Monday, May 08, 2006

Les Noms de Plume

I've been thinking lately about the fact that the blog world's anonymity allows you have the perverse pleasure of running multiple blogs under different names, where a person can have radically different personalities. Perhaps these can be multiple facets of the same person, perhaps they are completely fake personalities.

The same person can post as a radical liberal on one blog and a reactionary conservative on another at the same time. One can pretend to be a pious Chassid or a depraved libertine. One could even stage cross blog petty fights and arguments between these writers when they are ultimately written by the same person.

None of this is new, although I don't think anyone has taken it as far as I imagined above. But in the spirit of uncanny coincidences of thinking and reading in my life, here is a quote from an online biography of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

Singer published his work under various pen names. Foverts featured his short stories under the name Yitskhok Bashevis, while his popular journalism appeared under the name Y. Varshavski, his political commentary under D. Segal, and his gossip and advice columns under G. Kuper.


Blogger Tobie said...

I heard once of a book that somebody co-authored with himself, under different names, and, he argued, different writing styles.

May 08, 2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

I have had my suspicions (though never confirmed) about different blogs being authored by the same people. I suppose people could also use to attempt to boost their popularity by giving themselves lots of comments under different names.

May 08, 2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Tobie, do you recall the title?

Shoshana, care to share your suspicions? I don't think it is slanderous, is it?

May 08, 2006 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> although I don't think anyone has taken it as far as I imagined above.

Hey, I did! I used to have two identities, the Koton Hador and the Godol Hador. The Koton was irreverent and zany, and the Godol was well, slightly less irreverent and zany. Also some people think I'm DovBear and Gil Student, but they don't.

May 08, 2006 10:06 AM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

I think the blogging motivation for doing that may be somewhat different from regular writers writing under other names. I think pretending to be completely different people online can sometimes be construed as a game, but I would say that type behavior is in many cases, quite unhealthy. One thing is to be anonymous, and hide parts of your life from strangers, which is understandable, but it's completely different to put effort into creating multiple alternate personalities. Then again, maybe some of these people DO have multiple personalities in real life...

May 08, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


Did your readers know that KH and GH were the same person during the time you were posting as both?

May 08, 2006 10:56 AM  
Blogger dbs said...

Of course, Singer was just trying to make a living. (Not an easy task for a writer.) For all we know, he may have written cookbooks under yet another pen name.

I find it hard enough to have time to blog under one identity.

May 08, 2006 6:08 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

A LA Times blogger Michael Hiltzik got himself suspended for doing exactly that but as a commenter. He would post comments praising himself but under an assumed identity.

May 08, 2006 7:36 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Of course, Singer was just trying to make a living.

I am not following you. Do you think he would have made less money if he'd done it all under the same name?

This reminds me of the scandal when it turned out that a lot of writers were giving themselves 5 star reviews anonymously (that is until amazon accidentally revealed their real identities)

May 08, 2006 10:09 PM  

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