By Ralph Schwartz
I wanted to correct the record regarding a statement I made in passing about Latte Republic. (After I’m done here, I will go back and correct that post, too.)
I said Shane Roth runs his own blog, called Latte Republic.
My editor, Debbie Townsend, received an email from Elisabeth Britt, who says she is in fact the owner of said blog:
I attempted to email John Stark, but I received a message that I am supposed to contact you, in his absence. In regards to Ralph’s statement that Shane Roth “owns” Latte Republic on the Politics Blog. That is not true. I pay the bills for the domain name, etc. The blog belongs to me. I started the blog and I continue to post articles. Please note that I am not interested in diminishing Shane’s contributions as a co-author. But I do own the blog.
Please let Ralph know. And, let’s not embarrass Shane. It’s Ralph’s mistake, not Shane’s.
Yes, I do feel suitably embarrassed, thank you very much. Please know that this blogger regrets the error.
But this gives me an opportunity to bring up a point about some of the local political blogs. I’ve only read a handful, but it is noteworthy that the posts on two blogs I’ve been reading recently — Latte Republic and Whatcom Excavator (WE) — are anonymous.
This became an issue several months ago, when blogger Riley Sweeney (who does claim authorship of his posts, by the way) claimed to have “outed” WE mastermind Ellen Baker. I talked to Baker, as I mentioned earlier, and she denied ownership of the blog, saying only that she contributed to it.
As for Latte Republic, maybe I’m missing the list of contributors, but now I’m left wondering whether regular poster “ApexNerd” is Roth, Britt or someone else.
But does it really matter? Do we gain in understanding if we know the name of the person behind the ideas?
All of us in the blogosphere know the perils of anonymity. It encourages a lot of hateful and spiteful commentary underneath blogs. Latte Republic, in a fine piece of sarcasm near the bottom of its blog roll, brings out this very point:
Please feel free to use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited rumors, and your general lack of respect for scientific knowledge or facts. Also, do your best to create straw men and create arguments that we have neither posted nor implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, feel free to forgo all civility in your comments . . . after all, you are anonymous.
However, if anonymous bloggers stick to the rules they wish commenters would follow, then maybe they’re at an advantage over named blogs. Their ideas can stand that much more firmly on their own, without the infusion, for better or worse, of the author’s personality. Something like the Platonic ideal is achieved. The idea in itself is what’s important.
One final note: Admittedly I am the newbie, but John Stark and I are co-authors of the Politics Blog, on equal footing. No need to burden him with complaints that should come to me, as (1) he’ll just pass them directly to me anyway, and (2) there are very few things he would care less about.
To reach me, email ralph.schwartz (at) bellinghamherald.com.