Tuesday, November 15, 2005

If you can't say it under your real name don't say it at all

Not only are most academics in the blogosphere hard leftists that have forsaken such disciplines as history and English for such politically correct fields as "post-colonial studies", but alot of them are cowards. If they truly believe what they write they should be willing to put their name, city of residence and place of work next to it. The pusilanimousness of anonymous and pseudonymous bloggers with tenure has bothered me for some time. If tenure protects free speech why do they need to hide behind the shield of a fake name? The practice is indicative of the dishonesty and hypocrisy that prevades academia. I am quite sure if Beria were alive today he would make a fine professor of post-colonial studies at a US university.

All of the very best blogs in terms of information are written by people who are not university professors and use their real names. I find Jonathan Edelstein's Head Heeb, Randy McDonald's Live Journal, Andy Young's Siberian Light (now on hiatus), Nathan Hamm's Registan, Richard Hindes's Disillusioned Kid and Mark Elf's Jews sans Frontieres to be far more enlightening than anything from the masked professoriat. Of course this is merely part of a larger real world trend. I have already mentioned Dr. Kandiyoti's opinion that the vast majority of knowledge production on Central Asia today is taking place outside of academia. When a prestigious scholar of the region at Europe's best institution for the study of the Orient makes such a statement you know academia has real problems. Chief among them is that they are no longer producing any research results in some very important fields of study.


Disillusioned kid said...

Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you appreciate what I write. I'd interject, however, that I do in fact write under a pseudonym. Not that I make much effort to keep my real name secret.(Given some of the recent stories of people having problems with their jobs for what they've written on their blogs I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't be more careful about that.)

J. Otto Pohl said...

DK: Thanks alot for the comment. I don't consider you somebody trying to hide your identity. Your real name isn't something that is exactly hidden. Nor are you somebody legally protected from job retaliation for *anything* you might write or say.

Tenured professors in the US are legally immune from job retaliation for *anything* they write or say. They have absolutey no legitimate reason to hide. In fact they justify the cartel wages they receive from tenure in the name of protecting Academic Freedom. Hence I have singled them out. People in the private sector or without tenure may indeed have legitimate fears about using their names. Tenured professors on the other hand have only the embarrassment of owning up to their own words.

I have long thought that the UK had a far superior system of higher education to the US. I get confirmation in this belief almost every day. I see almost none of the nonsense that characterizes the US professoriat among British lecturers.

SiberianLight said...

Otto - you might want to check out this Dan Drezner blog post about the difficulties of academic blogging.


You might also want to check out his post about being denied tenure:


SiberianLight said...

By the way - thanks for the compliment!

J. Otto Pohl said...

Andy: You are welcome. I read Dr. Drezner's posts. His problem was he did not have tenure. If he had received tenure before he started blogging then he would have had job security for life,no matter what he wrote. Many US professors make up to $100,000 a year plus full benefits. These are guaranteed for life. The question is why people who are protected by tenure are unwilling to use their own names. I can understand people without tenure not doing so to avoid being denied tenure.

Fool said...

You're losing it buddy. Try to relax a little. You've got too much hostility in you.

Jonathan Dresner said...

I can only think, offhand, of one tenured historian who blogs pseudonymously. You're welcome to cite examples, but until you do, I have to wonder what in the world you're actually talking about?

There are good reasons to blog anonymously, even for faculty with tenure: the desire to keep political issues separate from academic ones is the first that comes to mind, as well.

The vast majority of pseudonymous blogging historians that I'm aware of are untenured (or, rarely, recently tenured), some of them even, like yourself, lack tenure track positions.