Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Even if you visit just a few blogs on a daily basis, the chances are very good that you're going to see a comment left by a person who leaves no name. Since many blogs via Blogger require at least a username to post, some people will create a profile, but not a blog. There are plenty of other blogs, including this one, that allow anonymous comments to be posted. Usually, people leave their names, but sometimes they don't. I know blogging isn't for everyone and I think it's fine to have non-Blogger users post their feelings, but comments from anonymous users have become a cowardly shield of sorts.

Around here, a prime spot for catty anonymous comments is We Shot J.R., a Dallas-based blog devoted to local and national music. In hopes of voicing an opinion in the blogosphere without burning bridges in real life, its writers do not reveal their real names. I can understand this motive but I don't agree with this approach. On here and in real life, I'm not into hiding behind a curtain so I can say what I really think. When I blog, I choose my words carefully; I really think about what I want to say and how to say it. I say what I actually think and I may offend or annoy people this way, but that's a natural part of speaking my mind.

That said, some people that comment anonymously on We Shot J.R. love to blurt out cheap shots. Whether the shots are supposed to be funny in a twisted way, they are often immature. Here's a sampling from Monday's post:

im going to pretend it's 93 and listen to samiam albums

what a bunch of repetitious, poppy horseshit. this is music for people who don't know how to play music. or listen to it, for that matter.

Yes, I know opinions are like noses, but what's the deal with hiding behind a mask when giving one? Are we that afraid of our opinions offending people? I know I've said some things before that offended people that I didn't mean to offend. Those repercussions have made me think harder about what I say and how I say it, but still, what I say is really what I think. But for some, tact gets thrown out the window when they speak their minds. Some claim that's giving an honest opinion, but to me, that's not the way.

Sometimes people fly off handles and post laughable nonsense. Let me repost an example from something I wrote last month:

how can u possibly appriciate the green day concept album but not coheed and cambria or the mars volta? just because they have more complex storylines than the burned out ninties puke/punk of green day doesnt mean they should be under valued... seriously, maybe you should look up the story for the mars volta on google and go to any hot topic or newberry comics and buy the good apollo graphic novel

I have no problem with this person disagreeing with me, but the way the person wrote the comment (complete with major spelling and grammatical errors) shrinks the comment down to an eye-roller for me. Plus, this person's comment doesn't make much sense compared to what I wrote. I never said that I appreciated one album over the other; I discussed what I liked and disliked about concept albums by Green Day, Coheed and Cambria and the Mars Volta and that was that.

Am I being a little harsh and asshole-ish here? Maybe, but I really have no use in posting my opinions anonymously. Yes, if I were to harshly criticize a local band on a blog and then run into one of their members someplace, I'll probably be put on the spot and have to explain myself. That's not a problem for me, but for some, the thought of this happening is terrifying. Maybe these people want to spit out the initial cries of blasphemy because they think too many people think before they speak. Maybe this is an attempt to come across as unbiased, but come on, we're humans, not soul-less robots. I know I'm talking via a virtual channel here, but that doesn't mean I'm a robot myself.


fuzzbuzz said...

Because they don't have to be responsible for their words they don't put a second of thought into what they write. It's all reactionary, or so it seems.

jonofdeath said...

It almost sounds artistic when you put it that way. But not in the traditional sort of way. More like the Dadaist Anti-art sort of way.
Here's how I see it:
What they are saying is completely disposable. Kind of like a radio pop song. Like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilara, or Kelly Clarkson.
But what they are doing/saying is useful to someone else. How so? They are entertaining someone, if not just for a second.
So, why do they post anonymously? Because it's disposable. They know it's going to be forgotten about in a very short amount of time. Why should they have to take credit for something that is just going to pass away?
So my question is, why don't pop stars all just call themselves "anonymous?"

Rj said...

Yeah I just allowed anon's to post on my site. I haven't had any problems yet, but I'm not sure how many people have even stopped by to read my blog, as it is very new still. I appreciate you coming by though, cause your comments are always well said.

Rj(formerly Deathbymuzak)

Mr Atrocity said...

I find these ideas of authorship and anonymity on the internet fascinating. Rather than whitter on about them in the comments, I've written a few notes here. Of course I suspect that "Eric Grubbs" is some cunning alias and not a real person at all but from across The Pond it's rather hard to tell...

wendy said...

People who don't attach their name to an opinion are assholes who should be ignored.

Josh said...

This is something I've been thinking about myself lately - particularly in reference to anonymous assholery in the local scene.

In fact, I even advised Chris to ban anon commenters after some particularly vile spewing in response to his "Best of the Year so far" - which is just a list for God's sake.

The upshot of the much celebrated democracy and participatory nature of blogging is that some jerks can instantly bash anything without taking any responsibility at all. Comments and backblogs have become the new repositories for flamewars and trolls - which is one of the few benefits of my blog's lack of popularity.

As far as We Shot JR, you've gotta respect guys like Sam Machkovech who actually sign off on their posts, reputations be damned.

Josh said...

Wow - that ended up as one giant link.

I suck at html