Friday, March 04, 2005


Anonymity and Pseudonymity

Keith Burgess-Jackson hates "blogospheric cowards" and imposes the following punishments on them:
  1. He refuses to read their blogs until they reveal their identity.
  2. He refuses to read email unless the name of the sender appears.
  3. He refuses to link to or otherwise support anonymous blogs.
Presumably, for the sake of consistency, he also refuses to read anonymous or pseudonymous books.

It's cheap and easy for a tenured professor to insist that everyone else be as outspoken and forthright as he is. Burgess-Jackson can say practically anything he likes without fear of retaliation, due to his privileged position in the groves of academe. In this respect he's no different from his nemesis Bush-hatin' Paul Krugman, or Ward Churchill. Their jobs and livelihoods are protected in a way that those of ordinary mortals are not.

More than one blogger has lost his job because of his blogging. Most people constantly have to bite their tongues and keep their mouths shut, especially at work. If they look cross-eyed at their employers, they're apt to get fired. What about bloggers who live under repressive political regimes, like those in Iran? For the privilege of appearing on Keith Burgess-Jackson's blogroll, I guess they should reveal their identities and risk their lives.

It's easy for those ensconced in their ivory towers to pontificate about what the rest of us should do or say, and how we should do or say it.

Read what the Electronic Frontier Foundation has to say about the need for anonymity.

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