Thursday, March 07, 2013

Thanks, Avi, for the counter-example

This week's Avi is a warm and tender tribute to Yosef Friedenson, an Agudath Israel employee who, we learn from Avi's article, was responsible for an Aggudah publication called Dos Yiddishe Vort. It's quite a nice piece. When he's not writing about Reform rabbis or pilot heroes, or bloggers,  Avi can be thoughtful, gentle and complimentary.

One of Avi's main beefs about bloggers is that they are often anonymous, and that anonymity breeds discord, nastiness, and opportunities to articulate ideas that haven't been pre-approved by Ingsoc. But guess what? R' Friedenson himself was an anono blogger (sort of/not really but keep reading):
During his final years, Reb Yosef did much of the writing for Dos Yiddishe Vort himself, often under pseudonyms that were transparent to most everyone who read the publication. (No one cared; his own recollections and writings were deeply appreciated by readers.)
First off, thanks, Avi, for the counter-example!! Apparently you can write important things absent your real name without also being a menace to society! Good to know!  But, still, what a strange set of sentences! If the pseudonyms were "transparent" why bother with them. And catch that parenthetical: "No one cared?" (a) how does he know; and (b) why is the baseline assumption that someone would care?  

If I check an author's name, its for one of two reasons and two reasons only: (a) I'm lazy or short on time and I want to see if the article or book is by someone I know before I commit to it; or (b) I like what I've read, and I'd like to know who gets the credit for entertaining or educating me. 

I can think of no other reason to care about a writer's real identity, but then I don't work for Big Brother.

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