Dear Mr. Moran: I'll grant you freely that Ed Whelan is too fond of bringing Tommy guns to a knife fight, and is not shy about filling his adversaries full of rhetorical lead. But Blevins had a perfect defense: sign his real name to what he wrote. He whined that Whelan didn't ask him the reasons he (Blevins) used a pseudonym when Whelan emailed him to confirm or deny that "Publius" = Blevins. Blevins has since put out some of his reasons for pseudonymity, viz:
1. "Professionally, I’ve heard that pre-tenure blogging (particularly on politics) can cause problems."
2. "And before that, I was a lawyer with real clients."
3. "I also believe that the classroom should be as nonpolitical as possible – and I don’t want conservative students to feel uncomfortable before they take a single class based on my posts."
1. "Privately, I don’t write under my own name for family reasons. I’m from a conservative Southern family – and there are certain family members who I’d prefer not to know about this blog (thanks Ed)."
2. "Also, I have family members who are well known in my home state who have had political jobs with Republicans, and I don’t want my posts to jeopardize anything for them (thanks again)."
The professional reasons can be easily addressed: don't blog, or comment. No more trouble, right? Um, no. Abstaining would force Blevins to pay a price for being professional, and Blevins doesn't want to pay it. He wants to reveal his Superior Wisdom to the world, without having to face any adverse consequences, but being open to any credit that may come his way. How far would, say, Martin Luther King have gotten with that attitude?
As for the personal reasons, they show a remarkable self-esteem. Blevins thinks his prose is terrific enough to destroy his half of relations who owe their jobs to political pull. But at the same time, he's terrified that the other half of his relations will say mean things about him for writing it, pinching him until he cries. Such attitudes are best described by Freud in CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS. I will content myself by saying they impress me very little, save at the funny bone. Blevins's talents are wasted at South Texas. Let him go to Washington and take the high place in the Obama administration that cries out "Publius, come to me, you pseudonymous assassin, you!" I hope he will take this worse than the more commonly offered reflections on ancestry, excretory habits or sexual/chemical excesses.
That said, I think you are dead right that Whelan is motivated principally by revenge. It is true, Whelan has publicly apologized to Blevins (the apology is at the end of the linked post) for being an idiot, while maintaining Blevins's previous writings were cowardly. He has a point. I think Whelan should continue his crusade. Here's his next target: National Review Online frequently publishes stuff by "Jack Dunphy" a cop from Los Angeles who isn't scared to drag the ruffians off to the jug, but can't quite get up the nerve to sign his pieces with his real name. Let Whelan expose Jack, laughing raucously as he fires his Tommy gun. The job done, he will turn to see the rest of the NR staff, standing on the bridge of the NEW JERSEY, all nine 16 inch cannons aimed his way, asking Whelan if he has any last words before the broadside blasts him off NR. Let Whelan do that, and I will salute him for high honesty, and be the first to lay a wreath at his grave...
But let Blevins stop snickering. Go back to Martin Luther King. How did he fight his crusade? Under his own name. More: he put his life at some risk (how would you have liked to been a black man in a Birmingham jail cell in 1963?) Who opposed King? Many who did did so at night, disguised, using the anoymous phone call or letter, not stopping at anonymous words, but backing it up with bullets as Medgar Evers discovered.
Which of these two would Blevins self-consciously identify with? But which of these two has he self-righteously acted as?
Sincerely yours,Comment Posted By Gregory Koster On 7.06.2009 @ 20:26
Dear Mr. Moran: Side note: in the Chicago TRIBUNE article that is your first link, your fellow blogger Don Surber collects yet more royalties on his "Name That Party!" game. It happens this way: the article discusses that Obama knocked out Alice Palmer, who had tried running in a special election for a recently vacated Congressional seat. In the TRIBUNE's words:
"At the same time, the South Side's political map was thrown up for grabs when then-U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds was convicted of sex crimes and a special election was called to fill his congressional seat."
What party does Reynolds belong to? Well, the TRIBUNE saw fit to tell us why Reynolds was vacating the seat, but not what party he belonged to. I'll give you a hint: Reynolds was succeeded by Jesse Jackson Jr.
So even when the local press is exposing a candidate, they take care of the right ones. That, too, is the The Chicago Way.
Sincerely yours,Comment Posted By Gregory Koster On 6.03.2008 @ 18:52
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