Another good comment has arrived in the mailbox on cultural centers and peripheries:
The New York state of mind gets in the way of a great many other viewpoints and cultural takes. Popular culture (pop music, television, genre fiction, graphics and arts that are out of favor among professional, mostly NY, critics) has long been ignored by the mavens of “high culture.” But thousands of practitioners of those popular or folk arts have worked and lived and died outside of Manhattan’s sphere. Not only that, but they have created wondrous and satisfying works. There are dozens of cultures in the country, the world, and trying to put them into an arbitrary hierarchy does all artists and thinkers a real disservice….The Web and the Blog encourage the shattering of hegemonies, for better and for worse.
And this one on anonymous blogging:
Of course it’s proper to blog anonymously. Computer network users have been posting and emailing under handles and nicknames since there’ve been computer networks. As in the then-current world of CB radio, people were doing something fun, with kindred spirits, which didn’t require them to present affidavits and IDs.
Obviously these gloomy Gusses never would’ve had much fun on the BBS’s of the 80’s and 90’s. *Annoyed look*
Now, I almost always post under my own name. For me, it’s simpler. But I have always enjoyed the creativity manifested in handles. People who don’t…they worry me. People are often more themselves when they’re choosing their own names. People who see that only as an opportunity for dishonesty and juvenile behavior are obviously projecting.
Apropos of this, Terry pointed out that in my post on anonymity the other day, I neglected to say anything about why I’m undercover. My reasons are simple. Some of them are professional, but it’s not as though I’d be in danger of losing my job or anything so dire if I revealed. More important than the potential negatives are the actual positives. A new persona has all the inviting open expanse of a fresh sheet of paper. It’s interesting to engineer OGIC, endowing her with some of my interests and tics, but keeping others to myself. I also see this as a fun, educational experiment for myself as a writer. I don’t expect to stay under wraps forever, but for the time being I enjoy both the liberation and the challenge of being someone sort of else. It frees me up to write on certain topics about which I’d be more circumspect writing under my name. But it requires more discipline, too: for instance, to leave certain things out of my posts and generally cultivate a strategic vagueness about my life. Sometimes it’s hard to refrain from linking to or discussing the work I’m doing under my real name. I often feel as if I’m robbing myself of good blogging topics in these books and ideas that I’ve invested a lot of thought in, but that are already spoken for by her. Sometimes, of course, I steal her stuff anyway.
I don’t keep this a secret from anyone I know, I readily tell new people I meet (not all of them), and there are potential leaks: friends of friends of other bloggers or media people. Like I said above, it’s inevitable that I’ll out or be outed. But my guess is that it will happen gradually, and in any case it will be very much a non-event (unless I become NYTBR editor or May Queen in the meantime). For now, I’m just having fun being mistaken for Mr. Epstein. Studs Terkel, anyone?