Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why are you Anonymous?

Sometime ago, I had written about a typical evening I'd spent in Chicago. An anonymous commenter has asked me, "Did your friend f you to your heart's content?"

So, Anonymous, here goes: I can hazard a few guesses why you asked me that question. Maybe you genuinely want to know. If that is the case, then thank you for taking such interest in that aspect of my life and looking out for my well-being. Or maybe you got jealous or felt badly about your own life. Some rousing anger rumbled in the pit of your stomach and you thought that this post, with its quiet celebration of Diwali, was fake and maybe I deserved to be brought down a notch. But why did you choose to be Anonymous? I do not think that posting anonymously is necessarily cowardice. In the same post, another anonymous commenter has put in a sweet remark. You could be that same person. I'd bet though that you are a different person. But coming back to my earlier query – what did you gain by the anonymity? If you had put in your name – Rahul or Frida or James or Amy – would it make a difference? I don't know you. Maybe I do know you. Maybe we meet somewhere nowadays or have known each other at some point and then had a falling out. You could have picked out a fake name. Do you think that would have helped to protect you? Protect you not from litigation or surveillance but from taking things bitterly and personally, all the things that I write here? I know you will come back to this blog to read my response to your comment and I know that you will read this post. Perhaps you will even reply to this – either anonymously again or using a name, real or fake. But all the while that you read this, you will take this post personally. You will feel the bile rise up your throat and your face will singe with anger. You will lash back. You will take this post to heart and while you choose to be anonymous, you will remain exposed. People around you may wonder at why your expression became so dark or why your fist clenched so suddenly. Your voice will possibly quiver because you will feel oh so let down that this mechanics of being anonymous did not amount to anything. Maybe, being anonymous, you will tender an apology or continue to be glum because your question remained unanswered.  Anonymous, I know that you are not a coward. Or let me correct that. Maybe you are but that's not why you are Anonymous. You chose to be Anonymous because you are ashamed. You were ashamed right at the moment you typed out that line and maybe changed 'fuck' to 'f'. (The discretion is duly noted, by the way). You are Anonymous because maybe you wanted to be in denial for a little while, to hold on to a notion of yourself – that you can't be so bitter or harsh or judgmental or abrasive or just so low. You are not that petty person who can actually hold a person's happiness against her. If you had given yourself a name, any name, you think you'd have been associated with that act indelibly. But Anonymous, you were misguided. You are still associated with that act. That commenter of that the crude and petty remark was you and you know it. You know it despite that attempt you made of sidestepping onus by leaving out your name.

You are Anonymous precisely because you take things personally and to heart and need validation and seek protection from all types of perceived attack. And that is exactly what will happen now. You will cringe at this post, you will get distracted from whatever else you are doing and whoever else you are talking to. You will think up bad names to call me and probably put them down somewhere in the comments section. All this while, the Anonymous handle, will play you for a fool. What good this anonymity? The one that was supposed to shield you from whatever would come your way.

So, Anonymous, I get you. If I'd done what you did, I'd be ashamed of myself too. But maybe I wouldn't have been Anonymous. Because, you see, being Anonymous conceals the name, not really the identity. That's right there in the comment you wrote. The one that you want to be dissociated with but that gives you away…to yourself.

7 comments:

Jagdeep Kaur said...

i haven't been f-ed to my heart's content for quite some time now. and i do not hope to. rather, i think i like it this way. i think it makes me write better. the non-contentedness makes me write better. when i am content, i am satisfied, with myself, and with the world, and i do not have anything to say to anyone anymore. but when i am not...i chirp... :)

Anonymous said...

Hey M,

Very interesting and insightful commentary on the anonymous commenter. I wouldn't have read so much on that comment had it been put on my blog - maybe I am missing something. But it musn't be a negative experience to put yourself out there* - so here is sending you good luck wishes for better comments on your blog.

Also, found it fascinating that comments that hurt elicit so much more of a response than nice sweet ones...

*which anon/untracable comment-ers do not do as much (there is no history to anon comment-ers, for instance, I have been reading your blog for years now, but I have not put myself out there with my blog address expecting a reciprocal response) - but more than they realise, as you note...

mukta raut said...

Heya Jagdeep! Have been trying to call you!

Anonymous - one of the reasons, and one main one at that, why this comment evoked a reaction...it involved a friend. When there are comments against you alone, it's one thing. When it involves other people...it's a different story.

Anonymous said...

Well.... Did he? ..don't just leave us hanging in there ...

Anonymous said...

Hi Mukta,

I support your thoughts. Don't let these so called "Anons" to spoil your happiness.Power to you girl.

Love,
Rashmi

Btw Anons! You will always be Anons. So go F yourself.

mukta raut said...

Thank you, Rashmi.

Anonymous said...

Butt, Butt.. it was not the F*** at all.. I meant 'Fingered;