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Jan 28 2011

Not This Motherfucken Gibberish Again

Tenured Radical published a guest poste today from some Austrobelgian dipshitte named Katrina Gulliver at Ludwig Maximillian University, whatever the fucke thatte is. While the poste is a well-written exploration of the roles of bloggeing in academia, it also contains a bunch of snide passive-aggressive attacks on pseudonymous bloggeing.

This fucken drivel includes the following gems:

I don’t think online pseudonymity is inherently wrong or cowardly – it can serve a purpose, of which I have availed myself occasionally.

The persistence of pseudonymity in some cases seems more like an egotistical pose: much like someone who is in no danger hiring a bodyguard. And it only serves to perpetuate the (irrational) fears in academia about the dangers of the newfangled interwebs.

Yes, operating under my own name perhaps puts the brakes on some of the things I might say, but it also means I am operating without a net, without the retreat path of deleting a pseudonymous blog, with plausible deniability.

What a load of dumfucked bullshitte.

First, there are very good reasons for people to adopt a pseudonym beyond “in some cases seem[ing] more like an egotistical pose”. Is this author aware of the actual fucken death threats that some bloggers have received and the disgusting violent verbal sexual attacks many bloggers receive on a daily basis? Is this author aware that the vast majority of bloggers who report this shitte are women? Who’s “posing egotistically” when the first sentence of a blogge poste points out that the blogger “is a historian based at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich”?

Second, if anything, it is the *eponymous* bloggers who are “cowardly” and refuse to operate “without a net”, hiding behind the cloak of their real world credentials instead of allowing their writing to stand on its own and risking finding out that their blogge suckes asse and no one wants to read itte.

Third, as far as the “retreat path of deleting a pseudonymous blog, with plausible deniability”, more fucken bullshitte. There are numerous pseudonymous bloggers who have been blogging for fucken *years*, and have established a reserve of credibility and expertise with an extensive audience based solely on the reliability and excellence of their writing. Deletion of one of these blogges is done with no more or less plausible deniability than that of an eponymous blogge. And, anyway, is this author aware that *nothing* on the Internet can really be deleted and that there are publicly accessible archives of pretty much everything?

Finally, what could possibly be the fucken *point* of bashing pseudonymous bloggers like this, other than to attempt to deny them credibility and silence their voices? Is it a cowardly fear that someone might build a large audience that treats them as a voice of credibility without having to wave around degrees, CVs, and institutional affiliations like a fucken bludgeon? Is it the cowardly fear that in a competition for audience that includes pseudonymous bloggers, degrees, CVs, and institutional affiliations might not be worth jacke shitte?

What a fucken pompous asshole.

21 comments

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  1. 1
    tideliar

    Fukken bravo! I could fucking hear your keyboard shaking and smashing all the way in Memphis. knew something was going on.

  2. 2
    queenrandom

    Not to mention pseudonymity is quite useful for those of us who work at institutions with strict rules governing what their employees/trainees can say publicly*. Not everyone gets to say whatever the fuck they want and keep their position. It ain’t egoism that keeps food on my family’s table; I’d rather be safe than sorry.

    *People at my institution have been disciplined and/or fired for what they’ve said on blogs or in comments, this isn’t some made-up risk. Methinks the quoted author is a wee bit naive.

  3. 3
    KBHC

    I agree with you — I liked other elements of the essay, but was disappointed in the thoughtlessness with which the author addressed pseudonymity. There were a whole lotta unexamined assumptions in there.

    I also wonder if the threats faced by bloggers are worse in the sciences — in terms of sexual attacks, but also attacks from animal rights activists and anti-evolutionists. I know little of that part of the blogosphere though (historians/humanities generally), so maybe they deal with teh crazies too.

  4. 4
    Historiann

    KBHC makes a good point about the tenor of the discussions on sci blogs. I don’t read them all of course, but I think in general the tone on sciblogs is harsher and more combative, and that women in particular get treated much nastier on the sciblogs than on the humanities blogs. So, Katrina’s views are undoubtedly shaped by her perspective shaped by humanities blogs.

    My longer comment on the post at Tenured Radical got munched, so I’ll have to go back and re-post, but I think you’re unnecessarily harsh here, CPP. Katrina is a junior scholar working in North and South American history while teaching in Germany, so she’s got a lot of reasons to use her blog and Twitter feeds to make professional connections under her real name. I don’t agree with her that pseudonymity is always a defensive or weak pose of course, but I think she’s making a provocative feminist point about blogging under one’s own name.

    She doesn’t call anyone names or call anyone out–she’s just explaining her choices as a blogger.

  5. 5
    drugmonkey

    She doesn’t call anyone names or call anyone out–she’s just explaining her choices as a blogger.

    uh-huh.

    Look if she’s a ‘historian’ then she should be alerted to the historical context and social placement of her remarks, right?

  6. 6
    Genomic Repairman

    Dood, you have some high expectations. Like she’s supposed to get the bigger picture and some shit. Like she had some historical context for why people use pseudonyms. Like she was some kind of a historian.

    Uh, I got a C- in history, but still understand the importance of pseudonyms, you know like Publius and Federalist Papers.

  7. 7
    Historiann

    I think you guys are harshing on a young scholar overmuch. It’s not like there’s a peer-reviewed literature on the history of the academic blogosphere, ca. 2002-2010.

  8. 8
    FrauTech

    First of all, I’m glad someone could point out the obvious- that everyone who’s working in the blogosphere works in an academic institution, is tenured, doesn’t work in an at-will state, and has complete job protections for any statements they might make or be relataliated against for.

    Second of all, I always figured the Bronte sisters, Lewis Carrol, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Asimov, Dr. Seuss, George Orwell, and the authors of the Federalist Papers were all a bunch of cowardly douchebags. Glad she cleared that up for us.

  9. 9
    Katrina

    Thanks for the publicity, CPP.

    FrauTech: in a part not quoted here, I actually mention Charlotte Bronte’s pseudonym, as one of the “good uses” of a veiled identity in my original post.

    I’ve responded at greater length at TR’s site – including the HISTORICAL CONTEXT for those of you interested in that particular angle.

  10. 10
    Katrina

    Speaking of context, I forgot to say: my piece at TR was not just a rant apropos nothing. It was specifically written as a response piece to the Women’s History Blogging round table in the latest Journal of Women’s History. It might make more sense if you read those papers first.

  11. 11
    Knitting Clio

    I agree with Historiann about the tone of your post, which I think undermines the valid points you make about the necessity of using a pseudonym. I’ve met Katrina in real life — she’s English, not Austrobeligan (whatever that is), most definitely is not a dipshitte, and the university at which she is a postdoc is a real place: http://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/index.html

  12. 12
    Dr. Crazy

    Hold on a minute: every single post on CPP’s blog takes this tone. It would be positively bizarre if he used a different tone for any reason, but surely bizarre if he did so to protect the feelings of any other person, junior or not.

    And seriously: if you haven’t been called a dipshitte by him at some point, then it’s just because he doesn’t know you exist or he hasn’t gotten around to it yet. I find it really weird that anybody is actually concerned about this as if CPP even cares who Katrina is (which I’m going to go out on a limb say I’d be shocked if he did).

  13. 13
    Dr. Crazy

    For the record, there’s actually a good amount of peer-reviewed stuff on academic blogging. Maybe not done by historians, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing out there. (I know this because Dr. Crazy gets more citations than my real life self does.)

  14. 14
    Comrade PhysioProf

    I would be very interested in an explanation of how “tone” could possible “undermine” any “valid points” in an argument. Because if you are saying that the truth value of an assertion depends on the “tone” in which it is expressed, then I call shenanigans. Maybe what you are really saying is that you simply dislike the “tone”, and that it makes you think poorly of the person who employs it, but that you assess the truth value of the assertions independently of tone?

  15. 15
    skeptifem

    If you give a fuck about tone, to the extent that it can undermine the point of what is written, you don’t give a fuck about honesty, and aren’t really worth talking to.

  16. 16
    ga

    A public blog posting needs to be read *after* reading the roundtable in a journal to which it “responds?”

    Two things: That should have been prominently noted at the start of that post—otherwise who knows that? Its presented as a comment on how blogging identity has changed. If it depended upon the readers’ knowledge of other specific material it should have been clear about that up front.

    The second issue is that whatever it may or may not be replying to in the JWH roundtable article, the fact is that statements are made about pseudonyms and posting that are, to put it mildly, clueless. Ms. Gulliver might have the freedom to post under her own name without fear of retaliation or job loss—many men and women do not.

  17. 17
    Spiny Norman

    There’s another fuckin’ thing, too. And that is that some things I wish to say publicly would be *distracting* to my students. I’m not embarrassed by these things, but it is pedagogically helpful to not complicate a student’s view of me with my views on politics, music and the arts, etc. My students have plenty to worry about already, without that extra noise.

  18. 18
    nicoleandmaggie

    CPP, I continue to love you.

  19. 19
    El Picador

    One of your problems is that you set yourself as arbiter of “good uses” when you very likely have only a glimmer of a slice of the many reasons people have for using pseuds. Hey, whyncha take on sock puppetry next? That’d be awesome!

  20. 20
    Frankie

    You might want to consider in training your students that a little *distraction* might help releasing some extra tension and become more effective and expansive in their work.

  21. 21
    ginger

    Ribonuclease A and I gotcher tone right here, motherfucker.

    http://zomgscience.net/?p=162

  1. 22
    Tweets that mention Not This Motherfucken Gibberish Again « Comrade PhysioProf -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katrina Gulliver, Andrew D Devenney. Andrew D Devenney said: Wear the title "Austrobelgian dipshitte" w/ pride. Ignore this asshole, Katrina | RT @katrinagulliver: Wow, I'm famous! http://bit.ly/gJtz9C [...]

  2. 23
    Dr. Crazy Beats a Dead Pseudonymous Horse « Reassigned Time 2.0

    [...] who got in on the act, arguing in favor of writing eponymously.  And then Comrade PhysioProf, in the colorful way that we have come to expect from him, challenged Gulliver’s [...]

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