NSFW? (not safe for work?)

Why “NSFW” is B.S.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to catch most of a Twitter Space held by Tokhun premium partners Poetonic and Aether Sovereign. Both are exceptionally gifted and intelligent artists and have a lot of interesting things to say about the NFT space and art in general.

I’m not very good at talking, so when I join a Space it’s just to listen. But it was a fascinating discussion that made me want to speak up for the first time.

Particularly when it turned to censorship.

But I couldn’t, because I couldn’t find the mic button to request permission to speak. Stymied by inexperience, I hurriedly DuckDuckGoed it and struggled to read down a long series of FAQs and listen to the discussion at the same time.

Turned out it was because you can only do that on mobile [shakes fist] and I was on my laptop. But here’s what I wanted to say.

is any of our work “safe for work?”

When we list our sales, we’re required by the platform to check whether the art is “acceptable for all audiences” or not. If it’s not, it is marked “NSFW” (not safe for work) and the sales page appears with a blurry overlay and a warning that blocks the image.

That’s bullshit.

First, because the very idea that something can be acceptable for all audiences is faulty from the jump. I highly doubt there is anything in the world that wouldn’t piss off someone.

We’ve all done or said something we thought was perfectly innocuous and been surprised when someone was upset by it. Perhaps even incensed. Everyone is different and has their own quirky ideas about what’s right and wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. You can’t please everyone, and it’s a waste of energy to try.

Second, why are we being made responsible for the misbehavior of lazy people at work?

I don’t care if I sound like a square. When people are at work, they’re being paid to work, not dick around online.

has work ethic evaporated, or has it always been this way?

My mother raised my sister and I to have a strong work ethic. Her father was an entrepreneur, and she spent part of her childhood working for the family business.

She started giving us tasks very early in life. There is a photo in one of her family albums of me at the age of three or four, standing on a stepladder next to her by the sink. She’s washing dishes and I’m rinsing.

She assigned us household tasks, and if we didn’t do them, we didn’t get our allowance. But a lot of other kids seemed to get their allowance without having to do anything.

If one of us made the mistake of complaining about being bored, she was simultaneously annoyed because we were complaining and delighted that we didn’t have anything better to do than some dreadful household task.

“If you’re bored,” she’d say, “you can take the screens out of all the windows and scrub them.”

By then it was too late to find something else to do. So guess what we learned in record time? We learned to work hard and entertain ourselves.

We learned there’s always work that needs to be done. We learned that boredom is the ennui you find yourself in when your mind isn’t occupied. We learned that boredom is a choice.

if you rely on external stimuli to relieve boredom, you’re doing it wrong

Even when you think there’s nothing left for you to do at work but check your Twitter notifications again, there’s always something left undone that you could be doing to make your job — or someone else’s — easier and better. It might not be fun, but life is full of not-fun things we have to do so everything doesn’t fall apart.

For example, how many times have you bitched about how dirty the microwave in the break room is because people don’t wipe out the splatters when they’re done zapping their uncovered lasagna? Do you dread having to use the same microwave even though you could take five minutes to clean it?

How many others complain about the five-minute task everyone wants done but no one will do?

Trust me, there is always something for people to do during down time at work that makes things better for everyone. Even if there aren’t (there are), people are still expected to work instead of playing games or browsing NFTs.

no image online is safe for work unless you’re supposed to view it at work

Any image someone looks at while they’re supposed to be working is NSFW by virtue of the fact that they’re being paid to do something productive for their employer instead.

It might seem strange for me to make this case because my work is considered “acceptable for all audiences.” And that’s the radio button I check when I list my NFTs.

True, I’m no Mapplethorpe — I draw scenes of cute robot characters that look like they could be from a children’s book. But it is far from acceptable for all audiences.

My work is totally unacceptable to those who revere centralized power and financial systems. At least it will be when I get that far into the story.

Is it safe for work?

Hell no! It doesn’t matter that it depicts robots falling in love and making soup. If someone is looking at it when they’re supposed to be working, their boss won’t care that it wasn’t porn. (Whatever that is.)

our job is to create, not to police everyone’s workday

We are not responsible for when and where people view our images.

I’m doing my job. I put in long, hard hours. It’s not part of my job to make it okay for people to look at my images while they’re supposed to be doing their own jobs. It’s not okay.

And they’re damn lucky I’m not their boss. If I walked by my employee’s desk and they were putzing around on the web, I’d make them go clean the crusty lasagna splatters out of the microwave and six-month-old gooey spills in the fridge.

Safe for work, my ass.

P.S. – Thank you, Mom!

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