Secret identities and blogging

T-Shirt found here
In my youth I collected and read comic books.  Part of my interest was rooted in dichotomy between the private life of the hero and the public life of his/her crime fighting (and usually masked) alter ego.

The freedom to do what you say and do what you want without it potentially affecting your private life must be someone liberating.  Because of my own self-imposed system of checks and balances I decided to post under my own name, instead of using a pseudonym.  For the most part this works for me and keeps me fairly true to myself and honest.  It does, however, mean that some of my thoughts (or rants) about things get pushed aside for more “lofty” writing (insert smile here).

In the past few weeks I was tempted to actually start another blog, under a fake name.  The idea would be that it would give me a platform (without anyone probably ever reading it) to get things off my chest and attempt to offer solutions to the many problems facing Jewish society today.  I know that I don’t have all or even a few of the answers, but I strongly loathe blogs where someone rants and raves about an issue, but even with dozens of comments, a resolution or real-world suggestion is never reached.

Hot Topic issues would be brought up like:  The trend of public blogging about the conversion process in America (within all camps of Judaism), what’s going on in RBS, self-perpetuating issues within the chinuch system, and the social pitfalls of making other feel you are “frummer than thou”.

I went so far as to make a real blog.  I even came up with an awesome blogging alias and a name for the blog.  But, there were two major problems. 
  1. The pseudonym was both revealing and also would have labeled me.
  2. I didn’t feel like having two separate identities, because maintaining this blog is hard enough.

Don’t get me wrong, please.  If you blog and don’t use your real name, it doesn’t bother me.  Some people have very sound reasons for doing this.  However, the secret identity thing just didn’t sit to well with me.  You see, this is personal blog.  I’m not Spider-Man, Superman, or even a pubic member of the Fantastic Four.  There might be some so-called mussar and a dvar Torah thrown in once in a while, but at the end of the day, it’s a personal blog and nothing more.  That being written, there are things in my life that I don’t write about and really don’t feel like sharing even if it’s in the form of a pseudonym, which is why I decided not to get past an “about me” for that other blog.   If you find the blog out there and the initial entry then great.

In the meantime, here is an edited and not so revealing version of the “about me”:

This isn’t isn’t my actual name, it’s fake.  I wasn’t born into an observant family and read a lot of the Raymond Carver, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Ayn Rand, Jack Kerouac, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in high school.  I became frum in high school before CDs were sold in record stores and then, ten years afterwards, before getting married, I discovered something about myself that gave me food for thought about my own Torah observance and Knesses Yisrael.  So, without adding any more details, let’s just say that life goes on.  Back in public high school my hair was often streaked with peroxide and different lengths and shapes (thanks to Aqua Net).  By eventually I chopped it off so that I could look more clean cut for my interview at Yeshiva University (the things we do for Torah).  Back then, I spent my free time listening to hardcore punk and college radio.  Today, I have very little hair and when I do catch myself listening to Husker Du or Bad Religion on my iTouch my kids roll their eyes and call the music “complete chaos and a ruckus”.  They are somewhat correct, having been raised on Uncle Moishy, Piamenta, and YBC.  In the end, I am zoche to have a wife and children to love me and rock.  My children, fight a genetic dislike for cleaning their rooms and display a strength of self and independence that sets them apart from many of their peers.  There is nothing more hardcore than going against the grain and doing what Hashem wants each of us to do.

By the way, what is written above it a total rephrasing of what’s on the blog, so don’t bother googling any of the phrases or sentences.

10 thoughts on “Secret identities and blogging

  1. Batya

    When I started, I had also planned to hide my identity, but I just couldn’t write what I wouldn’t say under my real name. So is more political and me-ander less so. They are different sides of the same me. Rarely I write something that could go on either blog.

  2. shaya g

    I think you are old enough to post your thoughts and comments and not worry about what people will think of you. I may not be the best example, but I certainly realized that my religious comfort and my own development was actually being hampered by the fact that yeshiva taught me to worry about asking or changing things “because of what others will say”.

    Ask your questions, post your thoughts and let’s have a good clean discussion. as long as the tachlis is for understanding and growth, MAN UP! “Kol Habayshan aino lomaid” The only way to grow is to ask and discuss. anyone who attacks you for your thoughts or questions is the one with the problems, not you.

  3. shaya g

    it’s also the reason I post comments under my own name – i have to take responsibility for what gets said/typed.

  4. Neil Harris

    Rabbi: So very true. What eats me up is that I really did have a killer fake name, but it would open up a whole can of worms that I’m not ready to bring to the surface. Thanks for coming out of retirement.

    LFD: I think it depends on who you are and where you live. Thanks for the comment.


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