Thursday, February 22, 2007

My dear friend, "Anonymous"

Back on Thursday, February 15, 2007, I quoted Antonio Gramsci's description of the impact of World War I on Russian peasants and subsequent Russian political life.

Gramsci happened to have been a disciple of Karl Marx.

As I often manage to do, I ruffled the feathers of my good, good friend, "Anonymous."

Here's what "Anonymous" posted in my comment box in response to my decision to quote a Marxist philosopher:

"At 8:48 PM, Anonymous said...
Larry, it would be nice if you would quote some of our founding fathers rather than the founder of the Communist Party of Italy."

You gotta love "Anonymous."

At least he or she took the time to respond, got involved, mixed it up, expressed a thought, shared a point of view, cared enough to give me a piece of his/her mind!

I love that! It's a big part of why I blog--that and my obvious need for therapy--stay close to the phone Dr. Parsons!

Every time I get a message from Old "Anonymous" though, I find myself wishing that he would come out into the light just a step or two farther.

You know.

Provide us with her name!

Identity is important for authentic conversation, at least it seems so to me.

I'm about ready to start a national campaign. You know, something along the lines of:

"Anonymouses of the world unite! Declare your names so all will know!"

Wonder if it would do any good?

Whatever, I just want to go on record again to say that I hope "Anonymous" will keep posting, even if I never get a name to go with the comments.

Which brings me back to the post "Anonymous" left me.

I believe "Anonymous" deserves to be taken seriously.

So, here's a quote from one of our most famous founding fathers about a subject related to my original, and for "Anonymous" objectionable, post:

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just"--Thomas Jefferson.


KentF said...

Anonymous posters are like a squeeking step. You'd love to uncover the carpet and see what/where the issue really is - but we usually just put up with the annoying squeek. Thanks Larry!


jch said...

You don't have to "put up with the [squeaking] step." It is as simple as forbidding the option of posting anonymously on your blogger settings.

Conversing with an "anonymous" person does nothing to advance a conversation whatsoever. There is nothing authentic about it.

However, one could argue that conversations in cyberspace in and of itself is inauthentic. See this NY Times article for more on that.

Larry James said...

jch, thanks for the post.

I know, but I choose to keep the option open because I feel getting honest feedback is worth the price.


Daniel Gray said...

I agree that online discussion is less authentic. My only problem with anonymous comments is trying to pinpoint multiple anonymous people from multiple posts to establish a coherence in thought and conversation.

I appreciate your willingness to respond to the anonymous community and am very glad that you choose to do so.

Justin said...

for real, if you're going to be anonymous, you can at least come up with a psuedonym for clarification purposes.

Just for the record, I did not make any comments about the communist stuff... but don't believe I didn't want to ;) I'm trying to cut back on flame wars because I end up being a jack ass.

Larry James said...

Justin, I think you're doing well! Your passion is refreshing!

BTW--the post in question was not about communism, it was about the challenge of organizing low-income people around a pursuit of their own best self-interest.


MommyHAM said...


Ahhhh, I have to say it does my heart good to see another Christian with a smart (to be followed by three more letters), sharp (sometimes biting) sense of humor...I sometimes feel badly, and think I'm a bit too quick to turn things into a sarcastic joke, but then I see I'm not alone, and I feel all better!

FWIW, some people don't hide behind anonymity to be rude. I have my own recent story 'bout that.

I know you know that...these people teach us, not only about the harms of ignorance, but help us to sharpen our presentations. That's good, right?

penny said...

Anonymity can be a beautiful thing... In some instances, it just provides a mask for ignorance. It isn't bad to be ignorant... Just embarrassing. I am ignorant of Gramsci's work, but think that the ideals of Karl Marx are quite utopian (even though I am aware that they could never work; I hold the conflict perspective, sociologically speaking). Still, people are entitled to their opinions. It is nice that in this Capitalist Democracy, we can air them here, anonymous or with credit- and the global network provides the world with access to our random thoughts...