Psst: The moon is made of baklava

I’ve been following the continued brouhaha about pseudonymity–pretty consistently confused with anonymity, which is a really sloppy thing to do–and the curious idea that a publication is automatically endorsing each and every piece of writing that appears on its pages or website.

Recently, the various threads–including the truly silly sets of comments that seem to follow one pseudonymous writer’s posts–have included various assertions as to the identity of that particular PW (pseudonymous writer). I have no particular skin in this game (if I knew who they/it/she/he was/were, I wouldn’t say), but I was astonished to see a post elsewhere that seemed to take one such assertion at face value.

This astonished me because this particular assertion was, on its face, highly improbable. The assertion combined a person with a singularly narrow view of library issues (focusing almost entirely on two adjacent city libraries and their manifest, according to his worldview, failings) and a writing style so overheated and persistent that it’s been the stuff of fun on the internet for more than a decade… and a group or person with a wildly different writing style, considerably more knowledge of the range of issues in librarianship, and a whole range of topics. Is it absolutely impossible that the two are one and the same? No–but it’s wildly improbable. (The silly suggestion that Michael Gorman is actually PW is, while also wildly improbable, a whole heck of a lot more believable in terms of stylistic flexibility, knowledge of the field and general ability to snark, but I truly can’t believe that Gorman would do this.)

The suggestion that Donny One-Note is also PW was offered as a joke in a comment stream when PW happened to mention one of One-Note’s target libraries. The post I read on a deadly serious blog seemed to take the joke as fact.

If I suggest that the moon is made of baklava (spelling uncertain), would you go and report that as fact on your blog? As a professional librarian (or someone in the library field), wouldn’t you feel the need to apply a little professional skepticism or inquiry to the plausibility of that suggestion?

[None of this has anything to do with the question of whether PW has been phoning it in lately… and to some extent I think she/it/he/they has/have. Irrelevant to this discussion.]


OK: Brief admission. I’m still on the road, where I normally have no computer at all, but staying in (and about to check out of) a hotel with netPCs in each room. So, what the heck, it’s a silly post. Not quite as silly as the apparently-serious post I’m blind-commenting on, but silly. So it goes.

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