Wednesday, October 19, 2005

# 68 THE NATURE OF ANONYMITY

You already know that I have crazy notions but that is not to say that sometimes I can’t have a clever notion. At the same time, because of this variance, it is probably best that I remain anonymous. But who would write anything and sign it “Anonymous”? How silly. Everyone knows that “Anonymous” writing has no weight or substance – it isn’t even worth reading.

This supposition, I expect, is why media sources reject anything written anonymously. Anonymous is so not good. But there’s an irony here. Sometimes it must be good. Did you ever try and get past the anonymity of the nameless people within the telephone company, the insurance company, even the newspaper or television studio? All you get, if you ask for a specific contact, is “my name is Dick or Jane, but I cannot give you my last name.” Meanwhile this same individual works with no less than 63 people (9 of which are dicks and 17 are Janes). Seems like someone should be letting these people know, that in our present world, “Anonymous” is not acceptable.

But, at the same time, these same secret nameless agents require that any participants in discussion with them give them a surname, a Christian name, middle initial, mailing address, physical address, e-mail address, telephone number, age, occupation, and oft times annual income and Visa number though none of this might be relevant to the information required. Last week this happened to my neighbour and I was so proud of him when he told his Insurance Company that his income is in no way relevant to his insurance fees – so don’t ask.

On the other hand, maybe I could understand it if I think about why one would choose to be non-anonymous. It seems to me, if it is not out of self-ego, what is it? If I were an expert, the number one reason to sign my name would be to let others know that I am an authority in my field. To let others know I have initials behind my name. To build notoriety or a reputation. But most of all to give common man or woman cause to think that their opinions alongside mine, with my academic privilege (A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, a class, or a caste) have no value or weight.

You know, I often question how much self-ego evangelical ministers have who need to slap posters all over town with their name in the biggest and boldest font and large pictures of their pretty faces and pretty families to promote their next revival. Seems to me that when the mandate is saving souls, this is a demonstration of personal ego being allowed to take precedence over the message. But I digress so let us return to our original discussion.

When it comes to Anonymous writings, I think you will admit, as readily as I must, that you have read a lot of witticisms that contain in four words or less, far more wisdom than experts have ever contemplated. Or perhaps just because I am a woman, I see value in anonymity, as expressed by Virginia Woolf:

Publicity

Publicity in women is detestable. Anonymity runs in their blood. The desire to be veiled still possesses them. They are not even now as concerned about the health of their fame as men are, and, speaking generally, will pass a tombstone or a signpost without feeling an irresistible desire to cut their names on it.

Author - Virginia Woolf

So now, in conclusion, I am thinking once again about the outcry against the “Ten Commandments” being housed in the Halls of Justice. They probably could have stayed there without any offense if the authority of this writ was signified as “Anonymous”. And that is yet another irony, because if I am to assume that 50% of the protesters were atheists or even another religion, that means since there is no God, and for other persuasions, no Christian God, that the whole business was written by someone as “Anonymous” as anyone could ever be. And we all know, that anything written by “Anonymous” isn’t worth the tablet, clay, or paper it is written on and subsequently the content of that writ can be, and should be, totally disregarded.

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