Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I Am Not Anonymous, I Am Corpus Juris.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a controversy raging between the folks at FiredUp! Missouri and a little newspaper in south Missouri. The little newspaper had announced it wasn't going to publish anonymous comments from people posting at FiredUp! Missouri. I have linked their response.

The other day Dave Helling wrote a condescending comment about Blue Girl's use of a pseudonym. She responded. I suggest you all read her comments.

Today some guy calling himself "Scooter" Jackson writing for a tiny startup Republican blog made the following comment about me.

The liberal blogosphere cracks me up. Their absolute hatred for President Bush blinds them to their obvious duplicity- and for that matter stupidity. Anonymous blogger Corpus Juris weighs in on anonymous sources and former U.S. Attorney Brad Schlozman’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
FiredUp!Missouri and Blue Girl have both presented their takes on the merits of the critics' arguments. Here's mine.

Sometime around 1984 the world changed. Once upon a time, not too long ago when newspapers announced the "news," that is what people thought was the "news." If the newspaper didn't say it, it wasn't worth considering. Television news, including cable news, is simply print news with fewer voices. People like Dave Helling talk, and we listen. If News Corp doesn't say it, we shouldn't think it.

Recently, the right wing noise machine invented talk radio, another one way form of communication. People like Rush Limbaugh control the microphone. If you effectively disagree with Rush on his show, your thoughts are never aired. In Rush's world only "dittoheads" are honored. Since every approved "dittohead" thought was first announced by Rush, in reality, only Rush is honored. Talk radio is top down all the way.

The Internet changes all that. We get to talk back. We get to have our own ideas. We get to share those ideas, unfiltered, without an editor. If our ideas are good, they gain traction. If they are bad, they fall of their own weight. Honestly, a lot of what I read on the Internet is junk. I don't even agree with everything published by this blog. I deeply respect the courage it takes for average people to write and write often. I admire the originality of the people who blog here and who blog across the net. Their voices must be honored.

For obvious reasons the Internet is an economic threat to the traditional media. The Dave Hellings of the world like telling us what to think. They can sell advertising space and make lots of money telling us what is important and what isn't.

The same with the organ grinders of the right wing noise machine. If we start to question, we realize they are just pushing us around. They are trying to make us do things for them that are not in our best interests.

"Scooter" might ask, "what does all this have to do with insisting people use their "real names" when they blog?"

The answer is as simple as the idea of democracy. The use of pseudonyms encourages average people to speak freely. It encourages average people to share their ideas. Unlike professional journalists, like Dave Helling, or political activists, like "Scooter" Jackson, average people have real jobs. They have people for whom they are responsible. Many of them fear that the people in power, people like Dave Helling and "Scooter" Jackson, or more to the point their bosses, and their bosses bosses, might not approve if they express slightly different ideas not invented by the people in power. Dittoheads are rewarded. People like me, who think differently, are called duplicitous and stupid.

In the world of Karl Rove, Tom Delay and Alberto Gonzales can we truly say that someone expressing slightly different ideas might not find himself out of a job, his family shunned, or the victim of a ruined career. I am responsible for the welfare of any number of people, including family members, business associates, employees and clients. It would be irresponsible for me not to consider their well being and the potential impact that my non-dittohead blogging could have on their lives.

Of course, Dave Helling and "Scooter" Jackson want to compel bloggers to identify themselves. If they are successful many good and powerful voices will never blog again. That is just what people like Dave and "Scooter" want. They want to tell us what to think. They don't want us to think differently. They want to go back to the bad old days. They want to be our bosses. They want to be our brains. They don't want to have to think about our different ideas.

"Scooter" has said that I am blogging anonymously. While I wonder why I should consider the comments of anyone calling himself "Scooter," I can assure him that I am not anonymous. I am blogging under the pen name "Corpus Juris."

Someone is anonymous when you cannot know anything about him. In the article I posted earlier the "department official" is a complete unknown. We don't know if the person is a man or a woman. We don't know what job he holds. We don't know how to judge him by his previous writings or actions. He or she is truly anonymous.

If you want to know what I think on any subject about which I have written, all you have to do is google "Corpus Juris" and "Watching Those We Chose." You can then read everything I have ever written on this blog. You can read everything that has ever been written about me --"Corpus Juris". On the issues relevant to this blog, you will know more about me than most of my family. You can weigh the quality of my work and treat it accordingly. You can ask me questions, and I will answer. You can argue with me any time you want. All I ask is that you conduct yourself in a civil manner.

I refuse to go back to the world of 1984.

UPDATE: Blue Girl has commented on the subject again. She gives us a real history lesson.