Why We Use Pen Names → Washingtons Blog
Why We Use Pen Names - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We Use Pen Names

Several people have asked me why I write under a pen name.

In fact, some of the leading writers have used pen names.

As one of the best financial bloggers, Tyler of Zero Hedge, points out (edited slightly for readability):

Though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks), anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the United States. Used by the likes of Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay (aka publius) to write the Federalist Papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume.

Particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the United States, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech.

Like the Economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker - as it should be. We believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn't.
Good points, Tyler . . . whoever you are.


  1. And both of you are correct.

    Know how hard it is for me to get on a plane these days? Is that some strange coincidence or could it be because all of the pairs of eyes I see crawling all over my blog day in and day out and the fact that I make no distinction between what I do on Jr Deputy Accountant and who I am "in real life"? It's not hard to find me, my name is all over the site, and many know who I work for.

    I commend both of you. No one said this was going to be easy, and I think we all have our own reasoning for doing what we do in the manner that we do it.



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