It seems like only yesterday (actually, it kinda almost was) that Canada's answer to Ann Coulter on paint thinner, Kate McMillan, took a hissy little swipe at your humble correspondent:
As an aside - what is it about those who skulk about on the toxic fringes of the leftosphere that they are so loathe to reveal their identities?
Um ... that skulker would be me, of course, being upbraided for, I'm guessing, not having the pre-requisite courage, confidence or downright good looks to reveal my true identity.
A couple of fellow lefty bloggers leapt to my defense (if, by "leapt," we mean rolled slowly out of bed, put on the coffee, realized there was nothing really important to blog about but, come on, we have to write something ... :-). But as much as I appreciate Scott and Catnip's support, they did miss what I think is the fundamentally important issue here. So let me enlighten.
As most folks who are not in a persistent vegetative state or a Blogging Tory already realize, there is a major benefit to blogging anonymously. That would, of course, be the anonymity. [Ed: Well, duh. Can you pick this up bit, CC? I'm starting to nod off.]
That anonymity gives one the freedom to, say, be a little more snarky, caustic and downright acerbic (Hi, Antonia!) than one might normally be, without having to suffer the consequences. So, sure, that's a big plus. But along with that advantage comes a whole truckload of downside that I suspect most people have never thought about.
First, if you blog anonymously, then all you have going for you are your words, nothing more. That means you have to capture an audience with only your literary output -- personality and social connections have nothing do with it. Because of that, if this blog consisted of little more than left-wing, librano, moonbat screeching, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be seeing any kind of serious traffic. Folks might wander across the blog by accident, sit a spell, get thoroughly bored after a few depressingly vacuous posts (Hi, Jinx!) and wander off. In short, as an anonymous blogger, I have to produce consistently or I get squat for readership. So the pressure's always on, isn't it?
On the other hand, imagine if, say, Stephen Harper started a public (that is, non-anonymous) blog. I'm sure you can appreciate that it wouldn't matter if Steve's blog consisted of semi-literate, asinine, neo-con talking points, all presented with bad spelling and worse punctuation. His blog would be an instant hit, because it would be Steve's blog. Content would be almost irrelevant -- Steve could generate traffic based simply on who he is. I can't do that, can I? So, in that context, my anonymity works against me in a big way. But it doesn't end there.
If I blog anonymously, I can't use my blog for things like cross-promotion. Unlike, say, America's favourite Crazy-Assed Racist Bitch Michelle Malkin, I can't use my blog to advertise the books I write, or the radio or TV programs I'm going to be on, or my public speaking gigs, which I could use to pad my bank account.
If I want to remain truly anonymous, chances are I'm never going to get a gig on CBC's Election Roundtable, am I, Kate? Or invited to submit an op-ed piece for the National Post. In fact, it's safe to say that, while folks like Kate and Steve are reveling in the benefits that come with being a public blogger, I will never be able to get so much as a letter published in my local paper complaining about cat bylaws (unless, of course, I do it under my real name and it has no connection whatsoever to my blog). Gosh, Kate, I'll bet none of that had ever occurred to you, had it? But here's the best part.
Understand that, if you choose to be a public blogger, part of your appeal that will generate traffic will come from who you are, and I'm pretty sure that few people realize that better than our Kate. Kate is part of what I've taken to calling the right-wing "skankosphere" -- that population of whining, right-wing, neo-con female bloggers who have absolutely no problem using their gender to beef up their blog stats.
Consider typical members of the skankosphere -- Americans Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Debbie Schlussel and so on, and Canadians like Kate and Rachel Marsden. Does anyone seriously believe these individuals would have a fraction of the traffic they do now if they didn't play on the raging hormones of their typical readers? I mean, really. Consider Kate's home page. Why, yes, that's a perfectly cute portrait shot of Kate -- immediately above another pic of her in those ever-so-cute short shorts and tank top, lovingly ministering to the business end of a macho motorcycle. Not hard to see the demographic we're going after here, is it, Kate, sweetie?
[Ed: You forgot this skank, CC. Let's not have that happen again, OK?]
So really, Kate, it's more than a little hypocritical for you to milk every advantage of being a public blogger -- none of which I'm ever going to see -- then turn around and bitch and moan about the unfair advantages of those who choose to blog anonymously. But I do see the real issue here.
I'm not surprised that the best shot you can take at me is meaningless whining and name-calling since, as we both know, there's no chance you're ever going to engage me on the actual issues. I'm sure you do just fine over there at Echo Chamber Central, writing for the 15-year-old adolescent demographic that you seem to attract. And good for you -- it's a lucky person who's found their niche in life.
But I strongly recommend that you stay in that bubble of yours, because if you ever got the urge to wander over here for some actual debate, any one of myself or my regular readers would be happy to intellectually kick your sorry ass back to that one-horse Podunkville hamlet you come from.
I'm sure it's terrific fun hanging out there at SDA, being the object of so much adolescent affection and fantasies. And, if you have any sense, you'll stay there, because over here is where the grown-ups hang out, and we don't suffer fools gladly. Just something you might want to keep in mind.
P.S. "Skankosphere?" That's mine. I expect to see it in the OED within my lifetime. You can use it as long as I get proper credit.