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May 22, 2010

Speaking of Club Ned: Time to man up, grow up, and go on record.

Our new digital culture permits a certain accepted wimpiness to masquerade as privacy and personal style. But anonymous writers are rarely worth your respect.

This blog does not publish anonymous comments.

Absent compelling reasons, nameless blogosphere participants, in our view, are rarely worth anyone's time, thought, or respect--even when they think and say brilliant things. Anonymous writers and commenters have already "discounted" themselves.

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Above: The revered French Resistance in action 70 years ago. Today, certainly, these heroes might need to comment and blog anonymously. However, lawyers, shoe store managers, Tulane grad students, accountants, and other country club Charlies haven't earned that privilege.

They are second-class citizens. They generally say third-rate things. Certainly, they have no incentive to exceed below-average. Feel free to look down on them--and enjoy it.

It doesn't take much thought or courage to lob one in there when you don't sign your name. Our new digital culture permits a certain accepted wimpiness to masquerade as needed "privacy" and personal "style". But it's a ruse. Most of us can do better than that. Don't buy into nameless blogging and commenting (or participation through pseudonyms) unless it's deserved.

As Walter Lippmann once reminded us, "cowardice" is a strong word, and you don't throw it around. We dislike using it. It implies a certain moral superiority of the user (which the writers of this blog would never claim, and do not wish to achieve). It generally furthers no discussions, and justifiably puts people on the defensive. But that word, unfortunately, may fit here.


If you want evidence and examples, see the comments on any given day to posts at Above the Law, which enjoys a status as one of the most successful sites ever (in or out of the law).

Check out the anonymous haters, nameless "experts" and scores of prissy pundits who won't sign their real name to their rants and indictments. (We don't know how much David Lat is paying editor Elie Mystal these days, but it's not enough. Mystal is a mensch, soldier, hero and lightning rod who is often himself targeted for abuse.)

Club Ned Exemptions. "You sure do have a pretty mouth." Special needs exemptions, however, may be available to deserving applicants at this blog. Examples: Rape victims discussing being raped. CIA operatives talking about their jobs. Cuban, Iranian, Chinese dissidents. Abused housewives. Risk-takers and Radicals. Real victims. And those who have experienced a "high profile" humiliation--like Ned Beatty's character Bobby in "Deliverance".

Everyone else? (1) Get over yourself. (2) Get some help. (3) Or simply get back to work. You're just not ready for the bigs until you sign your real name to your real words.

Past posts on the subject are here and here.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at May 22, 2010 05:42 AM

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