How ironic that in this insanely liberated, some would claim "exceptional" land of the free, a land whose press kit penned by Mr. Jefferson screams out "freedom of speech!!!", so many practicing Americans are so afraid to attach their names to what they have to say.
There was a time, when my Grandma wrote letters to New York papers, when you had to give your name and telephone number, had to be vetted. When those who had something to say were proud to be identified with what they had to say. When the discourse, as a result, was more civil and less hateful. God bless the internet? Perhaps nothing has influenced my life so much as how my grandmother ended one of her published letters, a copy of which she proudly sent to us in California: "Live and let live," she wrote before signing her name. At the age of around ten, I was mighty impressed with her open and tolerant mind. Impressed that the lady who wrote those words was my grandmother.
Whenever I see Anonymous on any blog, not just one of the circus blogs, I see a sad nameless coward. Perhaps I should be kind and consider the voice that of a nameless victim of free-speech backlash, violent in words or assault. But when I see another Little A spewing forth anger or hate, sarcasm or stupidity, I see just that, a great big Little A.
Oh, of course, I could take into account, given the incestuous little circus world in which this blog operates, that there are the professionals out there hiding behind my tent rather than taking to their own platforms, possibly trying to get even with a show or manager who fired them or refused to hire them. I can almost sometimes feel sparks of animosity flying back and forth between ring rivals. I am not totally naive.
Or they-you, yes you, might be shills flaking for one circus, or dissing another, feebly advancing your hidden agendas. I have inside information from past experience to know that I am not imaging things. Sometimes the slant in the comments is so blatant as to make me laugh.
And now, Anonymous is lining up, calling himself one day, P.T. Barnum, another day Joe Blow, and the next, well I won't name that one. Still unwilling to attach his/her name to his words. Telling me that all anybody has to do is fake a name. Well maybe, but maybe not. Too bad, because sometimes he/she has excellent points to make. But I don't care. I'm going to stand behind those who do attach their names. P.T., back to your grave, please! See if you can send up here, say Al Ringling or William Coup, Irving J. Polack or John Strong. Any of them know far more about circus than you ever did.
Somebody a while back asked me in a terse edgy comment, "Who the hell do you think you are?" Kindly, I did not turn the question on him.
Whoever the hell I am, you have my name. You have my bio. Whatever I am, I am not Anonymous.
Al Ringling, are you there yet ... Al?