JUNE 15, 2011 12:50PM

On the Internet Nobody Knows You Are a Dog

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    no one knows  

 

Yes, it would appear that the lesbians are actually straight men, the women are women, and the tween-agers are FBI agents, and a certain NY congressman with a slightly risible last name and a penchant for tweeting suggestive pictures of his body or parts thereof - is a bit of a perv. Honestly, I thought everyone had gotten a piece of Wiener last week, and there were absolutely no further possible ways in which the gentleman in question could embarrass his party, his constituents and his spouse, after the pic of him in the gym dressing room, clutching his ding-a-ling through a towel, but my daughter alerted me to this gem, courtesy of the UK Daily Mail. Seriously, I am wondering what possibly could top that for humiliating revelations.

 

The Gay Girl in Damascus and the Paula Brooks thing – honestly, it seems like the plot for a movie – something titled The Gay Deceivers just suggests itself right off the bat. Seldom in real life do we have such a delicious confluence of pretense  . . .  what is real, what is the real identity behind those pixels on a screen, and how much of what you put out there is really, really, really real. And I speak as someone who has been blogging under a not-terribly opaque nom du-blog since 2002, mostly because I didn’t want to put my real name out there. My daughter was still on active duty, my parents and brothers are listed in the phone book, and I had enough of demented devotion from eccentric fans when I was on radio, here and there among military radio stations. Yes, you have a million fans, if you are in the public eye in some manner, and a half-dozen really sick f**ks as enemies, all of whom have never met you, don’t really know any more about you than what you put out about yourself  . . .  and I didn’t really want to deal with it, or have my family deal with it.

 

There were often discussions, early on – about blogging under a real name, or under a nom-du-blog; questions of credibility, of standing behind what you wrote. I took the line that yes, for piece of mind or actual physical safety, there were excellent reasons for someone to blog under another name. One could establish a reputation for verity, and honesty, no matter what name you called yourself. Over time, your on-line reputation could be as solid as it was in real-space, congruent with your real-life experience. 

And there are bloggers who have been doing that – under cover or by their real names in various countries, and some of them in physical danger: Salam Pax is one that comes to mind at first, mostly because of the blogosphere controversy over whether he was a real and credible person, reporting from inside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Hossein Derakhshan, the godfather of Iranian blogging may or may not still be imprisoned by the Iranian authorities.  The Egyptian blogger who goes by the nom du blog Sandmonkey has been arrested in the recent past. They took – and still are taking risks by writing, and blogging. Creating a whole other persona and identity, at odds with real life, and claiming to bear first-hand witness in a blog to extraordinary current events, when you are actually hundreds or thousands of miles away? When I do that, I call it a bit of historical fiction, and clearly label it such. Dunno why “Amina” and “Paula” didn’t think of doing it that way. Would have saved a bit of embarrassment, all the way around.

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Comments

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True. I guess it all boils down to the desire for self-preservation, or deception. R
People are often really fools, aren't they? Now THAT is a constant of history if there ever was one.
Damn (pron: dang, bugger in Aus and the Uk or even WdaFluck) - you've rumbled their foul deeds.

ANd, yes and, what is a respectable woman doing reading the UK's Daily Mail ? Oh dear - infidel.

"Press send FRed(tm) and book my therapisst please."
I'm just shaking my head over it all, Trudge - it was comic and cruel of 'Amina' and 'Paula' to carry on so long with a fake persona, and to bamboozle people into believing they were what they said they were.
I guess many of their readers just wished to believe what they wanted to believe. Constant of history, as you said, P.

Creekend - my daughter is the Daily Mail fan, actually. For some reason their coverage of events (particularly political events) is somewhat more ... comprehensive than the usual US mainstream media. They leave in all the ironic bits that our newspaper and other media are usually too embarrassed to include, lest they ruin their precious access. The Daily Mail doesn't seem to give a rip if they have access to to some tw0-bit pol or celeb or not. Refreshing, in a way.