Anonymity

I recall MLQ3 saying in iBlog2 that bloggers are, in a sense, leaders – they are willing to risk their reputation by putting forward their opinions and beliefs for the whole world to dissect (or in similar words). On the other side of the spectrum is the anonymous blogger – he who prefers the relative anonymity and freedom offered by the web. Of course, there are various reasons, some of which may be legitimate, for a blogger’s decision to remain anonymous. One reason, unfortunately, is cowardice.

Here’s an interesting post from Jed (posted on 8May2006):

“Around this time last year, a white paper criticizing former Chief Justice Davide’s Memorandum Order making the Supreme Court Program Management Office permanent was making the rounds of the Court. The paper raised several issues regarding the Chief’s Memorandum Order, and called on Court employees to wear red in protest.

I criticized the white paper, not so much on its merits (not that it had many), but the manner in which it advanced its positions. As I said in my blog, I don’t believe in “supporting causes being espoused by nameless, faceless people” because I’ve always held that the willingness to express one’s opinions must be accompanied by the courage to stand by them.

I’ve always maintained that anonymity is a blanket under which cowards hide, a convenient means to evade the responsibility of having to answer for their beliefs. You say or do something, you take responsibility for it. You write something, you sign your name and say, “hell, yeah, I wrote it.” That’s why when I was asked permission to have my blog printed and distributed, I had no qualms about saying yes. Did I offend the writers of the white paper? Probably. Did I care? No. I said the white paper’s author was gutless, and one year later I still feel the same way.

Gutlessness, it appears, is catching. An anonymous officemate (or officemates) sent me and my fellow SC Chief Judicial Staff Officer, Atty. JM Erni, a bottle of cough syrup, with a short note. It seems someone was offended by our -ahem- coughing. According to our generous cough syrup donor, JM and I are insensitive, ill-mannered virus-spreaders who give no thought to the health and welfare of our officemates.

When did these supposed incidents occur? What exactly did we do? Who was at the receiving end of our spittle? Whose auditory senses were offended by my constant throat-clearing? So many questions, no answers forthcoming– ah, the pitfalls of anonymity.

Anyway, for the benefit of the (anonymous) offended party (or parties), some clarifications are in order. You need not worry about catching something. You see, JM and I are both asthmatics and are allergic to many, many things. (I suspect we’re allergic to idiots and cowards, hence our runny noses, coughing, and wheezing.) She carries a mini-drugstore in her bag. I have a stockpile of Claritin in my drawer. These are the only reasons we get through a day of working amongst (anonymous) morons and (anonymous) wimps without going through anaphylactic shock.

If– as I suspect– you are offended by things other than our coughing, you should feel free to fire off another anonymous note. I suspect there are other things about us you find distasteful. Maybe it’s the smell of UP Diliman, something we can’t get off our clothes no matter how hard we try. Maybe it’s our youth, which we can’t hide no matter how many lines public service adds to our faces. Maybe it’s the unhidden sound of disdain in our voices, the contempt we have for those who are unwilling or unable to give Filipino taxpayers their money’s worth.

It could be anything, but we won’t know for sure until someone has the courage to say what he or she REALLY WANTS TO SAY, and grows enough backbone be held accountable for what is said.

Till then, don’t blame us if we keep on coughing. As I said, we’re allergic to cowards.”

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