More on Psuedonymity

This time, Tasty Manatees weighs in with about the same rationale as me, but taking it to its logical conclusion:

Would you post to a blog? Knowing that four years later, a prospective employer could realize you were the person who negatively portrayed someone who is one of their important clients or a Senator who their firm needs help from?

Enter Jonah Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan.

Up until the Blogger Revolution, Goldberg, Sullivan, and their fellow pundits and publications had a virtual monopoly on the inside skinny. As a Washington lawyer, if I wanted to tell a story, I would have had to go through a professional writer to stay anonymous while getting the story out, and they could publish or hold whatever they wanted. If you wanted to disseminate a viewpoint or further a political goal through print, you had no choice but to go to them or simply do without. Even after the Internet became widespread, it was still beyond the capabilities of most non-computer programmers to set up and maintain a high-traffic website. Now, with the advent of Mavable Type and a host of other easy-to-use applications, the days of the professional pundit monopoly are over.

I think the argument is that the pro-writers who are against psuedonymity are essentially Internet Luddites. There is a new culture (psuedonymity) which threatens their monopoly (punditry) by removing a barrier to entry (having to give up your primary career is large part.) Like the Luddites, they don’t like being marginalized. When you are dealing with cultures, rather than machines, you smash it in different ways. You do it with words.

I’m not saying that everyone who looks down on psuedonymity is a Luddite. Certainly people who are not professional writers like Den Beste who find it distasteful don’t have that motivation. I’m not even sure if the majority of pro-writers who find psuedonymity distasteful do so for that reason — but it is something to keep in mind.

One Comment

  1. SayUncle says:

    Also, i find that psuedonymity and anonymity get rid of any predispositions someone may have if they know who you are. i.e., he’s just a janitor, what does he know. Or he’s an engineer he must know something. etc.