The Blank Post

In college, I read a short story by Isak Dinesen called “The Blank Page.” Therein, a convent displays the wedding night sheet of princesses. Framed on the convent walls, idiosyncratically one might say, is proof of consumation of the marriage and the virginity of the bride. Hanging among these white squares featuring brownish-red blots is a clean, blank white sheet. No story nor explanation.

The professor of the class explained that this was the most interesting story to be told. It sets fire to the imagination. Why is this blank, pristine sheet included among the Rorschach blots of spoilt virginity? Our creativity supplies explanations for its inclusion. We become writers of its story.

I decided that the princess who provided this sheet was an active youth, and she broke her hymen through some tomboyish activity like riding a horse with one leg on each side instead of a ladylike side-saddle. When her bedsheet failed to show blood, her new in-laws were outraged and demanded an annulment. Our heroine did not offer a single word of explanation. She would not lower herself to comment on such accusations. She merely demanded that her sheet be proudly hung with the others.

That shut her in-laws up.

Sometimes when I read blog comments, I come across: “Comment deleted. This post has been removed by the author.” Why was the comment deleted? What did it say? I always try to imagine. Was it merely impertinent or was it offensive? If the latter, was the offense clever and personal or merely vulgar? Nothing I read on such blogs is as interesting or thought-provoking to me as what I imagine has been deleted.

And why does it have to say that it has been deleted? Why not just make it disappear with no comment? Why must I be told that the comment was there, but now it is gone? I don’t use Blogger, so I don’t know if this is a feature that can be chosen by the author. If so, what would make an author choose it? I deleted your comment, but I want people to know that I deleted something, so they’ll wonder about it. Maybe this is how the author puts people on notice. Toe the line, assholes, or you will be removed by the author.

If I read a blog that includes “Comment deleted. This post has been removed by the author,” I also wonder at the ambiguity of the notice itself. Which author? The author of the blog or the author of the deleted post. Did the blogger delete this offense, or was the blot removed in a fit of remorse by the person who wrote it?

Nature abhors a vacuum. My mind rushes to fill it.

The Blank Post.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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5 Responses to The Blank Post

  1. Michele R. says:

    If it states deleted by author it means the commentor. If it states it was deleted by the administrator it means the owner of the blog. There is no choice to omit that the comment was even there.
    I read that back then a mom would counsel her daughter on how to spill a capsule of pig’s blood just in case and to shut everyone up.

  2. D Money says:

    This post deleted by the author.

    J/K….I thought I was the only one that was interested in this sort of thing. Glad I’m not alone! I think it is the one reason I come back to check on blog comments to see when/if posts were deleted.

  3. SlippidyDippidy says:

    I have wondered those things too

  4. I don’t know about WordPress, but in Blogger you can set it up so you get emailed every time you receive a comment. That way, even if they delete it, it’s there in your inbox to read at your leisure 🙂

  5. Jessica says:

    I’ve only ever deleted comments that were vulgar or like, incredibly offensive. (The one stating as pure fact that I purposely got pregnant with Channing to “trap” Tarry was one of those.) I actually don’t even mind criticism if it’s something valid, or something that makes me think that maybe they did read what I had to say and maybe I didn’t express it well enough and should rethink what or how I wrote. I can handle valid criticism or a “I disagree with you and here’s why.” But the comments that are just insulting and/or vile (and there’s not many; those typically came from Formspring where people could be anonymous and brave) and not even intelligently written or formulated are trash and I treat them like trash. I don’t mind “I hate what you write and your opinions” because that’s at least a reasonable opinion to have. But I don’t have any tolerance for someone disliking me for whatever reason and thinking the best way to express that is making fun of Tarry or Channing or my weight or appearance. Your dislike of me becomes 100% invalid if the best way you can express it is to call me a Bobblehead.

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