Names changed to protect the innocent… And the guilty.

I’ve never blogged under a pseudonym. The closest I’ve come has been to help set up a blog for another blogger, blogging under a pseudonym.

It’s been a bit topical of late, what with Google being forced to out a blogger for defamation. Can’t say that I disapprove entirely.

On the one hand, I’ve been on the “protect the blogger” side of the argument, wherein the blogger hasn’t to my mind, used their anonymity to make false allegations about others without come-back. On the other hand, bloggers using anonymity to slag off at others, I think is cowardly and I’ve called people on it (e.g. colourful trolls like “LaVallette” and “Bourbon Boy”).

I’ve been in a bit of a bind about my own blogging practices being associated with my identity. Especially on the odd occasion when I write autobiographically.

I write under my own name and I’ve disclosed before, that I’ve…

  • Had two attempts on my life, hospitalising one of the perpetrators in the process (drug related).
  • Been 1 degree of separation from a murderer, his victim and their antics (drug related).
  • Been the recipient of oral sex in a church and not from the clergy (fun related).
  • A bunch of other stuff that I won’t bore you with.

It’s pretty candid stuff, although I’ve had to weigh it against the possibility that by knowing of my involvement (which I don’t so much mind about), possessed of certain contextual details, others may be able to find out more. Possibly dredging up things for other people who have either reformed and moved on, or who were entirely innocent to begin with but otherwise vulnerable.

With this in mind, consider that I haven’t as yet told you squat. I know a bunch of things that at the time, probably would have been of interest to the AFP. Quite some time ago that is.

No, I don’t have a criminal record. No, I wouldn’t get one if the police knew what I knew, nor would I if the activities of interest had no statute of limitations. I’m still one of the good guys, okay? And I’m not a beneficiary of course – just close enough to the action.

A number of the people of interest at the time, in as far as I know, have either reformed and moved on, or died. As for those that I don’t know about, aside from the initial bad behaviour, I’m going with the presumption of them being innocent. If they are still in the game, I don’t know anything about it. If they aren’t, I still don’t want to know – it’d mean knowing the circumstances under which they left and those may not be legal, nor particularly nice.

I don’t want to inadvertently involve myself in the solving of a potentially nasty crime, which (pun intended) was otherwise dead and buried. If I did know something like that had happened, I wouldn’t be writing about it or even this post – I’d be doing what any responsible citizen would do and contact the police myself.

On the other hand, some of my previous acquaintances that were guilty, may have already been dealt justice and wouldn’t appreciate the salt in the wound.

And that’s part of the risk when using your name. You don’t have all the facts and presenting them along with your name potentially allows another to connect your facts to theirs. Indeed, it may not even be the police, or the garden variety voyeur that you are inadvertently helping. What if I put someone in danger?

At any rate, to my estimation I know the secrets behind precisely zero unsolved murders. Sorry, I hope I didn’t excite you too much.

It’s becoming increasingly the case that I think I’d like to get some (or all) of this stuff off my chest. You have no idea what some of this shit is like – which perhaps provides justification for its publication. Alternatively, perhaps you do know and like me, you don’t find it easy to talk about – which perhaps also provides justification for its publication.

I’ve never appreciated the biographical very until recently, thinking it too self-obsessed (hah hah! look at this post!) and pointless – best to get on to what they did in life rather than them. I think perhaps I was wrong. It’s about connecting – between people of similar experience who don’t get much time to talk, and between people who just don’t get to talk.

Perhaps someone in the middle class would take their privilege just a little less for granted, stop looking at it like some kind of entitlement, if they saw just how nasty things could be for people no less deserving than them. A cynical, perhaps a tad sadistic side of myself, thinks that if my innocence was taken away as a child, it’s not entirely unfair that I rob a few grown adults of theirs.

How much weed have you seen in your life? Ever broken a bone in someone else’s body and for an instant, not been able to tell if the crack happened in your body or in theirs? How much of that meat you eat, have you had to kill for yourself? Ever had someone lay into you with a cricket bat? How many times have you had to protect a family member from violence? Times – just once in a dark alley you’ll never visit again doesn’t count.

How old were you when you killed your first vertebrate? Have you ever been tortured just to see if you would or wouldn’t crack? To see if you could be trusted? To see if you hadn’t already betrayed a secret?

This isn’t about self-pity and repressed emotions opening up to a 1990s, drum-beating-in-the-woods, new-age feelgood experience. Even if only very privately, I was confrontational about these things at the time – I didn’t exactly bottle them up.

This is about deliberate, if not very practical secrecy, possibly opening up to a rationale for discussion with safety afforded by the passage of time. Safety for yours truly, other innocents, and some of the (then) guilty.

Like a lot of Australians, I’m at odds with most of the rest of Australia. Or out-of-synch at any rate. I don’t know you the way I could and you sure as hell (doesn’t exist), don’t know me.

The not-so-secret, but not-that-great a joy I’d get out watching your blood curdle isn’t my imperative. The prospect of teasing you that I’ll eat your family, and knowing that you aren’t sure that I wouldn’t, isn’t that enticing (Dexter is Delicious – sorry). The idea of knowing that neither you nor I have even seen anything close to the worst horrors on Earth, and that laughably, some of you are still afraid, is an aside. A trivial peccadillo.

People have had it worse than me, than us. Much, much worse.

It wasn’t so long ago that the West said “Never Again”, in response to a massive failure of understanding and of will towards people who had seen the hardest times. Yet here we are, sixty odd years later and we’ve just seen a decade of to paraphrase Bill Maher, “AGAIN!” – Don’t let the refugees in! It may possibly, just possibly, threaten the privilege I enjoy to the extent that I’m going to claim it as an entitlement! How dare my entitlements be threatened! Waaaa!

Oh, the angst! Boo-fucking-hoo! Xenophobic Australia, the obscenity of your lack of empathy and sense of proportion is almost matched by that of your weakness and cowardice. And don’t get started on how great your culture is – you’re so low an “Untermensch” couldn’t use your arse as a slipper.

Frightened of refugees and you talk about greatness? Conceit!

I use invective to describe what I think of this type of frailty, because frankly I don’t have the words to curse the associated inhumanity as much as I’d like.  Take it that I’d say much worse of it. I’d like my barbs to be more articulate if only to be reserved for this one purpose.

Like most of you, I’m no refugee. I’ve never seen a war zone. But I don’t take my relative safety for granted and I’ve got less to be thankful for than a lot of you. What are you complaining about?

Like you, I can’t possibly relay the horrors of a war zone the way a refugee can. Even a well versed foreign correspondent can’t do that. What would I have to be thinking?

But is it too ambitious to think that some horror stories from Australia’s own working-class backyard couldn’t act as a kind of a thin-edge-of-the-wedge – to cut into the dense sense of entitlement of at least someone’s privilege-addled mind? To reach someone not too far gone down the road from humanity, toward delusions of self-sustaining importance?

And would that make it worth it?

But then I’ve gone and blogged in my own name now haven’t I? And for just over four years now at that. Could I truly remain pseudonymous? I suspect that writing anonymously at any great length at another blog would leave my fingerprints all over it.

Can you see my dilemma?

I want to let loose. I want to challenge comforting and dangerous (dare I say it?) bourgeoisie (there, I said it) notions, not like some beret-wearing, class-tourist, undergrad snot, but as someone who’s seen a bit of sex and violence. And drugs and a few corpses (please note that I separated the sex from the corpses precisely because it didn’t happen). Someone who couldn’t call their Dad to stop it all (although upon reflection, pending justification*, I possibly could have called my Dad to have your kneecaps smashed).

On the other hand, I’ve got vulnerable people I want to and should protect. Scruitiny isn’t welcome or needed. Seriously. Can you safe people empathise with that?

So unless I get a nom-de-plume, a book deal and a good editor that can compensate for my fingerprints, I’m screwed. I’d better shut-up.

Naturally, you can see how I don’t see the issue of Internet anonymity in terms of black and white. I think I can safely say that under my own name.

~ Bruce

* I’m really just a big softy and so was my Dad.

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3 thoughts on “Names changed to protect the innocent… And the guilty.

  1. Difficult conundrum. (Awful middle-class weasel-word. Just like ‘challenge.’)
    I can certainly understand your increasing desire (need?) to lay the cards face-up on the table, and there is certainly honour, power and worth in exposing the “horror stories from Australia’s own working-class backyard” to those misguided enough to see their own good fortune as entitlement.
    Stay safe though mate, eh?

  2. I can certainly understand your increasing desire (need?) to lay the cards face-up on the table…

    Not sure if it’s a need. I don’t have the same lack of closure that some people have, although that’s not to say that it’s all dead an buried.

    It’s almost just the fact of the secrecy that makes it so irritating. I’m a private person but even amongst a number of my closest friends, I don’t disclose some of this stuff. Some don’t need to know. Others don’t get it and some others still, take and run with it as if suddenly they are experts on the topic just because their Dad hit them once or something.

    Still, I guess there are jobs out there that would stop people from getting much of their chest, publically. Much more restriction than I’m subject to.

    Stay safe though mate, eh?

    Things have been relatively safe through the last decade. Most bogan ultra-violence, crime and assorted misadventure was from the 1990s. 😛

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