Armando announced last night that he will take his ball and go home. Leaving the blogosphere no poorer, in my opinion. The reaction from kossacks has been swift and sure to condemn this violation of the sanctity of Armando's private life. But how private was it? He posts under his own name and tells all the world that he's an attorney. In the, I'm roughly estimating here, millions of posts with which he has deluged numerous websites, he has revealed many more of his particulars. It can't have been hard to reverse engineer his identity. If he was so interested in protecting his privacy, why didn't he make an effort to do so? I have no beef with anonymity -- note the dearth of information about me on this site -- but it does require a modicum of restraint. Armando is not the first and will most certainly not be the last "anonymous" blogger to be undone by a colossal ego and need for attention.
Noticeably absent from the outcry over Armando's martyrdom is any discussion of the issue raised by the National Review. It's the hypocrisy, stupid. But then, anyone who thinks Daily Kos is truly a progressive website, leading the charge against the corporatists who are choking the life out of democracy, isn't paying attention.
Look. I don't begrudge Armando his right to make a living. And I know enough about law to know that a big part of a lawyers job is to protect the law itself. (For example, I fully support the ACLU in its defense of odious clients like the Nazis in Skokie, IL, to protect the Constitutional freedoms of all Americans.) For all I know Armando is protecting the one aspect of Wal-Mart's business practices that is noble and true. I can't imagine what that would be, but that's neither here nor there.
I get it. I know bloggers take very seriously the right to privacy and anonymity, even if that amounts to keeping the blogosphere safe for liars, frauds, and hypocrites. It was definitely brought home to me when I published this piece on soj and was vilified by the multitude and banned from Daily Kos, even though it was soj who outed soj. Not me.
The thing that comes through loud and clear from both the National Review expose and the resulting brouhaha, is how very seriously bloggers take themselves. Kos, who is far from anonymous, comes across as stunningly arrogant. In other words the piece is accurate. It quotes from an interview he did with a Swedish magazine to great effect.
"I wouldn't want to be a senator or congressman. I'm able to influence politics much more effectively doing what I do. Now I can shape the national political debate. The only way I could exert more influence would be if I were president. But I’d never want that guy’s job. Never."
Wow! And there's more:
"I get lots of calls from people who want to learn how to leverage the Internet…The Swedish social democrats, for instance, asked me to come to Sweden to hold a talk, but I didn't have the time. Soon they'll have to come to Berkeley to learn the ropes."
I'm trusting that the translation is accurate and it sure as hell sounds like Kos.
At some point bloggers are going to have a make a decision about what is more important, anonymity or credibility. It's very hard to be taken seriously as an expert -- and many claim all sorts of expertise -- if you won't disclose your credentials. Anyone can say he's an attorney. We now know that Armando really is one. Some of us are a little surprised. We don't know how he finds the time. But Armando would prefer to say he's an attorney than to have us know that he really is one. Such a conundrum.
You want fame? Well fame costs.