Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 3, 2009

Anonymous Cowards Beware: This May Be The Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:39 pm

I love the fact that at last at least one website isn’t allowing itself to be polluted any more by the fraidy cats who too scared to stand behind their words.

True, it may be difficult for larger sites, but I think it might just catch on. Then you’ll have to face your fears honestly.



  1. It’s entirely within a site owner’s rights to do as they please for commentary.
    Perhaps it will catch on.

    Meanwhile I’m so very amused at your fixation on this topic.

    Since you clearly have a problem with the commentary system on Pajamas, why don’t you try to redress it?

    Perhaps something is in work with the site owners here.

    If not, you could always post on a venue where you have more control, or at the least try to block all comments here.

    Prof. Reynolds goes for that angle and he’s Pajamas.

    Now for the nuts and bolts what confirmation process is verifiable enough?
    Short of a digital picture of ID (which can be faked) or a credit card check there’s not much that will keep pseudonyms out.

    On another issue… Pajamas has several pseudonymous writers. Jack Dunphy, Neo-neocon, Jimmy Bradshaw, Ruth Henderson, and one Iranian defector who’s penname escapes me.

    Now for many there’s quite legitimate reasons (such as being a policeman or defector) for them to be anonymous.

    Do you disagree with this practice or do you feel that commentators should be held to a higher standard? I suppose a way to square that issue would be to have only the admins of the site know the verified, real names.

    Also, do you insist on verifying the identity of anyone that writes letters to the editor, emails a writer, or engages in personal conversation?

    Why do you have this rage that someone, somewhere is saying something anonymously?

    Comment by Jack — December 3, 2009 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  2. Lots of people have had legitimate reasons to publish their thoughts anonymously. (As Thomas Paine, for example, published Common Sense.} It will always be okay, just as Aesopian language or other self-protective tactics will sometimes be legitimate. What is not so okay is using the cloak of anonymity to express sexism, racism and anti-semitism, homophobia, threats vague or explicit, and general abusive argument in bad faith… that’s where the cowardice enters in.

    Much of that stuff has to be tolerated under the right to free speech. But nobody is obligated to publish it. And any publisher has the right to initiate a “real names only” policy as an effort to minimize such trash talk, which would certainly be minimized if some of the worst offenders had to own their words.

    It’s pretty much… common sense.

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 3, 2009 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  3. The real issue is the volume that Ron gets, compared to Belmont Club, Hanson and others on PJM, Why Ron does not get any more of his fans and friends to post is beyond me. He could have at least 100 comments per post if he just drummed up his longtime followers.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 4, 2009 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  4. The French call it idee fixe. It is not an attractive condition.

    Comment by Banjo — December 6, 2009 @ 6:22 am | Reply

  5. Ron: Don’t you have anything to say besides complaining about your commenters?

    The arguments for anonymous commenting have been made repeatedly — see above for a few. I even sent you my reasons by email once upon a time.

    If it’s so much of a horror to you, either institute a no-anonymity policy here or leave Pajamas Media.

    But jeez louise, cease this constant bleating.

    Comment by huxley — December 6, 2009 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  6. Charlie, I agree that Ron could and should have more followers of his posts, or at least more feedback from readers.
    However, as you have pointed out before, it seems as though Ron doesn’t read his feedback. He certainly refuses to engage in any conversation… This was not always the case. He used to respond to many of his guests posts. I even asked him once if he had any extra tickets to Lear in Brooklyn… to which he politely responded.
    Increasingly there appears to be a disconnect between him and his readers as he seems to weed out and engage only those who might be very offensive, which if one reads most of PJMs writers and their feedback sections one can see that the ignorant/racist posters are the severe minority.
    Ron doesn’t seem to appreciate anyone here save yourself.
    As a big fan of his work, even though i disagree with most of his politics, I find it sad

    Comment by bryan — December 7, 2009 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  7. Thanks, Bryan. To be fair to Ron the deadline for Ron’s very important book on postwar nuclear doctrine is next week, so he is to be commended for continuing to post and also to contribute pieces to Slate, like his new piece there on consciousness, in which Ron reveals his Achilles’ heel, his love of indeterminacy. Yet, it is precisely this cuddly relationship with indeterminacy which will make his new book the cap of his career. Ron has told me that, in recent months, he does not read our posts generally, and this is why I can write so intimately now about him, because I know he won’t read it (how’s that for indeterminacy?) The great thing about Ron is that he gets an intellectual’s erotic charge about being disagreed with: he needs it because he hates it so. This visceral reaction means that he is often deaf to the nuanced interpretations of his deicated posters, pro and con. For example, when he raised the JFK assassination meme recently, it was as if he did not remember the dialogues about said ubject we went through last summer and he thus missed a key new element in these posts: that youn, backwater rewactionaries who have no knowledge or curiosity about the various facts and theories of the assassination are committed to a paradigm that Oswald acted alone, because they want the satisfction of knowing that Kennedy was killed by a Commie, in a kind of “left on left” perfect catastrophe, which has enforced in books by Posner, Bugliosi and James Piereson. I first read Ron in “New Times” magazine in the 1970s, a great publication which he does not even recognize in his C.V. anymore. His doggedness, work ethic and rich, occasional insights continue to keep me as a fan and humble me in knowing that I am his recent friend. His either/or stance drives me nuts: it is my view that one should put forward a hypothesis, test it and move forward dialectically, rather than vacillate between the towers, so to speak. But Ron has earned his place in our intllectual life many times over. The only crime of our grab bag of posters is their occasional lack of respect for who he is and what he continues to accomplish.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 7, 2009 @ 11:18 am | Reply

  8. Ron has told me that, in recent months, he does not read our posts generally…

    Yet he complains incessantly about his posters! Such a mystery.

    One might think he really doesn’t have much to say at PJM and just slags commenters to conceal it.

    Comment by huxley — December 7, 2009 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  9. Thank you Charlie for responding… I understand how busy the man is, yet, like Huxley, am baffled by how many of his posts are a vilification of us. Its as if he reads only the comments in his most incendiary posts.
    Because there are not nearly as many followers of his as there should be, if someone like myself has been reading the man for years and is consistently one of the few posters, we feel as though we have a relationship with him.
    He continually asks questions of us… beat it our opinions of JFK, shakespeare or Dylan.
    I have violently disagreed with some of his past statements and at one time even vowed to stop reading… but I do have tremendous respect for him and can say without a doubt Shakespeare Wars changed my life.
    He wants to engage then doesn’t read?
    I read all his Slate stuff and was surprised by his recent deluge of new posting here… which again (by the way i apologize for the ellipses, too much Will) makes it tough to understand how he doesn’t have the time to read and/or reply to 6 or 7 comments.
    I have written at length about my use of just my first name (it has to do with bad experiences when liberal casting directors ‘google’ my name and Republican ideology pops up) and was hoping for some sort of acknowledgement from the man.
    i like him very much. buy his books in hardcover form… was even pissed I missed a signing at the B & N in Lincoln center but still bought the autographed copy of Shakespeare Wars even though I had a copy already.
    I am young…ish but do not get attached to writers too often…. especially living ones. Ron is one of them. Cormac another… god forbid he ever starts a blog and doesn’t respond!
    anyway, rambling. I envy you, Charlie, and appreciate your friendship with Ron… just wish he might throw a little more to some of his other true fans even if we can not think or write at the level you do.

    Comment by bryan — December 7, 2009 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  10. Well put, Bryan. There is no doubt that Ron has become more eccentric as he approaches his mid-Sixties. As you get older (I am 56), the future cease to exist and the past no longer offers the comfort it used to, because you are sinking into it permanently. Plus, you are in alot of physical pain all the time. For all of these reasons, Lear and Kane like fixations distort the judgement, such as Ron’s harangues about “cowards, unmask, etc.” As Laura Huxley once titled one of her books, “You Are Not the Target”. The target is one’s own shadow, the built up prejudices, in the general sense, of a lifetime. I think we need to give him a mulligan until the new book appears. To quote Job: “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” A bit of singing from Ron’s anvil shouldn’t hurt too much. We’ll pray that he can cool it anon. Thanks

    Comment by charlie finch — December 7, 2009 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  11. thank you. i will trust you both and eagerly anticipate the new book. by the way, really liked the new slate article and hate the fact that i have to go there to read his deepest thought.

    Comment by bryan — December 7, 2009 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  12. My other theory is that Ron is too much of a coward to read the comments here.

    He’s a sloppy thinker who unsurprisingly considers Obama a stellar intellect (how’s that working for you these days, Ron?) and it’s not hard to clean Ron’s clock.

    Comment by huxley — December 8, 2009 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  13. Exhibit A: “huxley.”

    Took him three tries before he could cough up his nastiness here. O brave new world that has such clock-cleaners in’t.

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 9, 2009 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  14. Is anymore more retarded about the internet then old ppl? No one can comment anonymously on any website expect maybe one they own… and even then still a good amount of work to do so.

    Comment by robotech master — December 9, 2009 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  15. I have to laugh.

    Ron doesn’t mind what’s-his-name, Barry Soetoro, Barack Hussein Obama, or whatever, because at least the little liar will tell you his name, and even sign things with one or the other of ’em, too. But, when in his first act as President of the United States, Ron’s can-never-do-wrong Barry Boy signs an executive order sealing all his records — personal, occupational, educational, you name it — from the American people, that’s OK by Ron.

    Comment by Carl Sesar — December 10, 2009 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  16. President Obama is drawing to an inside straight. With the surge in Kabul, lowering Medicare age eligibility and redirecting stimulus finds to small business and job creation he may trump us all and succeed beyong our wildest hopes, It is a 100-1 probability, but then so was his election.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 10, 2009 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  17. The President’s speech today is a profound and realistic, subtle yet comprehensive summing up of the state of war and the prospects for peace. A masterpiece that must be watched, not just read, that will echo down the halls of history. It is a test of the good will of those who disagree with him n the right and the left. After today, we may disagree with Mr. Obama again, but we cannot doubt, his heart, his soul, his vigor, his intellectual rigor, his pragmatism, his ideals. His evocation of the Teheran protesters and his new challenge to Islamofascism demonstrate that he listens to his critics. We owe him the respect, as serious thinkers and patriotic Americans (in the many forms that that continues to take) to listen to him and grant him our good will. Today, he earned it and earned the this august award on behalf of us all.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 10, 2009 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  18. Goodbye Liam Clancy…and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

    Comment by charlie finch — December 11, 2009 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  19. Ah Liam. “The last time I saw you was down at the Greeks, there was whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks…” That is such a hard goodbye.

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 11, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

  20. Hey everybody: Ron is wrapping up the NukeStrat book, being very humble about which means it should be kind of like his “Four Quartets”, you know, that silo redolent of roses in East Coker. Ron remarked that the denouement of his ruminations on just war theory nicely greeted Obama’s Oslo speech at the station. There are no kings outside the Gates of Eden.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 12, 2009 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  21. Nobody asked me, but (apologies to Thomas Sowell and Jimmy Cannon): 1) Don’t you think the Oslo speech was spurred on by some REALLY bad intelligence from Iran? 2) When a big celebrity gets caught in a scandal, shouldn’t his corporate sponsors be required by law to keep making ads with him for a couple of years, to atone for their own conformist lies? 3) If we could meet Obama’s parents, we would solve all the mystery surrounding him 4) The harder she works and the more tired she gets the more authentic Hillary Clinton finally becomes 5) When Sarah Palin becomes President the matrix between Media World and Political World will dissolve forever; that’s why she is out there 6) The more we read about the Salahis, Tiger Woods and the next golden shoes to drop, the less we hear abput Bill Clinton, the man who made it all not only palatable but necessary 7) techno/info acceleration divided by human mortality equals the curve of binding energy 8) has anyone ripped out the index card from Laura yet and reshuffled them? 9) the more intellectuals like Robert Wright and Christopher Hitchen and Dawkins and Singer throw spitballs at God, the more powerless they seem, for His ambiguity defies them with nothingness 10) if you haven’t listened to the recordings of the late Eva Cassidy, please do…

    Comment by charlie finch — December 12, 2009 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  22. Charlie Finch is, actually, a good reason to read Ron’s blog.

    I am interested in Ron’s thesis in his new book. Post war nuclear doctrine? No wonder he has been so cranky!

    Comment by heathermc — December 13, 2009 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  23. Thank, Heather. “Fleet Street Murders” received a rave in “The New York Times Book Review” today. My son and I thank you very much for your enthusiasm and support. As to my post above, “The Times of London” has just reported that iran is testing a neutron intiiator, the final stage in developing a nuclear weapon. God Help Us All…

    Comment by charlie finch — December 13, 2009 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  24. most human beings don’t want to notice the train coming down the tracks at them. That is what we have leaders for, to shoo us off the tracks before we are destroyed. I am so afraid that our leaders are like us, now, and will let the train come on, until it is too late.

    Iran, now. The lefty anti Zionists (most of them American Jews) chatter on about the sins of Israel; when Iran is openly planning on destroying Israel, like really destroy it, not just shunning it, or complaining about the “fake holocaust”. Amazing. I am constantly amazed at this. And I have upper class Jewish American intellectual in-laws, who (from quiet asides during the wedding, are quite conscious of being Jewish)… yet, they carry on about Israeli ‘sins.’ All of which proves that having brains and education has NOTHING to do with wisdom.

    Comment by heathermc — December 14, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  25. addendum: the Charles Finch book, Fleet Street Murders” is a really good book, an oasis of civilized behavior on the part of the Good Guys. And it includes a very interesting description of a Victorian election. So, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Also, it has a truly lovely cover design!

    Comment by heathermc — December 14, 2009 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  26. Check out “Nazi Ideology in the Arab World” in the January 2010 “New Criterion”, out the first of the year, and thanks again, Heather, you are a peach and Ron’s a plum, so let’s make a pie, as I am the apple!

    Comment by charlie finch — December 14, 2009 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  27. 2010 Predictions, here goes: 1) Dow ends the year at 1600 in the aftermath of joint US/Israeli attack on Iran 2) US drone strikes kill Al-Zawahiri 3) Al Qaeda prisoners claim Bin Laden has been dead since 2007 4) Republicans regain House and Senate 5) Secretary of State Clinton resigns for health reasons 6) Health care reform leads to masssive confusion among citizens 7) Two major bank CEOs assassinated as part of blue collar revolt against tight money 8) Obama’s poll ratings soar to 60%, as he turns super hawkish 9) unemployment drops to 8% as dollar strengthens with US on active war footing 10) Taliban routed by joint US/Pakistani forces,a s US casualties mount 11) “Hurt Locker” wins Oscar Best Picture, George Clooney Best Actor, Meryl Streep Best Actress 12) Cincinnatti Bengals win Super Bowl 13) Tiger Woods returns to play in Masters 14) New York Yankees repeat as baseball champs 15) New York Times declares bankruptcy (financial, not moral) 16) George Stephanopolous fired, as GMA ratings slump 17) Vice President Biden resigns in kickback scandal, replaced by Senator Claire McCaskill 18) Nude photos of Sarah Palin sold to “Playboy” 19) Mike Huckabee indicted in pardons-for-cash investigation 20) Ron Rosenbaum book hits Times bestseller list, as he signs exclusive deal with “The Atlantic Monthly”, ending relationship with Pajamas Media

    Comment by charlie finch — December 16, 2009 @ 8:23 am | Reply

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