Jan 12, 2016

Thoughts About Remaining Anonymous

I know there are people who feel strongly opposed to anonymous letters to the editor.  Someone recently wrote a letter to Mishpacha magazine complaining about anonymous letters containing personal opinions and criticism (as opposed to understanding unsigned letters about personal matters) letters and putting forth these reasons:

1) It is unfair to the target of the criticism
2) It is difficult to take anonymous views seriously
3) They seem to avoid charges of hypocrisy as though the authors express one view to their community and another, anonymous view to the public
4) Anonymous rebukes and criticism lack authority and sincerity and are of little value.

Are you convinced? I am not. 

1) Why is it unfair? Is the criticism valid or not? Why does a name attached to it affect its validity?
2) Why is it difficult? You are welcome to skip those letters but again, if the content has validity what difference does it make?
3) And let's say the author has a view for the community and a public view, how does that affect you the reader?
4) If you think those letters are worthless, don't read them! As for me, I think, “kabel es haemes mimi sheomro” (Rambam, intro to Shmone Perakim) - accept the truth from the one who says it.

In short, I do not see the logical imperative in the declaration: unsigned letters have little value.  And anyone can make up a name so the letter looks signed. This complainer would reject all letters signed by people with common names: Schwartz, Cohen, Goldberg, even if those are truly their names!

As for me, my letters to the editor are usually, but not always signed.  This blog is not signed!

1 comment:

  1. R' Nissan Mindel, author of Talks and Tales, My Prayer, and numerous other works, wrote a 6 volume history of the Jewish people called "Our People." His name does not appear on it. His name is hardly mentioned on anything. His daughter says that to her father, the message, and not the messenger, was of utmost importance.