Radio Sunday

I’ll be back on with Jersey Johnny today at 12:45 EST.  You can listen live on 1070 The Fan or stream it here.

Here’s the podcast of the interview. You can also listen to it in the embedded player on the lower right side of the main page

I actually have several podcasts lined up for the next few weeks.  I’ve been reviewing a number of football books, and hope to have some good discussions with the authors.

While you are surfing today, check out this argument for anonymity (or at least pseudonymity on the web). 18to88 requires consistent user names (pseudonymity), but not true anonymity. 

First, there is the question of whether you need to know who a speaker is in order to evaluate truth. I don’t think you do. Maybe once in a while. Wikipedia is a monument to this because although you can find out who wrote what in there if you dig really hard, most of the truth that is in there is best verifiable by going and testing to cited references, not by going to who wrote it and by testing their character. If who said it mattered, then they might as well throw out the content after about 100 years since all of the people who’ve contributed will be dead and there will be no one to validate the content.

If you’ll recall, this was once a big issue around here, as my brother and I wrote under screen names.  The argument was that it was the concealment of our identity that kept us from being credentialed and recognized by the Colts.  That has since been proven to be laughably wrong.  Since going public, the site has gained a large measure of ‘legitimacy’ (interviews with players, I’m now a member of the Pro Football Writers of America), but to date, the Colts still refuse us access on the grounds that we only exist as an internet presence.  FYI, while I think that’s a mistake on their part, I hold no ill will. I understand their reasoning even if I think it’s painfully short sighted.

I bring it up because this article made me nostalgic for the good old days.  There’s a trade off for unveiling our identities as writers. On one hand, it has afforded some opportunities, but on the other there was an edge to the humor on the blog that I personally lost.  I have no problem reconciling what I say and do with my beliefs, but when people know my day job, they often force me to explain every word and turn of phrase, measuring me by some invisible standard which I don’t share.  I find defending myself to be exhausting and not worth the time, so 18to88.com is a more restrained place because I use my real name.

But, is the site (and by extension the readers) worse off for it?  I don’t know.  Losing my pseudonym has made this a different place. I hope it wasn’t a ‘jump the shark’ moment for 18to88.com.  Maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse.  Does using real names make things more polite?  Possibly.  Politeness is not a value of mine, however.  I prefer frankness, creativity and honesty.  Comments should never be inhuman or cruel regardless of using real names, but I prefer the unfiltered flow of true ideas to the bleached niceness of modern society.  

I respond to every troll with logic and facts. I’ve found the best cure for the insanity of the internet is not to drag people kicking and screaming into the light, but to expose stupidity through research and reason.  It’s hard work, but sometimes it creates wonderful debates.  If nothing else, it’s amusing to me to watch idiots get their heads handed to them.

There is a place in my heart for those who want to express their opinions frankly and without filter, not so they can be abusive, but so they can have a true exchange of ideas unburdened by the sort of mutual censorship our society often engages in.  That’s the kind of relationship I have with my friends.  I participate in a close community of people with whom I can say anything honest, however I feel it.  That’s the kind of relationship (on a different scale of course) that I’ve tried to foster here.  I want readers to say what they really think and be unafraid of the consequences.  I expect basic humanity out of all of you (this isn’t a Patriots site, after all), but that shouldn’t conflict with free expression.

Sometimes I have to hold my tongue, but I hope none of you ever do.

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