Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at www.twitter.com/brianhickey Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/brianhickey/. Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.

21 August 2009

Finally, an interesting story with Pittsburgh ties

Say what you will about me -- handsome, brilliant, God's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson (translation: lunacy-wallower) -- but the one thing you'd never be able to rightfully claim is "hides behind anonymity." But a lot of people do. Just look at the degradation of the civic conversation via sites like philly.com.
Using a fake name to throw around accusations strikes me as pretty much everything that's mentally/societally wrong with American Culture Vol. 2009.
I say all of this as an enabler allowing me to preen on a holier-than-thou soapbox in reaction to a cnn.com story that caught me eye this morn:
The reasons people want to be anonymous online vary. Political whistle blowers fear retribution; employees want to separate the personal from the professional; artists want their work to stand up without an attached biography; and some writers like Montanez take on a sort of Everyman quality by keeping their real names off their posts. ...
Some anonymous bloggers, like PittGirl, worry their veils of anonymity will be pulled back against their will, and plenty of news events validate their fears.
Earlier this week, for example, a New York Supreme Court judge forced Google to reveal the identity of a blogger who had been posting rants about onetime cover girl Liskula Cohen on Blogger.com, which Google owns.

Whistleblowers, business-not-pleasure, even jokes and civil mockery, that's fine with me. But using an identity-cloaking shield to guard oneself from having to own up to malicious lies or personal deficiencies like, say, racism? Not fine with me. And far too many people do it. Some anonymous commenters/bloggers could use a smackdown. (Except those on Kade's site. Fire away, guys and gals. You're American heroes.)

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