Okay, it’s unscientific. But based on my tally, lefty and middle-of-the-road bloggers seem more likely to sign what they write than righty bloggers do.
Anyway, I can’t imagine anybody not signing what he or she writes. Part of it is my ego.
I’m an ex-daily newspaper columnist. Even at age 62, I still get a kick out of seeing my byline and my photo on my scribblings, most of them online these days.
What’s funny to me is that a lot of conservatives consider themselves tough guys (and gals). They see liberals and moderates as wimps. But in cyberspace, it looks to me like the more conservative the blogger, the more likely he or she is to hide behind a pseudonym.
Okay, I’m a union card-carrying lefty Democrat. I voted for President Obama in 2008 and will do so again in November.
Oh, I understand that discretion can be the better part of valor among righty bloggers. Heck, if they put their names to what they wrote, Obama’s “New World Order” thugs would shut them up for good.
The president’s black helicopters soon would be hovering over their heads and radioing down to those secret, jack-booted, UN troopers – from non-white nations, of course — who love to smash down doors of patriotic white folks, dress them in orange jump suits and and frog march them in cuffs and shackles into one of Overlord Obama’s secret FEMA concentration camps.
On the other hand, I can safely put my mug and my John Hancock on my stuff because I’m — you guessed it — a hireling of the NWO “propaganda ministry.”
Anyway, this old reporter turned history teacher finds anonymous bloggers of any political persuasion eminently ignorable. In my book, no name equals no credibility.
I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, far from it. But my guess is that fear undergirds a lot of this anonymous ultra-right wing cant. I don’t just mean fear of the NWO. I suspect the pseudonym “patriots” — from latter day Know Nothings and neo-Confederates to birthers and folks of the Obama-is-the-anti-Christ persuasion are scared silly that:
- precious few people take them seriously (They’re right, few do.)
- the future is not theirs (It’s not.)
So they snipe and snarl, unnamed, in cyberspace, spinning conspiratorial fantasies and spewing tough talk that all sounds like crazy talk to most people.
“Before the Internet, every village had an idiot,” says David Nickell, one of my union buddies. “After the Internet, the idiots have their own village.”
At least those screeds were signed. As far as I know, all newspapers require signatures on letters to the editor.
No matter, the reporters, editorialists and columnists at whom the letters are aimed almost never pay any attention to them, except when the hate mail is especially crazy, vitriolic or just plain paranoid. The loopiest ones get tacked on bulletin boards as trophies or jovially swapped with scribes at other papers.
I got a kick out of trading poison-pen letters by mail with fellow pundits. I love cyber hate mail, too. It saves me money on postage. All I have to do is hit “forward” on my computer.
“Half the fun is making them jump,” lefty lawyer Clarence Darrow supposedly said of his detractors. Amen.
The editorial page editor at the paper where I worked — a crusty, cigar-chomping guy straight out of the movie “The Front Page” said of rants: “Nobody gives a damn about Joe Blow’s letter except Joe Blow and nuts like Joe.” He’s pushing 90 and retired. But I’d bet he’d say the same thing about anonymous blog posts.
I suggested in this column a while back that if I ever wrote a book about anonymous bloggers I’d call it Profiles in Cowardice. I’ve changed my mind. I’d call it Nobody Really Cares About What You Write Except Other Nuts Like You.