Continuing

There’s more, as Zuzu officially goes on hiatus, and Bartow responds.

Bartow now publicly claims that she never intended to sue, or to threaten the same. Personally, I don’t buy it. As Piny and Belledame have commented, these “reminders” that she knows people’s real names happen: despite requests to leave it alone, and in the middle of fights. It’s creepy. It’s a power play. And it has no place in free discourse. We can be rightly relieved that it appears that Zuzu is not under legal threat. But she’s still on leave. As I discussed yesterday, few of us blog truely anonymously. We blog under psuedonymity, or conceit. Such protections are fragile, but the idea of never blogging personal information isn’t possible for most of us. Our jobs, our academic work, our social location is critical to what we write and how we think.

We are not anonymous dots of intellectual activity, but real human beings. This is exactly what keeps us from simply being astroturfed, made up creatues of the intarwebs. We blog about real stuff because that connection between our lives keeps them authentic. So when Bartow makes her “reccomendations” to us, I reject the idea. The level of abstraction required to make one’s self truely anonymous is intolerable to the idea of meaningful writing. If our voices are to be true, we will depend on others to be of goodwill and not use that authenticity to harm or silence us.

We have always relied on the kindness of strangers. I don’t mind if you know who I am. I absolutely welcome in person discussion of what I write about, even if I have to wink when I tell you that I’m “just a fellow reader.” I do mind when that knowledge gets used in this kind of manner. I don’t know what Ann intended. I don’t much care. There is a pattern of behavior where the people she “reminds” about the transparency of their idenity find her communication to be threatening, invasive, and unwelcome. The decision of how to respond does not lie in determining the “true” intent behind her actions, if a legal suit was ever in the works, or exactly what went down. It is in recognizing and affirming that several times people have asked her to stop. And that she hasn’t. And that she promises to continue.

I’ll close with a quote from Sally that sums up this whole mess.

But even posting under her real name, AB is pretty much immune from consequences. She can behave like a batshit loon and not worry about losing her job. The bothersome effect of pseudynimity is that it gives the rest of us the privilege that AB takes for granted. And that’s the real problem: not that it gives others impunity, but that it creates a situation where impunity ceases to be her special privilege.

-sly

Advertisements