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June 06, 2009

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» A Far Right Tirade At NRO Results In Exposing An Anonymous Centrist Blogger from The Strata-Sphere
When your hyped up on zealotry thinking your cause is pure, it is tough taking criticism which brings you back down to Earth with us mere mortals and all our imperfections. But at NRO (a hotbed of true conservatives - though there are man... [Read More]

» THE OUTING OF HILZOY AND THE COMFORT OF ANONYMITY from Right Wing Nut House
Someday, someone is going to make a million by writing a book on what so far is largely unwritten; the rules and etiquette of blogging. When that happens, we wont have internet ignorant philistines like Ed Whelan running around destroying the an... [Read More]

Comments

"An 'unbelievable dick' is what I would call someone who takes pot shots using a pseudonym."

I'm sorry your mother named you "Big Yap." That must be tough.

Equally tough must be an inability to address any issue of substance. It's very sad.

Posting guidelines for the obvious newcomers.

It really is a pity Ed Whelan wasn't around for the revolution or the founding. George III could have really used his services.

BigYap, let's meet at the library. We can look up pseudonym together.

"guess Whelan can be added to the long list of rightwingers who engage in public displays of intellectual dishonesty and bully tactics, a pattern that is pretty common in Repubicans and rightwingers.

21st Century ones, that is. I remember when Republicans were principled people, not out after petty, personal revenge."

Yes, I meant the current ones. The nice people, the peole with ideas tht they could defend in a civil, honest way have been mostly driven out of the party.

you'll always be publius to me.

and Whelan will join the ranks of such fine minds as Patterico. brothers in ad-homs. assholes, to the last.

Publius,

I am glad to hear that you, like me, have grown to love Houston, and am sad we never did manage to have that drink, but regardless, thanks for keeping on.

Sympathies, dude.

People should consider complaining to NR. I suspect they really are vulnerable to pressure on this, and might fire Whelan.

In addition to the e-mail address given for Whelan above, the address for Bench Memos, the place where he originally outed publius, is benchmemos@nationalreview.com.

BigYap: Consider the fact that you're up at 1 in the morning posting on the Internet, trying to irritate liberals. I recommend re-evaluating what you do with your free time.

As to Whelan: Arguments can and should be tackled without concern for the author. If Publius is such a bad writer, why not prove so in argument? Shouldn't he have been able to make his case? Not to mention the lack of civility.

I'm very glad to hear publius will keep writing. Even when I disagree, he raises the dialogue.

Here's a question: Is there a conservative mirror of ObWi?

Whelan did not "get mad because you criticized him", you liar. He got mad because you attacked him personally, in a quite nasty and uncalled for manner.

Serves you damn well right.

I think it's instructive to post Hilzoy's reaction to another outing (by a Dem) of a pseudonymous blogger:

My reasons for blogging under a pseudonym are pretty trivial: while I have never minded the idea that someone reading my posts could figure out who wrote them, I would rather that people, and in particular my students, not be able to google my name and find my collected political opinions. (I learned, to my surprise, that some students do google their professors around the time I started writing for Obsidian Wings.) I have been outed by several people, generally inadvertently; and while I have never minded all that much, I would rather have been able to make that choice for myself.

He got mad because you attacked him personally, in a quite nasty and uncalled for manner.

Um. No, my pseudonymous friend.

Oh dear, someone fetch "ssss" a fainting couch and a tonic. Calling a man a "demagogue" and a "know-nothing"... why I cannot abide such salty discourse on the internet.

Sorry about what happened. I sincerely hope it doesn't cause any problems for you, professionally and (especially) with your family.

And I'm with many others in the comments - you'll always be publius for me.

Anubis, Publius didn't even do that - the worst he did was to accuse Ed Whelan of enjoying disingenuously acting like a know-nothing demagogue, not of actually being one, and he quoted Anonymous Liberal's somewhat stronger language approvingly.
That's it.
If this is a nasty and uncalled-for manner to ssss, then what a paradise of blandness their world must be.

ssss, I hope someday someone has the chutzpah to attack me in a manner as nasty and as uncalled for as, "[H]e's a smart guy with outstanding legal credentials. He just enjoys playing the role of know-nothing demagogue."

The "hitman" analogy -- you understand what that means, right? -- was quoted and agreed.

And hey, Jesus said, "If someone strikes you on one cheek, give him a good kick in the balls next time he's not looking." Right?

C'mon sock puppets these are too easy! It's like computer chess on the first difficulty level.

LAME. Petty, lame, pathetic.

I guess Mr Whelan doesn't mind letting everyone know that he cannot be trusted to respect the privacy of others. Since most people worth knowing regard trustworthiness on that score as a prerequisite for friendship or employment, I hope he doesn't mind getting stuck with the kind of vindictive losers who regard such social-contract violations as acceptable responses to simple criticism.

Anyway, welcome to the real-name crowd. Sorry you didn't get to join us by choice.

Is BigYap having a Stupid-Bag-Stuffing contest with retire05?

I believe the scale has now been set to twenty pounds, advantage BigYap.

Sorry to hear this, publius.

As for Retire05, let me offer one of my rare Fuck yous.

On BigYap, Moto, and especially retire05: unless we want a continued infestation, let's try not to feed the trolls, shall we?

publius: Ed Whalen's behaviour has a more corrosive effect on the Internet than any pseudonym could possibly do, and I say that (full disclosure here) as someone with a fair amount of research on Internet ethics and electronic communities under my belt. The one rule underlying all of the other rules of net discussion states that you must not attempt to harm a person in their life outside the discussion. Attacking their arguments: fine. Attacking their net persona (psedonymous or not): childish and unproductive, but not seriously unethical. Trying to mess up their life (or doing something like outine, which betrays a recklessness about whether or not you mess up their personal or professional life): categorically unacceptable.

In other words, it appears that Ed Whelan's actions have objectively harmed, if in a very petty and small way, the most effective medium for public discussion ever devised. I urge other people to avoid the temptation to imitate his actions.

That was fairly obnoxious to do. While I chose to post under my own name, it is a choice, and I'd not out somebody who made it unless they were exploiting it to commit some manner of fraud.

I believe there are only 2 possible responses here:

A) condolences;

b) What a dick that Ed Whelan is.

I'm just appalled. Whelan's post is amazingly snotty. It's up to you, but I'd keep the pseudonym - plenty of bloggers whose real names are out there do. As for teaching, plenty of good teachers don't completely hide their opinions - but they create environments where students can express, explore and think through their own and those of others. In any case, my sympathies, I hope any fallout from this is minimal, and best of luck with everything.

The problem with tenure and blogging, as I told publius a few years back, is not necessarily that the political content of your blog might be contentious. The most common problem I hear of is that your blogging has zero value to a tenure committee, and some might consider it a distraction from 'real writing'. You leave yourself open to the criticism that you would have been able to publish more scholarly work if you hadn't been up all night blogging every day.

I don't know how common this is, or whether it's less of a problem than it used to be, or if it varies by field, but young faculty are frequently warned against blogging.

Publius will always be "publius" to me.

Ed Whelan will always be a petty little man. Whether he acquired his vindictiveness while working for the Bushies, or whether they hired him because of it, who knows?

The important point is that Whelan demonstrates why Republicans have been getting their asses kicked recently. Petty, pointless boorishness seems to be losing market share.

--TP

I'm glad you posted the email exchange, publius. It's damning, it shows his pettiness, and the great thing about the internet is, it's there forever now.

Publius, all I can say is: You really stung Ed Whelan. Direct hit. His reaction?Flailing and pathetic. If you hadn't really struck a nerve and gotten to the core of the issue, he'd have left you alone.

Despite his lack of integrity, and from a certain angle, you can take it as a compliment.

The best part is, you don't have to do anything more to expose him for what he is. By this petty, indecent act, he's accomplished that all by himself. His reputation will be forever marred for those that know what he has done.

(PS Manny! I remember when you posted under your real name at LF. But I'd never out ya!)

Ed Whelan is a snitch.

I just find it fascinating that not a single Whelan defender posts under his or her actual name...or even a pseudonym that sounds like an actual name (e.g. I hear "Mary Rosh" is now available for use).

The ghost of Bill Rhenquist posted upchain: "Conservatives (strict constructionists) consider policy matters subordinate to textual support, framer's writings and precedent."

A claim with absolutely no validity. The one example (there are many more) of Bush v. Gore should be enough to refute it.

publius, I appreciate your posts and I look to Obsidian Wings for honest and insightful commentary-something I've yet to see at NRO.

If Mr. Wheelan were not embarrassed by his errors, he'd never have behaved in this way.

As John Cole points out, the only un-outed bloggers remaining at ObWi are the conservatives. No coincidence.

It's not an intrinsic property of conservatism. But for the petulant, dwindling, ignorant, all-white gang that comprises today's movement conservatives, this kind of substanceless malice is par for the course.

Glad to hear that you'll be carrying on, publius. Sorry you wound up going through this.

It's not like Hilzoy or Publus ever did more than put a teeny little Lone Ranger mask over their identities so this doesn't make Whelan a great detective like Marquand's Mr. Moto. It's nice to know Whelan can pick the really low hanging fruit. Now maybe he can work his way up to investigating who stole the better upbringing I'm sure his mama gave him.

remember: this is a bush administration member we are talking about.

the same guys who outed a cia agent because her husband showed they were lying.

the same guys who forced a man to apologize to dick cheney, because his face got in the way of cheney's drunken shotgun.

the same guys who committed serial crimes against international law, and then pissed on the constitution in order to protect themselves from american law.

sure, whelan's cowardice and pettiness in this episode would be enough to undermine any decent man's reputation.

but whelan never was a decent man. he was a member of the most dishonest, unscrupulous gang of thugs ever to take over washington for eight years.

"he outed a pseudonymous blogger" is pretty bad, true. but nowhere near as damning as "he was a loyal foot soldier in the bush family crime syndicate".

Anybody know Ed Whelan's home address?

If you demand reparations, I bet there's an Applebee's or Cracker Barrel nearby where we could meet at. I could order a raspberry lemonade and you could whine about how you haven't paid off your law schools loans.

This is the oddest attempt at a pick-up line I've ever encountered. I guess toe-tapping in bathroom stalls is becoming passe.

Sez BigYap: "An 'unbelievable dick' is what I would call someone who takes pot shots using a pseudonym."

Sez I: There is no mirror in the BigYap house.

As a Conservative I stongly disagree with Ed Whalen "outing" you. It was petty and unprofessional. Best wishes on your continued success in your personal and professional life.

Publius is actually a man named Blevins. He teaches at an obscure law school in Texas.


Sez Sophomore: "There is no mirror in the BigYap house."

Sez I: Someone get Sophomore a Dos Equis, he's probably gay....


Ed Whelan: biggest thumbsucking WATB eva.

Publius,

Ever since I first found Legal Fiction way back when, I determined that you were my favorite blogger on the web—perhaps the greatest example of what blogging could be. I haven't always agreed with your conclusions, and at times I've thought you've made missteps, but who hasn't? We're human after all.

I'm glad to know that you will be continuing in some form. It might also be interesting to see you discuss in more detail at some point the specific merits of anonymous blogging, separate from the particular problems your "outing" creates. There are some who view you (or, say, Mudflats, in Alaska) as cowards who hide behind their anonymity and that by making them know to the world, they will be bound by normal social behavior.

Personally, I find this kind of blanket sentiment ridiculous. The point of being anonymous is to enable you to say something without fear of reprisal. Certainly, irresponsible people might use that slander others. But I would hate to think anyone would be afraid to give an honest and thorough opinion because they fear those opinions will end up affecting their family or others—not because its slander but because it is being honest. (Ed Whelen's blogging is inseparable from his public life, so to pretend like he's somehow being brave is ludicrous.)

I too teach, but I'm not anonymous because I fear reprisals. (My colleagues have said far more inflammatory and political things with their names attached.) But I rarely write letters to the editor because I don't want my students to become distracted by my political leanings, especially since I work so hard to not let those opinions affect my analysis of their (sometimes) political work.

And I agree with the comment that this is a kind of digital terrorism: it is an act that is designed to silence debate and debaters rather than answer them. If by doing this Ed can keep his critics from voicing critiques, he's accomplished his goal. I suspect that your note, Publius, only served to make him more inclined to out you.

I think you should stay Publius, Publius. In fact, how about everyone on the site start publishing as Publius for a while.

And you would think that someone who spends their days trying to destroy other people’s reputations in dishonest and inflammatory ways wouldn’t be so childish and thin-skinned.

Actually, you would. The two are generally a full package. Folks like Whelan are very good at dishing it out and very bad at taking it in return. It is all about conservative privilege.

I agree wholeheartedly, publius.

Chuck Hayes should have taken the shot more often.

And Ed Whelan is a petty chump.

"Anybody know Ed Whelan's home address?"

Hey, cut it out. No need for that.

can we create a new "peter rodino" award for outstanding and exemplary failure to read the original post?

nah...some of us old guys still feel residual affection for the real peter rodino, and don't want to sully that good name.

And this psuedo-outrage is even more of a new christy minstrel show, when you consider these folks have zero problem with "outing" Yes voters of Proposition 8.

But the let the jackjob act go on, it's always "Free douchebaggery for me, but not for thee".

What a dick.

Not that it's any of my business, but I wouldn't bother with the lawsuit. Whelan sounds like kind of tar baby, any time or attention you put his way are likely only going to turn into further aggravation.

He's already had more than his allotted 15 minutes, why give him more?

As an aside, I'll offer my opinion that the only difference between Buckley and the current NRO crowd is their vocabulary. I never made Buckley out to be any kind of gentleman.

Thanks -

well, now bigyap agrees that whelan's act was douchebaggery.

and i'm thinking that when it comes to identifying douchebaggery, bigyap knows it well. intimately, even.

Why are wingnuts so hung up on identity?

when you consider these folks have zero problem with "outing" Yes voters of Proposition 8.

Who are "these folks?" Which "Yes voters of Proposition 8" has publius outed, or where has he otherwise expressed an opinion on the matter?

Please show your work. For bonus points, please give us your real name. I use mine, so the least you can do is man up here, tough guy.

Yap is one of the Federated States of Micronesia, and I must really be embarrassing to have such a nimrod take up their name.

Publius, my apologies and best wishes going forward - while the vast majority of your technical/legal items are aimed at informative with only a mild/moderate dash of positioning, it is quite understandable why you wouldn't want them widely distributive, especially with the concerns for your family.

First off, anyone who does not know the difference between a pseudo-nym and a non-nym is a flaming retard not even fit for /b. Secondly, it will be highly entertaining to see the Volokh reaction to this, especially considering the blogospheric citation history of one certain Juan-non.

the only un-outed bloggers remaining at ObWi are the conservatives

Which "ones" are those? Sebastian has been out since the start. von is the only front-pager that is anonymous. hilzoy was only anonymous because people respected her wish to remain anonymous; it's not as if her identity was some huge secret.

None of the conservatives are regular posters anymore, so outing them is fairly unexciting. And, no offense, publius, but I thought outing you was fairly unexciting as well. It's not as if you were writing anything particularly noxious. Granted, I don't expect the tempest-in-a-teapot effect maps over to your emotional state all that well.

My identity is even less exciting. Knock yourselves out, is my advice. But also: get a life, people.

It would be one thing if publius' pseudonym somehow prevented Whelan from addressing publius' criticism of Whelan, which would have given publius an unfair advantage. But it didn't. Publius was fully available in the very forum in which he put forth his criticisms, and Whelan could have made publius look as foolish or could have embarrassed him as much as Whelan could have managed in front of the same audience before which publius criticized Whelan. What Whelan did was completely unnecessary and a violation of publius' personal choice. Talk about cowards.

Press on, publius.

"Has anyone ever told them that America stands for freedom of expression? Remember freedom?"

Yeah, but not the freedom to be wrong....

I find it ironic Slarti would have any heartburn whatsoever re Whelan's reprhensible actions.

I am completely unsurprised by that, JG.

slarti,
von has expressed many of the same reasons for anonymity as publius has, and I would treat von's outing with the same contempt and concern that I feel about Whelan's douchbaggery. I think your sanguinity is a bit off-base on this, not because it is likely to cause publius any problems, but because it is an attack on the notion embodied in this blog and I hope, with a little reflection, you might see that.

Ed Whelan is like so many of the righteously wrong wingers: his boneheaded actions cause real harm. I'm outraged by the havoc they all wreak across the globe but I must celebrate the discovery on at least one level: Houston is a richer city by your presence. Please keep writing: the truth is the bright light that makes them wither.

You guys should meet at Applebee's.

Big Yap, when you call yourself an "unbelievable dick" you're joking right? Dicks like you are commonplace, not unbelievable at all.

i'll add my two cents at this point. i cannot imagine what mr. whelan thinks he has achieved. the e-mail exchange exposes him for what he accuses others of being. i personally do not care if one posts using a real name or a pseudonym. when i post, which is not all that frequently anymore, i use my initials. i also use a disclaimer on occasion, that being that my brother is one of the front posters at balkinization. it's therefore not all that difficult to figure out who i am, if one wants to bother at all. the "outing" of a bloggers identity without his permission, however, one approaches it, is nothing but extremely childish. i would assume that mr. whelan is now proud to have outed himself as an infant.

You guys should meet at Applebee's.

Slarti and JadeGold, that is. ;)

von has expressed many of the same reasons for anonymity as publius has, and I would treat von's outing with the same contempt and concern that I feel about Whelan's douchbaggery. I think your sanguinity is a bit off-base on this, not because it is likely to cause publius any problems, but because it is an attack on the notion embodied in this blog and I hope, with a little reflection, you might see that.

It might surprise you to find that I agree with everything you said, except for the part where you seem to come to the conclusion that I think it's ok that Ed outed publius.

I think we should help Ed Whelan. I for one plan to send him frequent emails listing various "finds" about anonymous and real-name bloggers that he can use. You know, that so-and-so purchases Hustler magazine, doesn't wash his hands after visiting a public restroom, colors his or her hair, or is having marital trouble. That sort of thing.

Ed is sure to appreciate that information 'cause he can then use it to bolster his legal arguments. E.g.

The case in question is moot because of the Supreme Court ruling in Worcester v. Georgia and also because Anonymous Liberal doesn't change the oil on his car as frequently as the manual indicates.

Who can resist intellectual firepower like that?

While not ordinarily a defender of Whelan and his ilk, on this matter I have to side with Whelan.

1. Whereas Anonymous Liberal and Publius were public or quasi-public figures operating in the political blogosphere without explicitly shouldering the risk of personal and professional blowback, Ed Whelan's name was attached to all of his posts. It makes sense, given those facts, that Whelan called Publius a "coward".

2. Ed Whelan offered substantive criticism of the record of a judicial nominee; his opponents attacked his character with cheap, grade-school level psychoanalysis, uncharitable distortions, and petty ad hominems.

3. Ed Whelan has clerked for the Supreme Court and worked for the Executive branch, so he has a firsthand view of how policy is made and an accurate understanding of what public officials consider proper. The critics attacking him, for the most part, are opinionated private citizens who post anonymously on the Internet.

4. When responded to substantively, Ed Whelan engages or adapts to criticism. Note how quickly Whelan modified his claims about policy considerations at the Court after Eugene Volokh, a respected former clerk and noted law professor, critiqued them. Had the rest of Whelan's critics so limited themselves to the content and form of Whelan's posts, perhaps his rejoinders would have reciprocated.

As a personal matter, I fail to understand the criticism of Whelan's "outing" of Publius. What is the ethical argument in favor of Publius remaining anonymous while maintaining a public website that personally criticizes public figures in the course of discussing public affairs? Is there a moral argument in favor of trashing Ed Whelan's reputation while selfishly preserving your own? Worse, given the shoddy legal reasoning behind Publius' posts, I would think he ought to be ashamed of his attacks on Whelan. His posts most certainly do not inspire confidence that he is a high-quality law professor. One might have expected a law professor to expose holes in Whelan's reasoning, demonstrate how one ought to properly argue, and use the free Westlaw/Lexis at his disposal to back up his claims. Instead we were treated to childish sniping.

Lastly, the notion that one not ought to punish one's critics is ridiculous. If free speech means anything, it means protecting speech we hate and curing speech with more speech. Precisely for that reason, you should expect criticizing a person to result in hateful speech directed toward you. If Publius desired to remain anonymous, he should have kept his mouth shut.

Which "ones" are those? Sebastian has been out since the start. von is the only front-pager that is anonymous.

weren't you a front-pager yourself, at one point ?

In addition to a sarcasm tag, I think the next HTML expansion should have some way of expressing the "Zorak Blink". For that moment when you need to express incredulity and confusion in the same second. For those of you not up on your Space Ghost, it's the sound that you make when someone pulls a rhetorical 180 inside of two sentences.

Recommended for any grad student in epidemiology or public health who's looking for a thesis topic: Check into the history of people who write under pseudonyms, who are subsequently identified.

How's their health and safety, over the next few years?

Historical perspective: threats to those who can be identified, and burning of political statements, are the reason pseudonyms are used. See these examples among many from before the American Revolution:

http://www.njstatelib.org/NJ_Information/Digital_Collections/NJInTheAmericanRevolution1763-1783/3.12.pdf

weren't you a front-pager yourself, at one point ?

Past tense. Pretty long past tense.

If you think it would help even the score to out me, I offer myself up as a sacrifice. I don't think it'll help anything, personally, but I'm not sure what your point was in the first place.

The point of being anonymous is to enable you to say something without fear of reprisal.

Um, the difference between 'pseudo' and 'annon' is kind of an important distinction, no?

Who's the 'coward' Ed? Who is afraid to engage the actual argument at hand? Life's revenge on you is simply that you have to live with being who and what you are.

Sorry about this, publius. I hope it doesn't have negative ramifications for you (and trust that it won't). Barring those, Ed's outing of your name disturbs me most because of its pettiness and gratuitousness. It's distressing to belong to the same species as such a tiny, dinky person.

Ed has just put himself on several thousand people's long-term sh_t-list for no compelling reason. Nice work!

On the issues, I tend to agree more with Ed Whelan as I am a former, now jaded, Democrat. But outting an anonymous blogger is a form of terrorism (unless there were threats of violence).

Shame on you, Ed!

If you think it would help even the score to out me,

woah. put down the coffee.

but I'm not sure what your point was in the first place.

it just seems that if you're going to make a list of ObWi front pagers who remain pseudonymous, for purposes of proving how few there are, you should probably include all of them.

i realize you don't post here any more, but i, for one, still consider you a front-pager (on hiatus, or whatever); i would be completely unsurprised if you started posting again.

i'm probably not alone in thinking that.

I cede you the point, although I have no intention of front-paging any time soon.

...but then we'd have to consider Katherine.

Sympathies, publius.

You did exactly the right thing in publishing the exchange: allowing the man to show himself behaving like a childish, thin-skinned jerk.

He's automatically lost the discussion in which you all were engaged, by taking his attacks outside the bounds of the discussion.

Long live publius.

but then we'd have to consider Katherine.

i thought she was known... ?

Blevins? Sounds like a made-up name to me. Probably a pseudonym that publius has made up so that we can't follow his activities when he's not blogging here in the real world. What's he doing when he's not here? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. I wouldn't be surprised if he was doing something unseemly, like working for a living or even - shudder - getting mixed up with academia. There's a scruffy lot for you.

Hilzoy was "known" fairly widely before she was identified (Cluelessly or maliciously? I can't recall) in national media. I don't think any of Katherine's interlocutors ever identified her publicly.

I could be wrong about this, though. Relying on memory is dicey, at my age.

Way too many people in this discussion are using "anonymous" and "pseudonymous" as synonyms. I cannot stress too strongly that they are *NOT*.

A pseudonym is a *consistent* identifier within a particular community. It is also a *comprehensive* identifier -- within a community, general netiquette prescribes one pseud per customer.

Anonymity is completely different. All anonymice are alike: "anonymous" is one-size-fits-all, so no persona or set of consistent actions can built up around the name. I've known communities where *everyone* was anonymous, and while it can be existentially and psychologically interesting, these things inevitably end in tears.

Slart:
And, no offense, publius, but I thought outing you was fairly unexciting as well. It's not as if you were writing anything particularly noxious. ...

This is a really callous and also stupid thing to say. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the prospect of publius facing problematic work and family relationship is "fairly unexciting" to you -- as if his life is a movie that needs to justify your interest with car chases and explosions.

get a life, people

You appear not to be aware of all Internet traditions. "Get a life" is invariably said by people who don't realize that this *is* life. If you're an asshole on the Internet, you're an asshole -- full stop.

"And this psuedo-outrage is even more of a new christy minstrel show, when you consider these folks have zero problem with 'outing' Yes voters of Proposition 8."

Name three folks here who have written favoring that.

Y'all should leave Mr. Moto alone. I mean, it's obvious that he's one of those Chinese academics who's using his real name.

And leave BigYap alone, too. He's still working on his projection issues. Had he any cluefulness, he'd remember that talking tough is the right-wingers' preferred modus operandi. But any day now, he'll grow up. Any day now ...

If I understand you correctly

You didn't.

What I had intended to convey was that publius' outing really accomplished nothing good for his out-er. There was not widespread rejoicing in Mudville, that the dreaded publius had finally been slain.

In other words, the effect out here in the world is not very big. You're free to ignore Granted, I don't expect the tempest-in-a-teapot effect maps over to your emotional state all that well all you please.

invariably said by people who don't realize that this *is* life

Ah. Perhaps I ought to have said something about getting a meaningful life. If you think the Internet is life, maybe you need to get out more. Although it can be just as petty and backbiting when you're not spending hours a day staring into a monitor.

I'm having posting problems again, so this is partly a test.

Anyway, if this goes through--Slarti, you condemned Ed Whalen way upthread, so I can't tell if you are downplaying his sin now or if people are just misreading you (something that has happened a few times before).

Donald Johnson (with a typepad account now, hoping that'll solve the posting problem)

except for the part where you seem to come to the conclusion that I think it's ok that Ed outed publius.

slarti, I picked out 'get a life, people' as being directed at those of us who commented on this thread. Calling it 'tempest-in-a-teapot' also suggests you don't think this is a big deal. I didn't say you thought it was ok (nor did I mean to imply that), just that your suggestion that it isn't that important is wrong.

I am completely unsurprised by that, JG.

I'm sure you are.

Just as surprised as Ed Whelan.

I support the right of anyone on the internet to blog anonymously for whatever reason they choose. Whether that person be of the left or the right.

The fact that your reasoning made him look stupid is not a sufficient reason to make a personal attack on a blogger. If you can't support your opinions without resulting to the tactics of a teenager then your probably don't have much of an argument to begin with.

I would note that other bloggers have been outed and have continued to blog under their alias, with the support of the commenter's and others who simply refuse to mention the persons real name or refer to their identity. Hopefully that will also be possible for you.
That is showing respect for personal choices.

Personally, I think it's good to know that Ed Whelan thinks it's OK to attack the personal lives of people when having a political disagreement.

Anyone care to start an Ed Whelan Private Investigator fund?

I'm in for $100.

What I had intended to convey was that publius' outing really accomplished nothing good for his out-er. There was not widespread rejoicing in Mudville, that the dreaded publius had finally been slain.

In other words, the effect out here in the world is not very big. You're free to ignore Granted, I don't expect the tempest-in-a-teapot effect maps over to your emotional state all that well all you please.

On the other hand, even if we grant all this, here on ObiWi is probably a good place to vent, given that this is Publius' home blog. If ya can't post outrage here, where else....

Oh, crap.

Well, my thinking goes this way:

A given anon/psedonymous blogger's RL identity is only interesting to the extent that they piss off people who might be interested in what their names are.

Since Ed Whelan seems to be one of the very few people in the blogosphere who is interested in publius' real name, I count publius' outing as "uninteresting" more or less by definition.

I guess this is me being opaque, again. I swear that it isn't deliberate.

I am orders of magnitude less interesting than publius, so if anyone noticing that it's only the liberals getting outed over here at OW is thinking that maybe the score should be balanced, that's who my "get a life" comment is directed to. If there are such people.

[whimsy]
Or, it could be a conspiracy. von and I have infiltrated the OW combine, and the rest of the rightwing blogosphere is sufficiently stupid that it's taking this long for hilzoy's and publius' true identities to leak out.
[/whimsy]

Well we still have a perfect record of all Ed Whelan defenders on this thread writing under pseudonyms. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with writing under a pseudonym (though I don't happen to do so when commenting on this blog). But given their own stated views on these matters, pseudonymous Whelan defenders are self-identified cowards.

I particular liked this bit from the last pro-Whelan coward:

Ed Whelan has clerked for the Supreme Court and worked for the Executive branch, so he has a firsthand view of how policy is made and an accurate understanding of what public officials consider proper.

The idea that a someone who worked in the Bush Administration has "an accurate understanding of what public officials consider proper" is only meaningful if strong emphasis is placed on the gap between what those officials considered proper and what is, not to put too fine a point on it, proper. And as far as I know, Whelan has never recognized such a gap.

Or to put the point differently: service in the Bush White House is neither exactly a good job qualification for heading up a center devoted to law or ethics, nor a good foundation from which to lecture anyone on what is proper in government, let alone on the relative powers of the three branches of government.

Also this:

When responded to substantively, Ed Whelan engages or adapts to criticism. Note how quickly Whelan modified his claims about policy considerations at the Court after Eugene Volokh, a respected former clerk and noted law professor, critiqued them.

Whelan didn't modify his claims one bit. He intentionally minimized Volokh's quite broad critique of his earlier piece by claiming that it involved the phrasing of a single sentence.

And, for whatever it's worth, thanks to Whelan, we now know that publius, too, is "a respected former clerk and noted law professor." So much for the (pseudo-)argument from authority.

Anonymous Liberal who, with some cause, feels he started the whole thing, has a succinct take on the Ed Whelan/Publius flap:

The nut graf:

Whelan responded by publishing Publius' real identity on the National Review website and sending him an email saying "now who's the hitman, you coward and idiot."

Um, it's still you, Ed, but thanks for proving it.

RTWT.

I've only read posts on this site three or four times. However after going through the comments here on the heinous outing of publius by an unethical lawyer who should probably be investigated for his role in the torture memos, I've decided I need to visit here everyday if only to raise my own level of knowledge and to benefit from what everyone else here seems to have found.

I don't think i'll be disappointed.

"It makes sense, given those facts, that Whelan called Publius a 'coward'."

Signed "Anonymous Blogger."

Odd the number of critics of publius who keep calling themselves cowards, and similar self-denunciations. Where are these people's courage to publish under their own names, as they say is required to be non-cowardly?

I want to express sympathy for your situation. I once posted something from work, and had a right winger reveal on his blog who I worked for, which I took as a threat to my employment, so I know how you feel.

I post under a pseudonym not to hide my identity, but in the hope that we can reach a point where comments are not judged on who made them, but on their merits.

Fat chance, huh?

Not sure why the childish and thin-skinned behavior of the immoderate right surprises you. They have demonstrated their inability to 'take it' time and time again. Whelan is simply a sad, sorry poster child for the personality disorders that abound on the far right. Can't really expect civilized behavior from the party of proud bigots and bullies.

Strictly on the point of whether or not to continue working under your pseudonym, I see no reason why you shouldn't. Atrios still writes as Atrios -- heck, he goes on the covers of local magazines as Atrios -- even though everyone knows his real name at this point.

Insisting that you start putting your real name on everything would be like insisting that we change the names on novels to reflect the author's real name. Does it really change anything when you know that Huckleberry Finn was written by a guy whose real name was Samuel Clemens?

Writing under a pseudonym has a long and storied history. I don't know why people get all bent out of shape over it.

I have read both sides and consider "anonymous bloggers who abuse their anonymity to engage in irresponsible attacks" as justifiable cause for outing. I am curious to see if you maintain the same superiority so say such things with your job and reputation on the line, if they are not already.

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Whatnot


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