Some of the brave souls who rage against us Anonymous Ones say that we are damaging the public image of Academe. According to the anti-Anonymous writer in the Chronicle, Peter Plagens the Painter, we “skulk” (in fact, some of us simultaneously skulk and gripe, perhaps indicating a talent for multi-tasking?), we fear our stories might not “check out”, and those of us with tenure have “no excuse whatsoever”.
PhysioProf had some thoughts on this topic, which he posted over at FSP’s place, and which elicited some “interesting” reactions.
This is what I commented about pseudonymous writing and blogging:
I am convinced that those who rail against anonymity are weak-egoed credential-obsessed lickspittles who hate the fact that anonymous bloggers–and other writers–can develop tremendous influence and credibility in academia–and society at large–without relying on fancy credentials from fancy institutions. They are the kind of people who admire and tune their CVs on a daily basis, polish their framed diplomas, but who no one reads, listens to, or gives a flying fuck about. It drives them berserk that they are ignored despite their credentials, while many anonymous writers are respected, admired, and even loved.
One of the reasons FSP gave for her pseudonymous blogging was the following:
Every week I reject (delete) a number of obscene and/or threatening comments that are sent to me via this blog. I don’t delete comments that say that I am a selfish, exploitative, cheap, racist man-hater, as long as there is some content to those comments beyond the criticism and epithets. I delete only the truly obscene and hateful comments whose only purpose, as far as I can tell, is to demonstrate that there are immature and sick people out there.
And I expressed my sympathy with this point, and shame at its necessity:
And BTW, something you alluded to that makes me feel great shame is the phenomenon of “blogging while female”. Female bloggers, anonymous or otherwise, receive orders of magnitude more vicious, hateful, and threatening comments and e-mails than male bloggers, regardless of the content of their posts and solely for daring to speak publicly as a woman.
I am not exactly a milquetoast blogger, and I sharply criticize a lot public people, events, and things. But I am identifiable as male, and I never receive the kinds of comments and e-mails that you and other female bloggers do on a daily basis.
This is a disgrace, and it makes me sick, and sad, and ashamed, and you and every other female blogger out there–anonymous or otherwise–kick total fucking ass for not letting this patriarchal male garbage shut you up.
Well, some demented fucking wackaloon named Peter Plagens–who apparently wrote a piece in some academia-oriented pulp magazine decrying pseudonymous blogging and other writing–was not pleased with my eloquently stated opinion and showed up in the the comments to let everyone know:
Am I taking a risk in putting my real name on that piece because such people as “physioprof,” who thinks that I’m one of those “weak-egoed credential-obessed lickspittles” who indulges in “patriarchal male garbage” might be as threatening to me as some of your readers are to you?
As is patently obvious, Plagens is apparently so emotionally threatened and incensed by pseudonymous writing, that he loses all his reading comprehension when faced with it. It’s wackadoodle dipshits like him that are “weak-egoed credential-obsessed lickspittles”, while it’s another category of sick misogynistic scumbags who indulge in the “patriarchal male garbage” of harrassing women for “blogging while female”, pseudonymous or not.
One of FSP’s other commenters pointed this out:
Peter, you might want to brush up on your critical reading skills (and familiarity with women’s issues.)
“Patriarchal male garbage” refers to threatening “blogging while female” and not the kind of person with a 30 page CV.
Blogging while female also results in serious, graphic and generally overtly sexual threats being leveled for no obvious provocation. It’s pretty well documented; the trouble with the issue is men failing to understand why these sorts of ludicrous threats make women bloggers genuinely afraid.
Just to cap off his pathetic douchehoundery, Plagens ends his comment with a transparently infantile attempt at wit that just really speaks for itself:
Anyway, thanks again for giving the piece a few more readers.
The existence of weird creepy wackaloons like Plagens trolling around the Internet looking for people “criticizing” them proves exactly the point he seeks to debunk. Like I, or any other blogger, want some wacked out freak like that to know where I live? It’s exactly these kinds of loonie weirdos who are obsessed with knowing “who” everyone is that we need pseudonymy to avoid.
UPDATE: Here are two outstanding posts by Dr. Crazy and Profgrrrrl about Plagens’s superficial dipshittery, and his ridiculous inability to distinguish pseudonymity from anonymity. It’s pretty obvious that what really bothers douchewheels like Plagens is the inability to satisfy their prurient curiosity about “who” pseudonymous academics are. I say, fuck Plagens and his weak-ass ilk.