Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blog Anonymously or the Terrorists Win

I know it irritates some people to no end when bloggers and those who comment on blogs do their writing anonymously. Some see it as cowardly and not standing behind your statements. In truth, there are a lot of valid reasons to blog anonymously but Digby today gives a pretty good rationale:
I probably should say something about pseudonymity since it's come up recently.
This tradition goes back to the early days of our nation in which the enlightenment belief that pseudonymous written argument, based in reason rather than authority, democratizes ideas and promotes freedom. Many of the writers and activists who fomented the American revolution used fictitious personaes or wrote seudonymously --- Sam Adams wrote under 25 different identities. The idea (aside from protecting themselves from charges of treason!) was that the written words standing on their own, without the edifice of credentialed expertise and social status --- or grounding in the received word of religion --- had the greatest persuasive power. (The best example of this, of course, is Publius, of the Federalist Papers.) Writing pseudonymously openly distinguishes between the private person and a citizen of the public sphere by removing all but the disembodied voice from the argument. I find that interesting.
So there. Anonymous bloggers stand among the greatest Americans in history! We are upholding a great American tradition. I now think it’s downright unpatriotic to put your name to your blog. I mean, who are you to tell Sam Adams (all 25 of him) that he’s wrong or that he makes bad beer? Give me anonymity or give me death!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great point. Conservatives have a routine of dismissing any argument that comes from a "liberally biased" source without examining the content.
Journalism today sometimes gives too much or too little credibility to statements based on their source. Think of how often TV News broadcasts reported Bush's lies without question before the Iraq War because it came from the White House, while "unreliable" bloggers that passed on truthful information about Iraq were dismissed. I think a lot of people today have a hard time judging information at face value without handicapping it based on the source.

Schoenburg's column is a good example. He does a great job, but he was way off on his predictions about the voter referendum because he spends too much time talking to establishment leaders instead of the average voter.