Some Notes on Anonymity
As yet another week has gone by with an American journalist sneering at bloggers because they seem to cowardly hide in cute screen names, I’d like to emphasize three elements to the situation, two if which I believe don’t receive enough attention in blogtopia.
The first obvious, widely commented facet is that anonymity is an employment cloak. Technically when I blog here I’m anonymous enough for my employer not to care what I say as long as I write nothing about work or identify with the employer. It’s always slightly amused me, for just the tiniest bit of effort will instantly reveal who I am, I’ve never attempted concealment from any database, anything relevant about me can be found in seconds. Being paradox is plain work duty, is all.
I’ve been harassed by right-wing freaks on the phone at work and at home, they’ve keyed my car after peeling off peace magnets, twice construction workers have bullied me on the freeway and motioned for pullover fights after seeing my Dean and Kerry sticker show, and y’all don’t want to know what’s arrived in the In box.
I could give a shit, this stuff is like swatting flies in my life. The point is this testosterone-ized, part-a-the-game semi-tough guy outlook about harassment is not at all how other bloggers respond to threats from their political views, and my response should never be taken as the correct one toward harassment.
I hear from sisters like Echidne how deeply fear-instilling even email harassment can be and I believe it. Fear is no stranger in my life, not at all, and some paths no soul should walk immunized me, somehow, from what harassing punks could actually do to me. More sane and comparatively normal life paths yield perfectly valid reactions of distressing fear to online harassment, sometimes extreme, especially for female bloggers.
It’s so wrong there’s no way to put it into text, and I wish to holy Jesus “journalists” would wake up to the unholy havoc sick freaks sometimes inflict on bloggers. I’ve noted before how deeply troubled I am to see female bloggers smeared with filth, but I also should have emphasized at the time how hurtful the instilling of fear, sometimes achingly extreme, is to some of our bloggers. Damn good reason for anonymity in avoiding that, yes, sneering journalism corps.
It’s a point not made enough in blogtopia, I think, and it’s a real problem that demands more attention. This is not acceptable, and at least some attempt has to be made to counter it, somehow.
Lastly I’m too often surprised and distressed about the ignorance toward the sparkly side of anonymity, its vastly utilitarian potential of soul food. I always like Amazon contribution links on blogs, for then I can help and people not know.
So in the course of sixty seconds I don’t laughably fool myself into what a great person I am, so I keep a correct, proper sense of my place in the world and what I should be doing in it.
This, too, should be more widely known, how precious anonymity can be as a tool against ego. It freaking works, I swear. Well, it can have a sometimes noticeable effect.
We hear about the dark cousin to identity anonymity, sock-puppetry, but is there a very well-known blogger or commenter out there who is right now completely anonymous to us, but for purely altruistic, spiritual reasons? I wonder sometimes.
Anonymity is a precious, often great thing, and if journalists understood what utter chumps they demonstrate themselves to be when sneering at it they’d finally stop doing it. Hopefully.