We’ve received a few questions recently about who we are and why we are not adding by-lines to our writing, probably as our blog has received a little attention in traditional media outlets. For starters, what’s the point in running an underground newspaper if not for a little mischievous fun?
Our anonymity was mere happenstance. We hadn’t decided whether we wanted to be open about who we are. As a group we didn’t have unanimous agreement, so we opted to keep our names off of our website while we rolled it out. And then people started to say things–like that our children should be forced to wear red letters on their clothes at school–and we thought, “Eh…maybe it is just better this way.” Some of these people are whacko birds.
The truth is, women online get harassed. A lot. More and more attention has been given to that issue. That’s one thing that makes us (and some of our family members) reluctant for us to use our names, although hopefully no one would go personal. It’s just, sadly…that type of thing is common. A couple of our local ne’er-do-wells have some stuff on their permanent records that make them seem questionable. And others have kooky fetish interests that make us question whether or not they’re the safest around. Perhaps it is an overabundance of caution, but…here we are, and that’s our story and we’re sticking to it for now. We are pretty sure in the end our identities will be a secret impossible to keep, so we will see what happens when the day comes that we’ve been unmasked. We’re guessing this post will be the I-Told-Ya-So of the future. We’ll keep a detailed catalog of screen captures for your entertainment, of course (and for law enforcement, should it become necessary).
Maybe most interestingly, there is a long American tradition of anonymous political opinion writing. Most editorial boards write weekly columns without a by-line other than Board of Editors. In our earlier days, it was the custom for opinion writing to be done anonymously. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison were all “anonymous cowards” (and wrote in response to other people using pen names and anonymity, as well) if examined under the same sorts of criticisms that we are. We’re fine with that kind of company.
Here we are in the grand tradition of (Poor) Richard Saunders trying in vain to drive home his point: It is ill-manners to silence a fool and cruelty to let him go on.