Steve Walsh over at Missourinet (if that is his real name) singles Jeff Mazur out as one of the only bloggers at Fired Up Missouri deserving of praise. Not for any particular post he’s written, mind you, but because Jeff signed his own name to his posts!

What is known is that while so many of the contributors to Fired Up! Missouri cowardly hide behind pseudonyms and anonymity to launch their ad hominem attacks against political opponents and reporters (including this reporter) … Mazur has been up front about it … putting his name out there.

How boring. For starters, Walsh (again, if that is his real name) cites The Source in the same piece for a bit about Mazur, “The Source” being a pseudonymous political operative. There’s nothing particularly cowardly or courageous about the decision to sign your name to a post. Writers throughout history have turned to a pseudonym for any variety of reasons – Paracelsus was a controversial German scholar in the early 16th century, but his adoption of a Latin pseudonym was common among scholars of the time, contentious or not. Ben Franklin’s career was largely based on one pseudonym, “Richard Saunders,” although he used others. The Founders argued the merits of federalism via pseudonymous debate, women have posed as men to ensure publication of their work, and Steven King even wrote under a pseudonym to see if he could sell as many books without the famous name (he couldn’t.) The most famous Missourian in history was known for his pseudonym, not his real name (and no, I’m not talking about Harry Truman.) In particular, online culture is replete with pseudonyms. I suggest reviewing this article if you’re unfamiliar with the history and diversity of the use of a pseudonym.

For my own part, I don’t write under a pseudonym because I want to verbally lash out at others without retribution, but rather because I want people to focus on what I have to say rather than who I am. That’s one reason I have a completely banal nickname like “Clark”, although it was also my nickname back when I was a bartender. (I think it had something to do with sometimes wearing glasses and sometimes not; Clark Kent became Clark.) There’s nothing exceptional about that, and as long as people don’t start delving into sockpuppetry, I could care less if they write pseudonymously.