Poll: When is it OK to “out” anonymous bloggers?

posted at 1:14 pm on June 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

In one corner: Ed Whelan of Bench Memos.  In the other: Glenn Reynolds, James Joyner, and Rick Moran.  All four are highly respected bloggers, but they have squared off over a contentious point in the blogosphere.  Is there ever a time when one blogger should tear away another’s anonymity?  If so, what threshold should abuse meet before taking that action?

Ed Whelan got steamed over a rather personal style of criticism for his analysis of the Sotomayor nomination from Publius of Obsidian Wings, an anonymous attorney who has blogged for years under a pseudonym.  Whelan explains why he felt it necessary to expose the blogger while rebutting the criticism:

One bane of the Internet is the anonymous blogger who abuses his anonymity to engage in irresponsible attacks.  One such blogger who has been biting at my ankles in recent months is the fellow who calls himself “publius” at the Obsidian Wings blog.

In the course of a typically confused post yesterday, publius embraces the idiotic charge (made by “Anonymous Liberal”) that I’m “essentially a legal hitman” who “pores over [a nominee’s] record, finds some trivial fact that, when distorted and taken totally out of context, makes that person look like some sort of extremist.”  In other of his posts (including two which I discussed here and here), publius demonstrated such a dismal understanding of the legal matters he opined on—including, for example, not understanding what common law is—that it was apparent to me that he had never studied law.

Well, I’m amused to learn that I was wrong about publius’s lack of legal education.  I’ve been reliably informed that publius is in fact the pseudonym of [redacted].  I e-mailed [redacted] to ask him to confirm or deny that he is publius, and I copied the e-mail to the separate e-mail address, under the pseudonym “Edward Winkleman,” that publius used to respond to my initial private complaints about his reckless blogging.  In response, I received from “Edward Winkleman” an e-mail stating that he is “not commenting on [his] identity” and that he writes under a pseudonym “[f]or a variety of private, family, and professional reasons.”  I’m guessing that those reasons include that friends, family members, and his professional colleagues would be surprised by the poor quality and substance of his blogging.

Publius responded:

As I told Ed (to no avail), I have blogged under a pseudonym largely for private and professional reasons. Professionally, I’ve heard that pre-tenure blogging (particularly on politics) can cause problems. And before that, I was a lawyer with real clients. I also believe that the classroom should be as nonpolitical as possible – and I don’t want conservative students to feel uncomfortable before they take a single class based on my posts. So I don’t tell them about this blog. Also, I write and research on telecom policy – and I consider blogging and academic research separate endeavors. This, frankly, is a hobby.

Privately, I don’t write under my own name for family reasons. I’m from a conservative Southern family – and there are certain family members who I’d prefer not to know about this blog (thanks Ed). Also, I have family members who are well known in my home state who have had political jobs with Republicans, and I don’t want my posts to jeopardize anything for them (thanks again).

All of these things I would have told Ed, if he had asked. Instead, I told him that I have family and professional reasons for not publishing under my own name, and he wrote back and called me an “idiot” and a “coward.”

While Glenn gave a measured and somewhat disapproving view of Ed’s actions, James and Rick passionately denounce the outing.  James:

While I generally find the practice of revealing people’s secrets to the public distasteful, there are times when it’s appropriate.  Public officials who are abusing their power is the most obvious case.   Here, however, there is no public benefit achieved. Whelan is simply annoyed that Publius had been “biting at my ankles in recent months” and critiquing his blog posts.

Jeopardizing a man’s career and family relationships over something so petty is simply shameful.

Rick, as is his wont, writes at length about his outrage:

The point is, there are a lot of good reasons for bloggers to remain anonymous and Ed Whalen has no right to decide differently just because he got steamed about someone’s response to his analysis. Did Publius commit a crime? Was he slandering Whalen? If not, Whalen’s fit of personal pique looks low, tawdry, childish, and vengeful. The closest Publius got to getting personal with Whelan was in calling him a “know-nothing demagogue.” And this was after making the point that Whelan knew better and was simply pandering to conservative sensibilities.

Holy Jesus, Ed. I’ve got pretty thin skin myself but it would take a helluva lot more than that to set me off. Questioning my integrity will do the trick as will trying to tell me what to write on my own site. And if you plan on commenting on this or any other post without reading what I’ve written and instead, substitute what you think I wrote or make the same points I made in the post and try and convince me I didn’t make them, you might as well be prepared for some skin flaying because that is my number one pet peeve.

But a “know-nothing demagogue?” In the rarefied atmosphere you inhabit at NRO and other elite bastions of opinion, them’s might be fightin’ words, but in the blogosphere, that’s almost a compliment. To point out that almost any blogger has experienced much, much worse (and dished it out accordingly) would be to mention the obvious to anyone who has spent more than an hour reading blogs.

When I first began blogging, I used a semi-pseudonym, a nickname I’d had for two decades before blogging, for much the same reason as Publius.  I worked in the corporate world and not academia, but I didn’t want my firm’s customers or my staff to get uncomfortable working with me.  My family already knew about the blogging, so that wasn’t a motivation for me, but otherwise I completely understand why Publius wanted to retain his anonymity.  My success eventually outed me, and it did cause me some problems — most of which were self-inflicted — but I’m happy about how it worked out since, for obvious reasons.  Had someone else outed me instead, I would have been furious, and for good reasons.

Had Publius published Ed’s personal information, or had slandered him factually, I could understand the need to make his identity public and force him to bear responsibility for such attacks.  However, as Rick says, calling someone a “know-nothing demagogue” doesn’t qualify.  It may be annoying, and I think it reflects very poorly on Publius, but that’s the kind of ad hominem attack bloggers get from Day One.  Truman’s Axiom comes into play here — if a blogger can’t take that kind of heat, he ought to reconsider blogging.

Ed’s a great blogger, but I think he let Publius get too far under his skin, and he reacted poorly in outing someone and risking their professional career.  Outing Publius didn’t do anything to advance Ed’s argument, but made him look vindictive and petty instead.  Bloggers should worry less about the anonymity of bloggers (which isn’t a “bane” at all) and respond to the arguments instead — or ignore them.

Do you agree or disagree?  Cast your vote in the poll below, and this poll will take multiple answers:


Update: SteveMG asks me the following in the comments:

I’m curious as to whether your bloggin changed substantively once you became public? Did you say things anonymously that you wouldn’t have publicly? Even if it didn’t affect your job, friends, et cetera? In other words, did the “cover” of anoynmity give you – consciously or not – a freer hand?

I don’t think it changed my blogging at all, mainly because I always prepared to get outed, accidentally (as it happened) or otherwise. I was never inclined to hyperbolic writing, anyway.

Update II: Ed Whelan responds here. Michael Krauss agrees with Ed. And Joe Gandelman has a good roundup of thinking on this issue.


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Breaking News: Mayor Ray Nagin quarantined in Shanghai

utebell on June 7, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Oh you’re just full of good news today, aren’t you? :)

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:57 PM

I’ve had more than one argument here with a poster with whom I agree mostly or entirely on their political position, but can’t tolerate the contempt they show for a whole group of people. I don’t know if arguing against such hateful attitudes is the correct approach. And sometimes I am simply not up to such an argument, so simply avoid such threads. But I confess that I am intolerant of intolerance and a hate hater.

God willeth that we endlessly hate the sin
and endlessly love the soul, as God loveth it.

– The Anchoress of Norwich (aka Julian)
Revelations of Divine Love (c1393)

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Do 18% of those commenting @ HotAir post by their names?

I haven’t noticed comments coming from so many real names.

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM

I dont use my real name, not because I am trying to remain anonymous but because I’m old school. My nic does link to exactly who I really am though.

Times have changed and it may be time to rethink my personal blog behavior. Nice will not get us anywhere. Not anymore.

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Just remember that there is a difference between being civil and respectiful and being a doormat. It isn’t about being nice, it’s about being real without being reprehensible.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:34 PM

But I confess that I am intolerant of intolerance and a hate hater.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

If only there were more like you in this world…it would be a much better place.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:35 PM

There have been several truly vile things said to some of our regular gay commenters.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Most conservatives I have encountered in person or on line are not at all bigoted against any group of people. But there are indeed some very vile and bigoted people who at least call themselves conservative and some post here.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

I really have not noticed this. I’ve seen some vileness (mostly trolls) and I’ve seen a little bigotedness. However, I can’t recall anything blatantly anti-gay. I only know of one person (i think) who is publicly gay and who posts here. I’ve been reading the site (off and on) since MM started it.

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:35 PM

It would be interesting to know how non-political Professor Publis’ classroom is really. My experience is the more flaming the liberal the more he/she insists that they show no political bias in their teaching.

highhopes on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

He may well think that his views reflect no political bias, that they are just normal, given and mainstream. And they may well be in the mentally inbred closed environment of most colleges and universities these days.

MB4 on June 7, 2009 at 8:36 PM

But I confess that I am intolerant of intolerance and a hate hater.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

But are you going to cram tolerance down the throats of the intolerant???

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:36 PM

God willeth that we endlessly hate the sin
and endlessly love the soul, as God loveth it.

– The Anchoress of Norwich (aka Julian)
Revelations of Divine Love (c1393)

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Mebbe so. But which ends up in hell?

Ps 15
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
NASU
Prov 8:13
13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate
.
NASU

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

2 “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men,
NASU

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 8:42 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Patience is a virtue. Tolerance, a weapon.

(I just like saying that)

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

I went over to Instapundit to look at what was going on. The thoughts on the subject of this thread are pretty interesting. Especially the ones who think that the outed is not worthy of sympathy because he is a liberal. They make some truly valid points about the things that liberals have had no hesitation to putting out in the public domain. The examples given were national security documents, Prop 8 supporters private information and Republican gays that they feel are being hypocritical. Maybe Conservatives won’t ever regain stature until everyone has the same ground rules. Depressing.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:42 PM

The truest test of character is what someone would do if they thought that no one else would ever know.
- Somebody or other

Which, btw, implies that a believer can never have the truest test of character as he/she would believe that at least God would know. But then, I suppose, that is for an Atheist v. Believer thread for when AllahP thinks that traffic needs a lift.

MB4 on June 7, 2009 at 8:43 PM

it’s about being real without being reprehensible.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Good.

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 8:44 PM

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Please don’t think I am painting the whole site. It truly is few and far between that it happens. And usually only happens on the very volatile threads.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM

So the flame charred bovine flesh and the rancid malted barley water have agreed with me,and for the moment I am feeling fat and contented, how the heck are the rest of you feeling?????

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:52 PM

MB4 on June 7, 2009 at 8:43 PM

I would note that that is a very Western attitude, as guilt is a private concern. One feels guilty even if no one else knows what he did. For shame-based cultures, this is not a concern, as shame is a purely public phenomenon – one cannot be shamed unless others know what he has done.

This is why Westerners are better behaved as individuals, more productive, and can be dealt with on a rational basis, while individuals in tribal cultures act irrationally and can turn on a dime, without any reason.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:53 PM

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I thought you were referring to this thread (which I’ve read) and I thought I must be getting really old …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:54 PM

“One bane of the Internet is the anonymous blogger who abuses his anonymity to engage in irresponsible attacks.”
WTF is this crap? The Obama/government run media hide behind their employers; Report completely FALSE NEWS(?); Try to spoon feed people of intelligence this feces; And expect to get rewarded for this tripe.
I may not be the brightest student at MIT, but you can’t feed me this bull shit!
By the way; What country are you really from?

Cybergeezer on June 7, 2009 at 8:55 PM

and I thought I must be getting really old …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Dont kid yourself, you are….. ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:55 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:52 PM

A little grilled pork, a little Tennessee whiskey…I’m feeling pretty darned good..

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:56 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Fosters and beef stew: Based on an “authentic” Hungarian goulash recipe (from the net) with indian spices, tomatoes (very non-authentic according to the Magyars). Plus a couple of spoons of peanut butter to make it “african”.

Worked pretty well. Leftovers for two more meals.

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:57 PM

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Fosters? We call that good night beer here…it kicks.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Don’t feel lonely. I have teased a couple of folks today and they thought I was serious so I am obviously not posting in a clear manner. My fault. I love HA except when people post Allah’s tweets from Twitter.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Rancid grapes and charred bird meat. A little gas but otherwise feeling chipper.

katy on June 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

“One bane of the Internet is the anonymous blogger who abuses his anonymity to engage in irresponsible attacks.”
WTF is this crap? The Obama/government run media hide behind their employers; Report completely FALSE NEWS(?); Try to spoon feed people of intelligence this feces; And expect to get rewarded for this tripe.
I may not be the brightest student at MIT, but you can’t feed me this bull shit!
By the way; What country are you really from?

Cybergeezer on June 7, 2009 at 8:55 PM

I’m from the United States and completely agree with that statement. What the children of Joseph Gobbels do is no excuse for how anyone else acts whether on the internet or in real life.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Oops:

with plus indian spices

Don’t want the Hungarians after me …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 8:59 PM

I see both good and bad with anonymity. I have been emailed and IM’ed repeatedly by some of the more rabid idiots on the old AOL message boards; I had to block a few posters because of it. I wonder if a few of the trolls on this board might react similarly; I have not heard of any such behavior.
On the negative side I would like to be able to recognize any fellow HA posters at the next tea party. I understand that there are security issues that would make some posters hesitant to go public; you never know where the trolls are. I will be in the Dallas area.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 8:59 PM

But are you going to cram tolerance down the throats of the intolerant???

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 8:36 PM

For you, I will take some of the nasty vegetables in a spoon and make yum yum sounds, slurp them down myself, then go, “Hmmmmmmmm!”

For an approach to be successful, it must be age appropriate.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:00 PM

one cannot be shamed unless others know what he has done.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:53 PM

I would add to this another interesting difference:

I cannot be guilty because of the acts of others (assuming that I had nothing to do with it) but in a tribal culture I can be shamed by the acts of others that I had no control over, because the shame is what others think of the indivdual, not what the individual thinks of anything.

This was to fill in the gap on why tribal, shame-based cultures are so difficult to deal with on a rational basis.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Fosters? We call that good night beer here…it kicks.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

It’s ok. I lived in new jersey for 7 years and in our grad school bar (which I ran for one year) we had much better stuff. Some of it’s very hard to get here in Canada (govt liquor and beer stores).

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:02 PM

I blog and post comments under my real first name. For a few years, I wrote articles for a now defunct site under my real first and last name that were cross-posted at my blog. I have written openly about my personal life and it wouldn’t be difficult to track me down — although I can’t imagine anyone caring enough to do that. I am careful when writing about friends and family, preferring to use first initials instead of names. Just as Publius didn’t give permission to be outed, neither did my loved ones.

That said, internet anonymity bothers me not at all. Offensive posts are offensive regardless of the name attached. I actually enjoy and admire creative pseudonyms. If I could, I would give some kind of web award to our very own Manly Rash.

I try to write honestly and respectfully, although my track record is far from perfect. I don’t worry so much that a reader will hold me accountable for what I write, but that God will.

Terrie on June 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Don’t feel lonely.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:58 PM

Where do you get lonely. I wish. Wife made salad. Plus two daughters for whom I am the taxi service (gymnastics and horses) and 3 cats …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:05 PM

But I confess that I am intolerant of intolerance…

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

*cough*

huh?

JetBoy on June 7, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Depressing.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Everything you report them saying about the Left is true. I just don’t know what I will do if all that becomes true of the Right as well. Good thing I’m used to living as a hermit.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:07 PM

For you, I will take some of the nasty vegetables in a spoon and make yum yum sounds, slurp them down myself, then go, “Hmmmmmmmm!”

For an approach to be successful, it must be age appropriate.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Well at least you arent making fun of my prior occupation…. Oh wait…… Damn it…….. ;p At least I was never a lawyer… ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Maybe some kind of shirt/hat/button/logo available only to “members” of HA?

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

JetBoy on June 7, 2009 at 9:05 PM

(Channelng Austin Powers)…. Oh behave………. ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:10 PM

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Well, I meant lonely in that I was commiserating with your “really old” remark but I can see by your life (taxiing daughters) that you are yet a youngster. My youngest is twenty-five.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 9:13 PM

available only to “members” of HA?

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Speaking of, what the heck is the FB that I have been seeing HA members speak of????

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:14 PM

Maybe some kind of shirt/hat/button/logo available only to “members” of HA?

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

I emailed AP about a T-Shirt about a month ago, no reply. Don’t want to make my own because of TM infringement.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Speaking of, what the heck is the FB that I have been seeing HA members speak of????

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:14 PM

Sorry, maybe I’m a bit dense. What is an “FB”?

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:16 PM

I emailed AP about a T-Shirt about a month ago, no reply. Don’t want to make my own because of TM infringement.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Yea, I have a cafepress account and would have made HA apparal a couple of years ago except for that same issue.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM

(taxiing daughters) that you are yet a youngster
Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 9:13 PM

They are both old enough to drive (soon for the younger). The older one is “busy”: engineering (school), politics (volunteer) and writing (every other minute).

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM

Sorry, maybe I’m a bit dense. What is an “FB”?

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:16 PM

If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking. I suspect it may be a irc channel or live chat lounge but dont know for sure.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:20 PM

At least I was never a lawyer… ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

I would never accuse you of being that low.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM

… TM infringement …
doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM

That would be up to MM rather than AP. I think she’d be open to it but good luck getting hold of her …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM

I would never accuse you of being that low.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Hmmm, Loxodonta… Isn’t that a dentist for elephants???

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:24 PM

That would be up to MM rather than AP. I think she’d be open to it but good luck getting hold of her …

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Yup, it’s be easier for me to get a hold of Axel Rose than to get a hold of MM…

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:25 PM

HA has my email as a part of my application to this website.

ED? AP? Ms Malkin? If any of you are monitoring this board can you please respond?
Is there any plan for hats, t-shirts, buttons, or approvals for us to make our own?

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM

I blog and post comments under my real first name.

Terrie on June 7, 2009 at 9:03 PM

I think everyone should comment under their real first name. It seems like the least someone could do. I comment under my real first name even though I have been dead for 70 years.

Sigmund on June 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM

If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking. I suspect it may be a irc channel or live chat lounge but dont know for sure.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Thanks for trying.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:29 PM

When someone “outs” a blogger on a personal level, it’s clear the “outter” wants everyone to know…….this is personal.

In these cases, I see the “outter” as someone who has lost perspective, is taking themselves FAR too seriously, and whose ego needs to be moderated by a heavy dose of family outtings, preferably with his/her sister/brother who remembers everything and doesn’t have a qualm about reminding him/her.

:)

AnninCA on June 7, 2009 at 9:31 PM

I think everyone should comment under their real first name. It seems like the least someone could do. I comment under my real first name even though I have been dead for 70 years.

Sigmund on June 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Would that be “Sigmund Fraud”?
I post as “Mad scientist” because I didn’t think “pi**ed-off scientist” would have made a good first impression on the board monitors.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:32 PM

I think everyone should comment under their real first name. It seems like the least someone could do. I comment under my real first name even though I have been dead for 70 years.

Sigmund on June 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Being the ancent (especially in internet terms) dude that I am, I actually remember (and suffer Pavlivian conditioning to)when it was impossible to log onto a computer network using anything other than an anonymous nic. Strange how ancient rituals and relics seem to haunt some of us old timers.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:33 PM

The truest test of character is what someone would do if they thought that no one else would ever know.
- Somebody or other

MB4 on June 7, 2009 at 8:43 PM

And what about the character of those heroes in battle, who aren’t without witnesses, but choose to risk their lives for others or even choose to knowingly sacrifice their own lives so that others may live? Like those we honored yesterday. That seems an even greater test of character.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:33 PM

I was just thinking……..

…….. I don’t have my own ‘blog’ as of yet, but maybe some of us post anonymously because we are horribly grotesque creatures, one eye considerably larger than the other, crooked teeth that gnash and bite, hunched backs that cause us to type sitting at an angle, broken twisted noses with long prickly hairs protruding into whiskers coming out of moles on our faces, sitting in our own feces, covered in moth bitten robes with stains of bodily fluids not to be mentioned, and a stench, a stench that would cause the decomposing to vomit.

Or……….

……. we find it fun living a life in cyberspace as our alter ego, with the freedom to express our opinions with out the fear of the “Political Correct Police Department” knocking on our doors, threatening our employers, or harassing our neighbors.

In my case, I have a six year old son and I am a single father. I am a Conservative that lives in very Left Southern California that wouldn’t blink an eye yet challenge my qualifications to be a parent based on my political beliefs………

……… When Justice, the Rule of Law, Freedom from Political Prosecution, and the true Free Press returns to this country, I will gladly share my hunchback with any who inquire.

Seven Percent Solution on June 7, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Would that be “Sigmund Fraud”?
I post as “Mad scientist” because I didn’t think “pi**ed-off scientist” would have made a good first impression on the board monitors.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Heh heh heh, good thing too, since ya just never know if AP is gonna change a couple of letters in your nic… Pissed off scientist could have accidently become pissed on scientist and AP could have just said….. Dude…..

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:36 PM

I post as “Mad scientist” because I didn’t think “pi**ed-off scientist” would have made a good first impression on the board monitors.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Go on! Be pissed off! LOL

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 9:37 PM

Heh heh heh, good thing too, since ya just never know if AP is gonna change a couple of letters in your nic… Pissed off scientist could have accidently become pissed on scientist and AP could have just said….. Dude…..

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:36 PM

That version may be apt considering the leadership and what they are doing to all of us.

My philosophy: Some days you’re the statue, other days you’re the pigeon. Too many days in a row as the statue means you need to make some changes.

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:40 PM

OT but Europe takes a right turn

CWforFreedom on June 7, 2009 at 9:44 PM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/european_elections

CWforFreedom on June 7, 2009 at 9:44 PM

Sorry, maybe I’m a bit dense. What is an “FB”?

mad scientist on June 7, 2009 at 9:16 PM

If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking. I suspect it may be a irc channel or live chat lounge but dont know for sure.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Facebook account?

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:50 PM

And what about the character of those heroes in battle, who aren’t without witnesses, but choose to risk their lives for others or even choose to knowingly sacrifice their own lives so that others may live? Like those we honored yesterday. That seems an even greater test of character.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:33 PM

The truest test of character is what someone would do if they thought that no one else would ever know” applies to good deeds as much as it does to bad deeds. They certainly did have a test of character, but they would have had a “The truest test of character” if the situation had been such that no one else even knew they were around, and no one else would have ever known, and yet acted as they did anyway, if you follow me.

MB4 on June 7, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Facebook account?

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:50 PM

facebook? who the heck goes on facebook?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

For shame-based cultures, this is not a concern, as shame is a purely public phenomenon – one cannot be shamed unless others know what he has done.

This is why Westerners are better behaved as individuals, more productive, and can be dealt with on a rational basis, while individuals in tribal cultures act irrationally and can turn on a dime, without any reason.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:53 PM

Thanks for this.

It reminds of an instance when I watched as a friend said grace before eating. I asked him whether he did this when he ate alone. He looked at me as if I had smacked him.

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Facebook account?

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Ewwww, thats just plain nasty…. Almost as low on the evolutionary scale as myspace…. ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

facebook? who the heck goes on facebook?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Er, no one….

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

:)

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:24 PM

The first thread I got heated in was when I was accused of being an idol worshiper because I’m Catholic. I’ve since been in a few more of those, being condemned to Hell with all the other papists and Mary worshipers.

But the next couple of threads involved me defending homosexuals from people calling them incredibly vile words and hoping they all burn in Hell, during which I was accused of being something or other. I think I was also involved in at least one thread defending atheists, and I was then accused of being something else.

Then came the Carrie Prejean threads and I was suddenly getting very mad at some of the same people I had been defending just weeks before because they were defending or rationalizing away the the Left’s attacks against Prejean.

I’ve been avoiding the thread wars since.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Thanks for this.

It reminds of an instance when I watched as a friend said grace before eating. I asked him whether he did this when he ate alone. He looked at me as if I had smacked him.
baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

You are a classy lady, that’s just plain wrong…

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:58 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Oh yes … I remember that now. Thanks.

gh on June 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Ewwww, thats just plain nasty…. Almost as low on the evolutionary scale as myspace…. ;p

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Facebook is highly superior to Myspace.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

It’s why I avoid serious discussion here — people get too mad, and it ends up (sometimes) making me mad.

No use
Like a dog chasing its own tail. I’d rather just have fun and make jokes.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Dave Rice
Ellenwood GA

Anon is weak. No better than the celebrity loudmouths who have zero contact information yet feel compelled to opine loudly about everything under the sun. If you are afraid to support your comments and opinions…get out of the game.(What are you a conservative member of congress or something?) Jesus… grown men afraid of family members? ….Whatever…lol

dartagnansblade on June 7, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Er, no one….

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 9:56 PM

:-)

forget the darned t-shirts, lets all go on FB…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Like a dog chasing its own tail. I’d rather just have fun and make jokes.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

“A dog who chases his tail will be busy.”

–the great philosopher George Clinton

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Like a dog chasing its own tail. I’d rather just have fun and make jokes.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 9:59 PM

You’re good at that…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:03 PM

The first thread I got heated in was when I was accused of being an idol worshiper because I’m Catholic. I’ve since been in a few more of those, being condemned to Hell with all the other papists and Mary worshipers.

But the next couple of threads involved me defending homosexuals from people calling them incredibly vile words and hoping they all burn in Hell, during which I was accused of being something or other. I think I was also involved in at least one thread defending atheists, and I was then accused of being something else.

Then came the Carrie Prejean threads and I was suddenly getting very mad at some of the same people I had been defending just weeks before because they were defending or rationalizing away the the Left’s attacks against Prejean.

I’ve been avoiding the thread wars since.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

I’m not catholic, though my heritage is Irish. I am disturbed by those who think anything other than their own denomonation of christianity is some pagan devil worshiping bastardazation of religion.

Gay’s and athiests are still human beings whom Jesus Christ sacrificed his life to bring salvation to. He and he alone will decide if they enter into his kingdom, it wont be me or anyone else that makes that decision.

God bless you for having faith in him to make the right decision on such matters. I believe in warning sinners of the wrath to come, but Jesus is the decider.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 10:05 PM

I think trolls should have their real names disclosed after one warning, and the address to send a process server if they slander someone.

It would stop them from wasting everyone’s time with the all too common blather in the comment sections. I think it would also encourage the type of comments that readers value, since the trolls would be subject to public humiliation and law suits for bad behavior.

Right_of_Attila on June 7, 2009 at 10:06 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

You’re Catholic? Well, then, as a good upstanding Baptist, I can no longer converse with you….

…ah, who the heck cares! I don’t if you don’t!

My cousin is a lesbian, the “best” neighbors I have are a gay couple…who gives a rip!

Not me.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:10 PM

You don’t go to a city council meeting with a bag over your head, introduce yourself as “Uncle Stinky” of 2222 Yeah Right Ave. and then proceed to make all kinds of idiotic comments.

The anonymity of the Internet tends to water down the value of the content as people are much more likely to more carefully consider what they are saying if their real name is attached to it.

crosspatch on June 7, 2009 at 10:11 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:10 PM

There’s something else we have in common besides TN, our denomination.

kingsjester on June 7, 2009 at 10:13 PM

You don’t go to a city council meeting with a bag over your head, introduce yourself as “Uncle Stinky” of 2222 Yeah Right Ave. and then proceed to make all kinds of idiotic comments.

crosspatch on June 7, 2009 at 10:11 PM

I think I’ve found my new nom de guerre.

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 10:16 PM

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 10:16 PM

You can’t be an Uncle. You could be an Auntie, though.

kingsjester on June 7, 2009 at 10:17 PM

kingsjester on June 7, 2009 at 10:13 PM

Sweet!

“If you feed them, they will come!”

LOL

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 9:57 PM

I realize this is OT for the thread, but Lox, even in our disagreements, I’ve had nothing but the utmost respect for you and our discourse.

Until you made a point of mentioning my “God Bless” was less than sincere, as I was resigning myself from a thread before I got too angry, as I tend to do. Can’t be rational when anger takes over, so it’s best to simply say goodnight, even “God Bless” given the company, and call it an evening.

You belittled my “God Bless”, and claimed it insincere. Changed my entire outlook on you. No Catholic I know would say such a thing, especially not to another.

JetBoy on June 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM

You belittled my “God Bless”, and claimed it insincere. Changed my entire outlook on you. No Catholic I know would say such a thing, especially not to another.

JetBoy on June 7, 2009 at 10:18 PM

I remember that. It was not obvious to me at the time that he was incorrect in judging you “insincere” but I thought he should have given you the benefit of the doubt.

I seem to remember that he redeemed himself further down the same thread. At least in my eyes.

gh on June 7, 2009 at 10:22 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Fifth Graders in a classroom were asked to bring something repesenting their faith to class for show and tell. The teacher calls on three kids. Sam stands up first and says, “I’m Jewish and this is a Menorah”. Mary Kate stands up and says, “I’m Catholic and these are my Rosary Beads”. Johnny stands up and says, “I’m Southern Baptist and this is a casserole dish”.

kingsjester on June 7, 2009 at 10:25 PM

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 10:05 PM

That was very kind of you and now I shall have great difficulty teasing you for quite a while, bless you.

I was baptized as an adult into the Catholic Church. I am not without doubt about my Catholic faith, but I have no doubt about God.

I would not be alive today without God’s grace, on several occasions. And sometimes, I tell Him that I’m never going to forgive Him for that. I figure that’s okay as God most certainly has a wicked sense of humor.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 10:30 PM

I seem to remember that he redeemed himself further down the same thread. At least in my eyes.

gh on June 7, 2009 at 10:22 PM

He did have a convo with another commenter I won’t name (but sure you know who) whom I have much respect for…but Lox continued to belittle me, as I read through it the next day.

If Lox did “redeem” himself, it certainly wasn’t to me.

I may disagree with some…heck, depending on the topic, many. And not much gets me upset. Except for what Lox had to say about my end of evening sign-off.

But hey…so go the interwebz. Tomorrow is another day.

JetBoy on June 7, 2009 at 10:30 PM

I can’t for the life of me understand why people continue to “talk” to each other as if they are having a telephone conversation. Exchange numbers already.

As far as trolls go, I have never really understood the concept. I have been called a troll because I happened to disagree with the sentiments of the majority of the commenters. Is that what a troll is….a disagreer(sp)?

If so I say let the trolling begin. Nothing wrong with intelligent debate…

dartagnansblade on June 7, 2009 at 10:39 PM

dartagnansblade on June 7, 2009 at 10:39 PM

My personal definition of a troll is someone that just comes around to piss people off

Take ernesto
he’s not a troll — he disagrees a lot, but logically

getalife (RIP) just came to make people mad

they are sowers of discord.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 10:41 PM

I swear my real name is Potfry.

Potfry on June 7, 2009 at 10:42 PM

kingsjester on June 7, 2009 at 10:25 PM

Oh so true….

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 10:46 PM

Potfry on June 7, 2009 at 10:42 PM

i believe

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 10:48 PM

Like all terms, troll is now meaningless. It simply means,
YOU DISAGREE. The few times it’s used correctly….are lost in the wind of snark remarks.

AnninCA on June 7, 2009 at 10:49 PM

AnninCA on June 7, 2009 at 10:49 PM

its true meaning is a sower of discord

some have turned it into a disagreer — a falsification of its true meaning

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 10:51 PM

This had better not effect Allahpundit.

Aronne on June 7, 2009 at 10:52 PM

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