14 September 2018

Ticking me off

I would much prefer that people who submit comments should do so under their own names. However, I certainly understand some proper motives for not doing so, particularly among clergy and academics. So I will not bluster or rant about this.

Editors of newspapers still maintain the old principle of declining anonymous communications, except in the most exceptional circumstances. This is good. One of the problems, surely, about the internet is the encouragement it has given to people to hurl anonymous, and therefore unaccountable, abuse for which they take no responsibility.

What I intend no longer to tolerate are those (I think, two) who tick me off, wagging their forefingers like Victorian Schoolmarms, and lecture me in a condescending way ... from behind a pseudonym. It's not the criticism so much as the asymmetry that gets me: my name, history, and personality are public knowledge; but my tellers-off maintain a lofty and protective anonymity.

I could ban particular pseudonyms, but that would be pointless because s/he could just invent a new pseudonym. So I'll probably just commit such occasional irritants to "Delete for ever".

I once expressed my views about a writer who called him/herself "Savonarola". I used inverted commas because I assumed that this was not his/her real name. In retaliation, s/he placed inverted commas round "Fr Hunwicke". Since John William Hunwicke is the name I have gone under since 13 March 1941 (sometimes, since around June 1968, varied to "Fr Hunwicke"), I took exception to the curious implication that Hunwicke was a crafty and invented pseudonym behind which I was nervously concealing my true identity.

Just plain rude, it seems to me.

12 comments:

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

I think his or her point could be taking exception to believing Savonarola was NOT the real name.

I check on FB, there is one Savonarola with two on her friends' list Savonarola, and one of them is, like herself, from Metz, so, it seems there are Savonarolas who do live in Metz.

I was schoolfriend with two Huss who claimed to descend from Jan Hus the reformer who was burned at the council of Constance.

Sprouting Thomas said...

It is an unmanly thing to do.

Nevertheless, I'm sure most of us hide our names, not from fear you, Father, will send wicked and witty clerihews our way, but from fear others will send an endless deluge of equally wicked but rather less witty advertising.

Many people are obliged to comment here using their "Google Account". This exists not only within your blog, but within the whole sphere of our lives managed by Google. If I use my real name for the Google Account, or sign a "Sprouting Thomas" post with it, our robot overlords are able to connect me with all the information "acquired" by them through other means. So, if I visit your blog, Fr. Z's, the Catholic Herald and so on, I will get vast numbers of e-mails, pamphlets and internet advertisements for rosaries and retirement homes daily until I die. Based on his interest in Catholicism, Google has already identified Sprouting Thomas as being about 70 years old, roughly three times my actual age, and seems very intent on selling life insurance to my non-existent wife and children. I am surprised this has not happened to you, as well. Perhaps you author persona is not connected with your reader persona, which would protect you to some extent.

I am sure we are all quite ready to give you our real names, but in some private form and not for the automaton librarians of the internet to store up eternally behind their unforgetting eyes. It is of course quite unseemly to make personal criticisms from such a position.

John Nolan said...

Savonarola is a well-known troll who infests Catholic blogs. You are right to delete him.

Thorfinn said...

My introduction to the historical personage was via The Seventh Station by Ralph McInerny, a Father Dowling mystery where a putative Franciscan takes perverted glee in citing Savonarola as an exemplar.

Thorfinn is the real name of a saint...

GOR said...

”Just plain rude, it seems to me.”

Agreed, Father, but I would probably not be so charitable.

As you note, Father, the use of a nom de plume (or perhaps more appropriately: a nom de guerre!) may be occasioned by many reasons. But we are guests on your blog, and to abuse the privilege to besmirch the blog-owner is scurrilous.

Be assured Father that the vast majority of guests here appreciate your efforts, acknowledge your background, erudition and service to the Truth and the Church. Thank you for your work, Father, and for the opportunity you afford us to converse – albeit electronically.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

ABS provides neither his real name or a photo of his own self because at least one of those would represent an occasion of sin.

mcgod said...

Oh Fr Hunwicke, I find your blog informative and at times an inspiration to my occasiojal essays. I am sorry that a troll has caused you angst, I am happy for you to know who I am, indeed on one occasion when I asked your permission to quote your blog in our parish pew sheet ( a small Ordinariate Congregation in South Australia) we had a courteous exchange of emails , so you would knmow who I am. Please continue with your blog for all our sakes
With thanks

John the Mad said...

Of course my middle and last names are really "the" and "Mad." My parents were a touch eccentric. One might even say... mad.

Of course, this is balderdash, but my employment drives my need for a nom de guerre. My children must eat and university tuition must be paid. Surely as an academic you must see the merit in my latter argument.

...and what if my last name was actually "Nolan." You understand the confusion that would then ensue. Two "knights" named John Nolan contending in the your commentary lists. Readers would be thrust into perplexity. Women would swoon. It does not bear considering.

Savonarola said...

I have not been intentionally rude. Maybe traditionalist Catholics take themselves so deadly seriously that they cannot take a little light-hearted banter? The reason I have used a pseudonym is that most of those whose comments you post do so, so I thought it was the normal practice.

I have, however, decided to retire from the game, seeing it is such a waste of time, as is all this Catholic blogging in general. The sad thing about it is that there is no listening. Everyone just wants to demonstrate their own correctness and do down anyone who dares to disagree with them: I cheerfully admit I am just as bad as everyone else. There is something about blogging that encourages this devilish attitude, so perhaps we should all give it up and spend more time in prayer. Now that really would be worthwhile.

Ave et vale. Dominus tecum.

Michael Leahy said...

Thomas, I haven't found myself under the deluge that you describe, or maybe I just haven't noticed it as advertisements just don't come into my consciousness.

Banshee said...

I use an Internet handle because it was the custom of my youth, and because I share my actual name with many more prominent ladies of the clan.

OTOH, I do have a tendency to lecture and be a know-it-all, so feel free to tell me When I am being annoying! But thank you for all the education and insight you provide!

Jonathan Dandridge said...

Although my posting appears to be a real name, my actual name is Raymond Luxury Yacht, pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.