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ERIC Number: EJ792081
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-4
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Dangers of Anonymity
Plagens, Peter
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n30 pC2 Apr 2008
Back in the 1970s, when the author was an art professor at California State University at Northridge, he had a colleague who absolutely would not say anything about anybody that he would not say to that person's face. Marvin Harden, the African-American artist, originally came to Los Angeles in the late 1950s from segregated Austin, Texas, to play wide receiver at the University of California at Los Angeles; understandably, he was a tough, no-nonsense guy. His to-your-face policy seemed awfully rigid to the author--no water-cooler gossip from him--and it must have been awfully difficult to maintain, since Harden liked to speak truth to power. The author certainly admired his stance, and still does. Harden's policy has helped him form his diluted version of it: As an art critic, he tries mightily not to spout one opinion of an artist's work in print and quite another in conversation. He also puts his own name on whatever he writes for publication, but he does not understand why so many academics, even when writing fluffy little "casuals," think they have to use pseudonym. The practice is particularly common in "The Chronicle's" Careers section, with articles that are neither scandalous personal confessions nor heroic acts of whistle-blowing. In this article, the author discusses why it is a mistake for academics to tell their stories using a pseudonym.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A