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June 22, 2005

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The University of Texas is a fine institution, and the home of a truly impressive faculty, including one frequent visitor who seldom agrees with me, but is always interesting. Alas, like all institutions, it has its morons, as well. The MinuteMan (wh... [Read More]

» The MinuteMan Uncovers Another Fool... from Decision '08
The University of Texas is a fine institution, and the home of a truly impressive faculty, including one frequent visitor who seldom agrees with me, but is always interesting. Alas, like all institutions, it has its morons, as well. The MinuteMan (wh... [Read More]

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» I Hate To Break It To Some Readers, But You Don't Know Me from Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil
It is, I suppose, the preserve of professors of philosophy to tie one up in logical knots, but Professor Brian Leiter has outdone himself. In his latest "look how dumb someone is" rant, he bloviates: In the conservative pity fest... [Read More]

» I Hate To Break It To Some Readers, But You Don't Know Me from Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil
It is, I suppose, the preserve of professors of philosophy to tie one up in logical knots, but Professor Brian Leiter has outdone himself. In his latest "look how dumb someone is" rant, he bloviates: In the conservative pity fest... [Read More]

» I Hate To Break It To Some Readers, But You Don't Know Me from Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil
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Comments

Geek, Esq.

Shameful. Leiter is a very odd duck--obsessed with numerically ranking law school faculties according to "scholarliness.' I remember him showing up to debate pre-law people on the old Princeton review boards.

Brad DeLong

Leiter... the horror... the horror!

Les Nessman

Leiter:
" I intend to find out and to post that information here in due course. I welcome your help...and I promise to keep my sources secret!"

Is that last part an attempt at ironic humor or is he an outrageous hypocrite? He wants to expose an anonymous person's identity but he'll keep his sources secret? Why should his sources be allowed to be secret if Juan Non-volokh can't?

Cecil Turner

Why should his sources be allowed to be secret if Juan Non-volokh can't?

Good point. I am less than entranced by the need for posting pseudonymously, and agree with Leiter that it promotes bad behavior. However, Juan Non-Volokh is hardly a good example. Also, there is a fine American tradition of anonymous or pseudonymous political speech, some of it essential to the Republic (e.g., Common Sense, or the The Federalist). ISTM that the author's preference should be the default position, and that outing would be justifiable only if he were particularly abusive or disingenuous. And in this case, neither applies.

creepy dude

Oh all right, my real name is Heywood Jablome.

TM

Funny, that doesn't sound Irish.

Beto Ochoa

"I too read his original post for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only five minutes.."
"(never use a sentence when three paragraphs will suffice, and don't spare the sneers)"
I found his screed style boring as well. So much ado about nothing. It has been my observation that verbosity is the refuge of the weak minded. Perhaps that dovetails into the fact that he seems "obsessed with numerically ranking law school faculties according to "scholarliness.'
Since he proposes "that the vast majority of the preeminent academic figures were, in general, cowards when it came to their own regimes" I am curious as to which regime he associates himself with most closely?
Could it be the previous regime that kicked in more doors and abused more of our citizens than Truman? The same regime that pursued domestic phantoms down a rabbit hole while the perpetrators of 9/11 operated in full view? I believe that it is. Some anonymous person dared to pick his ramblings into pieces and he is going to get them back. What a fascist little punk.

TM

As to his theme that the vast majority were cowards, eventually he shifts the goalposts and insists that his use of the word "preeminent" is critical - if I am following him, I infer that established, well known profs with tenure tend to be cowards, while the lesser known, and the tenure tracj candidates tend to speak truth to power and let the chips fall where they may. Who would have guessed?

Anyway, were professors widely critical of FDR (or internment)? Does that make them cowards?

Were profs critical of JFK? Were they cowards?

Or are people only cowards if they disagree with Leiter's poltics?

And how did he skip past Johnson/Nixon in his search for historic parallels?

creepy dude

-Funny, that doesn't sound Irish-

Ok you busted me. It's Heywood O'Jablome.

TexasToast

Like you said, Tom, if someone wants to find you, he can find you. Still, I post using a pseudonym as some folks take this stuff pretty darn seriously. I’ll cite the wisdom of the Simpsons. When Homer found out he had to wait 24 hours to buy a gun, his response was,

“ But I’m angry now!”

ed

Hmmmm.

Nothing like a guaranteed job to give a professor courage.

Is this professor's writing style indicative of college professors? Are they all this terribly overblown?

Appalled Moderate

I'm not concerned if people figure out who I am (and one annoying Drezner poster did figure it out), but I do not care to have my wit and wisdom easily linked to my name or job via google.

I'm always mystified why folks think a "name" validates an argument. Either the argument stands by itself, or it fails on its own merits. I do think folks should sign personal attacks of the un-famous. But other than that -- I'll just read what people say, and nod my head up and down, or shake my head in disbelief.

TM

“ But I’m angry now!”

Good point!

As to the point of using one's real name. I think there are times when it would be better. For example, suppose a blogger writes something racist, sexist, homophobic, and annoying to small animals.

If we know their name, that ghastly post can tarnish their "brand" forever.

But if they post anonymously, they can just say, oops, disappear, and resume their anonymous career under a new name next week.

Which may not represent perfection in a perfect world, but so what?

And whatever Juan Non Volokh did or did not do, it falls a million miles short of that.

Well, in another day (if I can sustain my interest) we will get to my real agenda, which is to note the near total silence on the left, which contrasts impressively with the screaming when Atrios was threatened.

Of course, the Volokhs are not howling as Atrios did...

TexasToast

Of course, in Atrios' case, moving to a new shop anonymously would cost quite a bit of traffic. I don't think he can just walk away from his "brand" and have the same influence. So the "ghastly post" defense doesn't really work.

Leiter strikes me ( from reading his stuff) as one of those guys who counts the letters after the speaker's name to determine if the speaker is worth is attention. If this is how he makes judgements ......

Spartacus

I am Juan Non-Volokh!

ed

Hmmmm.

No! I am Juan Non-Volokh!

Hey. This could turn into a blog version of that old 50's game show.

max

Can we take turns? I'll volunteer to be Juan non-Volokh on alternate Tuesdays between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, with visitors allowed between 2 and 3 pm.

Also, can we have a poll we have a poll on whether Leinter is more intellectually dishonest or more intellectually bankrupt?

TM

If this is how he makes judgements ......

I am safe. Also, I am Juan Non Volokh.

more intellectually dishonest or more intellectually bankrupt?

I'll say dishonest - I suspect there are plenty of ideas rattling around that big old head of his.

And its nice to see that Krugman has company in the "everyone who disagrees with me is a liar, fool, or knave" school or argumentation.

Paul Zrimsek

No, I'm Juan Non-Volokh and so's my wife!

In order to be a pain in the ass and make up a bit for the lack of the usual controversy (seeing as how the only lefty ever to post here non-pseudonymously has already spoken, and doesn't seem to like Leiter either) I'll say this: a post that gets on someone's case for rattling on and on, yet contains two updates after the LAST GASP, is sort of leading with its jaw.

J Mann

Leiter's original beef strikes me as bizarre. Do I read him correctly to be upset that JNV wrote that a Leiter post "might not" directly equate McCarthism and Nazi Germany when Leighter believes that it "does not" do so?

I'm not a grammarian, but I assumed Non-Volokh meant "may not" but used "might not". In other words, he was conceding . . .

. . . no, this whole issue is too absurd. I can't think about it any more, or by brain will implode

SteveMG

A charming fellow this Professor Leiter.

Simply oozes it.

I'll go shower now to get the ooze off me.

SMG

TM

sort of leading with its jaw...

Can't I be allowed a bit of irony? I mean, I deliberately went with a seven paragraph UPDATE in order to raise his six.

Forbes

Can I agree with the anonymous TexasToast, again?

And as I don't read the VC as much as I used to (spending more time reading the comments here), discovering the identity of a group contributor, such as Non Juan, would seem to take more time than it was worth. A good fisking of Non Juan, were that possible, would get that "I'm angry now" out of his system. Though "a good fisking" is probably beyond the skill set of the gaseous Mr. Leiter, and I seriously doubt Non Juan has ever been suficiently inadaquate in thought or reasoning to deserve a good fisking.

As regards anonymous posting, I notice Creepy Dude appears, this time, to have what looks like a legitimate email address linked to his call sign. Is that possible?

Joe Mealyus

"If we know their name, that ghastly post can tarnish their "brand" forever.

But if they post anonymously, they can just say, oops, disappear, and resume their anonymous career under a new name next week."

True, but if they have a "brand" that can really be tarnished, they have invested time and effort into building up that brand, and I would not assume that the loss of that investment would be negligible. I think you can argue that it's not such an unjust outcome.

It's a bit like the case of any scapegrace moving to a new community where no one knows his or her past, and so he or she can't be ostracized (I assume this happens in real life, as well as the movies).

Of course you could argue that my point here is a self-serving one. I have employment-related reasons to post anonymously, which others maybe would find sufficient, maybe not. For me, no matter what Brian Leiter thinks about who "owns their own words" and who doesn't, it's still pretty agonizing when the realization strikes that the comment that seemed pretty reasonable when clicking the "Post" button turns out, on later reflection, to be utter crap. (Which won't happen with this comment, or will it?). But perhaps it's not quite agonizing enough....

And I have to admit I think the best commenters and bloggers tend to be the non-anonymous ones - this is true on this particular blog (which is actually only one of two where I read the comments fairly often, so maybe things are different elsewhere).

John Anderson

OK, very late, but I just thought of asking the prof what he thinks of Ben Franklin, who often wrote anonymously in his early years, for fear his brother/employer would punish him.

Stephen M (Ethesis)

You ought to read some of Leiter's non-blog writing to get a better feel for him than when he is venting.

Ah well.

Stephen M (Ethesis)

Nothing like a guaranteed job to give a professor courage.

Actually, that is the intent of tenure ;)

Though, now that tenure has come full circle, this appears to be moot.

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