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Sunday, January 04, 2009

A bloggers brief history of anonymity

Rep. Stephen Hartgen is drafting a bill requiring bloggers and online commenters to post under their real names. While some say this is sensible, when authors reveal their true selves, they often surrender much power.

If Steve’s law actually passes, how do we purport to penalize, parables and plenteous poems posted by ‘Anonymous’?

And what sentence would we mete out, for someone like Samuel Clemens who blogs whimsical wisdoms under Mark Twain’s pseudonym?

Will readers be less intrigued when they discover George Eliot is masking femininity?

Please don’t tell me Stephen King was disingenuous when he penned his entertaining Richard Bachman paperbacks.

Should we have lashed JCampbell for his posting a treatise about the hero with a thousand faces?

And how should we expect Clint Eastwood to sign his mark as Pale Rider’s nameless preacher?

Is our government suited to sue in matters of The Bible’s true author, shaky proofs of Shakespeare and secret scribes of the Koran?

And what about unidentified whistleblowers, who sense the importance of reporting unfortunate industrial mishaps, in hopes of preventing needless reoccurrences.

As such clampdowns, made little sense for anonymous authors of antiquity, we should not impose speech-crippling regulations on our modern-day blogosphere.

-JBanholzer

related links:

http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2009/01/04/opinion/editors_column/152155.txt

(Letter 6)

http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/story/641866.html#none

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