by Ghost of John Brown
I am a scurrilous anonymous blogger. At least by some people's standards. That was until today when someone "outed me". Fortunately for me, the source isn't exactly widely read. But it brings up a question as to why some of us choose to write anonymously. I know you'll be shocked, but I am really not the re-incarnated spirit of a Civil War rabble-rouser, and my name really isn't John. You'll note that I'm the only one of the writers on Illinois Review that doesn't go by my real name. There's a reason. In my profession, I work on contracts that are controlled by those that might not be all that excited about my personal political leanings. They might also not be all that excited about the things that I write about. One of my best friends was almost literally run out of town under similar circumstances a few years ago and now works in another State. Suffice it to say, that gets me a little leery.
I started blogging some time ago, but chose to use an anonymous tag line to protect my identity. If the publishers of Illinois Review were to force me to use my real name, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to write.
There are numerous others who use an anonymous tag line. Perhaps one of the more "infamous" is the blogger "Rusty Shackleford" at The Jawa Report. I am not even in the same league as "Rusty" (not his real name either), but consider that as someone who writes against Islamic extremism, "Rusty" has been the subject of several death threats, so his anonymity is crucial. Shortly after I wrote several articles about atrocities in Islam, a few people with Muslim names started following me on Facebook. Not something that made me sleep any sounder at night.
Anonymous blogging is even rooted in the founding of our Country. Benjamin Franklin wrote a large part of his writings under the name "Silence Dogood".
Unless your name is Michele Malkin, there is no money in blogging. I know this is shocking to all of you that hang on my every word. I got a free meal once, but that's about it. There are some that do make a "living" off of this effort. I'm certainly not one of them and none of my other bloggers do either. Even one of the most read blogs in the Country, and one of my personal favorites, Ace of Spades HQ regularly "passes the hat" for contributions if that tells you anything.
I don't do political consulting on the side, so I'm not looking for clients and I'm not running for political office either. Literally, the only reason I blog is the cathartic expression of being able to put my emotions and outrage in the electronic media.
Some people fail to realize this. Although it has been claimed otherwise, I have never publicly "outed" anyone who writes anonymously. The only time I may have come even remotely close to that is a former leftist blogger that has since shut down his site. I think I noted on a post that he was a Park District Board member in one of the suburbs. However, he signed his name to the bottom of his posts, so he wasn't exactly anonymous.
This political season things are already getting really ugly. It's ugly for everyone. It's probably a good thing for everyone to just take a deep breath. People are too easy to get offended by everything under the sun. There was a famous scene in the movie "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius". Bobby Jones was an attorney in addition to being arguably the greatest golfer to have stepped onto a green. A client came in, red in the face and looking for blood about a slight that was rendered to him by an associate. "Well, he told me to go to hell", said the client. In a very calm voice, Bobby Jones just leaned forward and said "Ya know, I looked it up, and I'm pretty sure you don't have to go". Slowly, you could see the blood and rage drain from the client's face until he got a smirk on his face, stood up and then walked out.
We need a few more Bobby Jones' out there.
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