Who said that? Oh. Well, OK, then.

The Telegraph’s Alexis Dormany is suspicious of people like your humble servant who are anonymous on the web, behind noms de plume. Very… unsettling.

He is torn between castigating megacorps for wanting to know everything about their customers and damning the web-facility for saddos to build whole fantasy IDs and lives online, potentially (at least, arguably) damaging themselves and others. He seems to disenfranchise perfectly innocent citizens who wish to contribute to public conversation while preserving their privacy.

On balance, he thinks online IDs should be transparent. I think he wants you to know exactly who I am. Well, he is entitled to his opinion, and he makes one or two good points, but on balance, my response is Bugger off, Mr Dormany. If Mr D gets his way, you will never hear from me again and you will never know who I was. Am.

What’s the value of free speech if you don’t know who’s talking?

No. No.

First, distinguish between legitimate privacy and suspicious secrecy.

Second, listen carefully to what is said. Read carefully what is written. Never mind who said or wrote it. Does it have value in itself?

I do not have a monopoly of truth. My opponent may have something to say from which I would wish to learn. It makes no difference that I cannot see his face.

If too much attention is paid to the speaker (which is easy) it may be that too little time is left to examine his speech (which may be difficult). If a writer is too celebrated, the brilliance of his celebrity may cast his writing into shadow.

We know nothing of Socrates but what Plato remembers him saying. We know nothing of Plato but what he wrote.

Our age is cursed by superficiality.


I posted a short version of this at the Telegraph. And a post more or less the same as this at my own place.

12 comments for “Who said that? Oh. Well, OK, then.

  1. September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Another MSM twat who has it in for the free spirits of the internet.

  2. Mike Spilligan
    September 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Dormany seems to be a man of very limited intellect, though he does have a very individual name.
    My real name’s James Smith, by the way, which immediately elaborates the tone of my comment, of course.

  3. Patrick Harris
    September 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    What if, as is postulated, the internet does get closed down or if it gets too rigorously controlled for the likes of yourself to operate freely. If your identity is not known how would we miss you, were you were treated to the dawn jack-boot alarm call. It would not only be your words that disappear, no one would know that you had gone or why you had gone, no one would be able to call round to see if you were alright.
    Is there an envelope somewhere – to be opened in the event that something should happen to you.

    • September 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Yes. 😈

  4. September 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    The man is a cretin. Does he not understand that it’s not who says something, but what is said is important. Gordonius Bennetus 🙄

  5. Peter Whale
    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Maybe when these socalled journalists stop repeating items from “informed sources” or other such anonymous persons they might have some credibility with that stance.

    • September 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Good point.

  6. September 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Not quite the same but was in ASDA yesterday and the checkout woman asked for my postcode. I told her it was intrusive, I couldn’t see what it was for [for a survey, like] and that this was precisely what we are fighting in this country – greater intrusion. If I apply for something, I’ll give the whole pack drill, not a problem.

    Someone asks me – b***er off. People’s identities on the web are their own affair as well.

    • September 8, 2011 at 5:54 am

      I love the opportunity to say ‘No’ to these people. The startled look you get tells you how few people do it, sadly…

      • September 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

        That’s it – the startled look. They really are quite surprised you haven’t just obeyed.

  7. LJH
    September 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    NHS are providing me with a minor investigation(out patient, morning only) in exchange for details of my ethnicity, with the justification that it will make it easier for them to meet dietary requirements – the menu of possible ethnicities would be better replaced if I could just tell them I prefer exotic take aways but there is no way I would ever trust them to cook properly.

  8. September 8, 2011 at 5:52 am

    “Our age is cursed by superficiality.”


Comments are closed.