Sunday, March 11, 2007

Names

Names

I recently decided to change my Blogger display name. I chose the name Morningsider when I was considering writing anonymously about my coop, Morningside Gardens. I later decided not to hide my real name when I was writing about the Episcopal Church, and I began signing my posts “Allen Mellen.” Then, since no one else was using the name Allen on the blogs I frequent, I decided that there is no longer any reason to use a pseudonymous nom de blog.

One good reason for anonymity is protect the privacy of others. For example, one of my relatives has a need to enter a MICA (Mental Illness / Chemical Addiction) facility. I have provided some assistance to this person – both moral support and transportation when I am able. Since this person, like many of my relatives, lives in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, I have been able to provide transportation only when I am in Binghamton to help my mother out – about once every week to ten days. Binghamton is 180 miles from New York and it takes three hours to get there – for both safety and sanity reasons I generally stay overnight so as not to have to drive both ways in one day. When I went up two weeks ago I tacked on an extra six hours – we used my car to take my relative for an interview another 125 further on from Binghamton. Fortunately my relative did the driving to the interview and back, so I was relatively fresh – despite all that time in the car -- and was able to drive home safely alone. If I were anonymous, I could tell you the relationship of that person to me, the gender of that person, and so on. But I’m not anonymous and I do feel a responsibility to protect the privacy of my relative.


Grandmère Mimi recently wrote about the possible effect on her in her community if she is outed as a blogger. Since I decided to blog under my own name, I am spared that worry.

2 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

What me worry?

I realize that I've revealed quite a lot about my son and his difficulties, but in my small town, everyone knows everything anyway.

Certain members of my congregation might be somewhat surprised by what I write, because I don't talk much about my views on the controversies in the church. There is little talk at all in my church about what's going on now, and I don't bring it up.

My rector knows what I think.

MadPriest said...

Good on yer Allen
I did the same a few months after starting my blog against much advice from seasoned bloggers. But I've never looked back.

The main thing is that I can say what I like about anybody without being accused of cowardice. In other words I can stick by my principle that if I have something to say about someone I say it to their face.

I felt a great sense of freedom after coming out of the internet closet and, you know, I've never had any problems that I couldn't handle.

I wish you well.