Anonymity, most typically, suggests epic buffoonery sans backbone.
A while back a local newspaper, in an article headlined “No More Taking Potshots from Behind Anonymity,” decided that if you can’t stand behind it, they were not going to print it.
In the interest of thoughtful commentary, healthy discourse, and to encourage substantive debate, submissions without identifications – i.e. real names – would be banned.
Of course there are ‘benefits’ to hiding behind “virtual bushes,” among them the surrender of moral authority; truth becomes an ornamental and immaterial commodity; and being anonymous – literally “without a name” – means no one will ever malign your reputation in the community nor call into question your integrity.
Anonymity enables the writer to be dismissive and attack character with both impunity and immunity, since he can escape completely unscathed given no one – but the assassin – knows who they are.
Of course to be completely ensconced in the basement – that’s below dirt – of Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement – while throwing mud, is hardly complimentary.
The first of seven ascending stages of “rational approach” to issues Graham refers to as “name calling” which anonymity allows without penalty.
Ironically, anonymous is defined as “lacking individuality, unique character, or distinction.” And, as used in a sentence: “an endless row of drab, anonymous houses.”
In their book “The Aims of Argument,” Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell write, “Nothing tells us more about people than the opinions they hold and their reasons for holding them.”
It would seem to go without saying but if your parents deemed your birth somewhat significant – as significant as the costly (doctor’s bill) and necessary appendages (fingers and toes) that comprised you before you left the hospital – enough to affix a label distinguishing you as Tom or Dick but not Harry, then perhaps your given name was given you as something for which to be proud.
Not something from which to hide.
Pot shots – as in hunting are those “taken casually, hastily, or without careful aim,” so in writing – are “criticisms made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack.”
Perhaps Aristotle was wrong when he wrote, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
There is a second way: anonymity.