Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pseudonymously Yours


I've already mentioned that I'm blogging anonymously because 1) I'm an aspiring academic and even at this early, early stage, I don't want my future professors or prospective employers (in theory, I could go on the market as early as summer 2007, but it'll likely be more like 2008 or um, 2011) to Google me and find out something weird; and 2) I don't want my family exposed. I like telling stories about them because they are so weird and wonderful, but it's like Thomas Wolfe wrote--You Can't Go Home Again (especially if you write about the people you live with).

So it was with trepidation that I joined the wide world of Blogistan (Even though I hate "blog," I love "Blogistan," it makes it sound like a former Soviet republic, and the fact that Technorati, which watches over us all, sounds like a sub-group of the Kremlin). I had blogged previously on this smaller community that didn't syndicate and provide Atom and RSS feeds, under yet a different name. Suffice it to say, I'm a woman of many personas. The previous blog was really a daily diary for friends, and only at the end did it become more ambitious--better writing, less narcissism, and more "public intellectual" kind of writing. I'm not saying I am one, but it helps to remind oneself that one's writing ought to have more purpose than "This is what I did today" or "You HAVE to hear this new band I discovered." But now that I've joined Blogistan, I love it. I've found Ancrene Wiseass, a medievalist after my own heart (Romanesque art loving , psalter reading Latin-speakers of the world unite!). For the first time, I've participated in comment threads on non-law blogs, and commented more than once--a virtual conversation! Usually I'll post my take on some case or point of law on a specialized legal blog (what do YOU think about ERISA preemption?), but I've been wary of the comment threads on general interest political popular blogs. Have you read them? There are freak-shows out there! Caustic, spastic multi-posters who really are way too opinionated. I have to say, I've been quite pleased by the civil tone on most of the humanities blogs I've cruised in my late night bar breaks. It's been fun.

So that's good news for Belle. What a nice reception I've received from everyone. Scott Eric Kaufman, over at Acephalous writes in welcome: "BL, welcome to the wide world of comboing. Alone, we are invincible; together, the whole world will ignore us. Or maybe it's the other way around. " How lovely. in return, I've contributed to the serious debate on "what's lamer" on his blog, and am a serious contender in the "Lame-Off" Contest (winner gets to wear a Bedazzlered crown with a big "L" and gets to sing a duet with Scott). In short, this new pseudonym is working for me. I can write freely about everything from the law to my weird family and not feel like it'll come back to haunt me. I can admit how lame I am without reprisal. Life is good for Blogospheric Belle.

For the other alter-ego, She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named, life is okay. Like everyday Belle, she is still struggling to study for the bar, while keeping up with some household duties: taking my arthritic mother for walks around the block, taking care of nephews and nieces (although I'm playing the bar card more and more and whittling it down to only giving baths and changing diapers, no sitting with them to watch The Lion King: 1 1/2). I've also cautiously began participating in the online community of legal academics--sending article links and suggestions to various speciality law blogs, leaving comments, writing emails. It's the closest thing to networking if you haven't been invited to conferences yet, and if you're stuck in the suburbs at your parent's house. As in, hopefully these people may sort of remember me if I keep this up until the next AALS conference. So it was kind of thrilling for the non-Belle part of me to get a "hat tip" today on one of my favorite law blogs. It's kind of exciting to have a couple of professors out there across the country who in a few months I can email asking for advice on which program to go to. Each professor has taken a different path (though man, most of them come from Harvard or Yale), and there's even an "Ask Mom" section on Black Law Prof for academics and aspiring academics. Sometimes, the web really does link us all. (cue John Williams theme music).

It's nice to know that once in a while, in the twain shall fictional self and real self meet. They might not acknowledge each other, but they cross paths. Only in Blogistan can Belle and She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named exist comfortably (well, they are the same person), write freely, and fear nothing.

Like Scott said: alone we are invincible, together the world will ignore us--or is it vice versa?

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