Feeling oddly privileged

Learning the real identity of a pseudonymous blogger is a curious experience. I know a few now. One was (oops) outed to me by someone else who (I think) assumed that I already knew. Another actually outed h**self to me (unsolicited and without any fanfare), but perhaps s/he also assumed I already knew. I didn’t, but then I usually make a point of not looking for these things. Well, I do think that it’s important to respect people’s privacy in these matters. I am also surprisingly good at not noticing what’s going on around me. (Long practice since childhood, especially when in book-glued-to-nose mode.)

(Although of course once I did know real names I googled like crazy to see what they were hiding. But it was all very respectable and/or academic. No scandal at all. Most disappointing.)

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12 Responses to Feeling oddly privileged

  1. I think I’m glad? But kind of let down, I suppose … Oh well, maybe I can be Another Scandalous Medievalist when I get tenure?

  2. Sharon says:

    I can’t wait. Shake that medievalist booty!

  3. You couldn’t have put it more aptly! ;-)

  4. Ralph Luker says:

    You know, I’m afraid that there’s an illusion in all of this that there comes a time in life when one is free. Out of curiosity, I tracked down the identity of an unnamed, pseudonymous, male history blogger. It took quite a bit of searching. Turned out to be a tenured professor. I am afraid that the habit of hiding one’s identity for fear of consequences may become learned fear such that we’re never really free of it. That isn’t to say that I have any recommendations one way or another to those who don’t have job security — only that job security may not look like nirvana once you have it.

  5. Chris Williams says:

    Maybe it won’t, but I’m looking forward to it all the same. Getting funding for a PhD; finishing it; getting my first temporary job; getting my second temporary job – all these are hurdles that I’m glad I’ve got over.

    I agree with Ralph about the ‘learned fear’. Luckily, I’ve left too many fingerprints all over the place already for it to be worthwhile ever adopting a pseudonym, but sometimes I put up something paper-thin and plausibly deniable so as not to get my institution into unnecessary trouble.

  6. Ancarett says:

    My pseudonymity, I know, has worn quite thin. Anyone with the least bit of gumption can find me out, if they really want to do so. But, then, I have tenure and I don’t blog anything wonderfully scandalous so I’m not terribly worried.

    It might be fun to be worried if I had something scandalous to blog about, though not if I had not the tenure. . . .

  7. Somehow, I think that our scandals, like academic politics, are much greater to us than they are to the world at large. For medievalists, the big scandals seem mostly to be sex and alcohol related. And even then, they’re pretty mild. More, “did you know so-and-so and you-know-who broke up because so-and-so left him for whats-his-name?” Or maybe I just don’t hear about the more scadalous stuff!

  8. Sharon says:

    That’s not just medievalists! I thought all historians relish a juicy sex scandal about a colleague or past colleague. (And I won’t believe anyone who says they don’t…)

  9. Well, I thought it might be true for the rest of us, but didn’t want to presume …

  10. Larry says:

    A scandal is always entertaining and similar to a free lunch ~ part of the pleasure is that it’s at someone else’s expense! Of interest is that there were/are four things that seem to have historically gotten a cop into trouble – booze, women (and now men, whatever one might want to read into that gender issue), guns and cars (as in misuse of a government vehicle/property, drunk driving, etc.). For academics, and most others, it’s only the first two that tend to allow us the opportunity to be regaled with the vicarious pleasures of a scandal.

  11. Sharon says:

    Well put, Larry.

    (I’ve never heard of an academic getting into trouble over guns, but we do get the occasional story of some idiot student waving a ‘gun’ (always turns out to be either a crappy replica or some kind of SF toy that somebody mistook for a gun: this is Britain, remember, we’re extremely jumpy about these things) around in halls of residence and being brought before the powers that be for a good roasting.)

  12. Chris Williams says:

    Larry, you’re forgetting money, corrupter of cops since before there were cops. Or even a developed idea of corruption, despite John Fielding’s best effort.

    Other academic scandal-fuel includes nepotism, plagiarism, and incompetence. I am far too boring to generate scandal of my own, and thus must rely on other people’s.

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