentioned that I was wearing my ‘filter’—that magical device that prevents me from blurting out rude comments at inappropriate moments [this came up in conversation as I was explaining why I didn’t ask a particular friend about their sex life]. My filter keeps me from using four-letter expletives outside of my home and keeps me from publicly burping, farting, inappropriately scratching, etc. It also prevents me from saying what I really think on some occasions. For example, I would rarely tell a friend if I thought their outfit was unflattering or if I thought they might be pregnant because their belly seemed a bit poochier than usual.
In the blogworld I use different filters for different audiences. Generally on Mormon sites I refrain from saying anything terribly heretical (unless it’s buried deep in the comments). When I’m in academic venues I filter out my colloquial speech and speak in ‘academese.’ In church settings wearing my filter generally means that I am silent when I disagree with doctrines or ideas that are presented in lessons–out of kindness for the teacher and their carefully crafted presentations. At times in Mormon settings my filter has led me to tell someone what I think they want to hear rather than speaking from my heart.
My question to each of you: Do you feel like you wear a filter? What does it prevent you from saying and/or doing? Do you have venues where you don’t wear a filter?