We are often asked why we don’t use our own name. It has been suggested we “come out”. We have thought about it obviously and not just when we started this blog, but regularly.
Here is our thinking at the moment.
What’s in a name? If we gave our name would that really tell you much? In a big city like Toronto it probably wouldn’t because there would be, more than likely, hundreds of identical names in the phone book. In a small town like Wolfville, yes it might tell you something. But what would that do? You might be able to find out more about us. So?
Does it really matter who we are? Would you agree, or disagree, any more with our opinions if you discovered we were white or coloured, rich or poor, male or female, young or old, disabled or not, in a position of power or working at cash, a doctor, a lawyer, or an unemployed recent graduate? Would the facts of our case or our arguments be any less , or more credible by knowing any of these details? Being anonymous removes the biases which might come from those details being known.
If named and known would we be more careful in what we say? Would we self censor for fear of offending or upsetting a neighbour, or a councillor or the mayor or the assessment office, the post office or the banker in town who might take things personally or the wrong way and who might even get back at us in some way? In a small town this is not unheard of. Most people do not like criticism. Would we lose friendships or connections or respect by coming out? These are questions we have asked ourselves and we have come down on the side of anonymity.
This blog is not about us. The above cuts both ways. Unnamed we are not personally spat on but we get no personal praise either. No one come up to us on the street and says “great post, ________”. They can only do that through their comments here. And that suits us fine. We hoped this blog would be a forum for towns folk who perhaps don’t like to speak up at meetings to air their opinions. A place to vent and a place for those who do go to meetings or sit at the council table to get a reading of resident opinion.
The down side. Yes, there is a down side. We can’t be open about questioning. We have to be careful about which meetings we attend and report on. We can’t phone up the CAO like a reporter and ask for facts to put in our next post. We have to rely on our sources – sometimes the press, what we hear at gatherings, at work, at coffee breaks, at the pub, on “the street”. We can’t attend meetings as ww, or organise things as ww. That’s a handicap and if we do in the end reveal our identity it will likely for this reason.