Garance Franke-Ruta has a new policy. No links to pseudonymous writers.
Having studied the way communist governments just excise whole bits of their history when they grow embarrassed by them, I'm utterly tickled with the version of American history that Garance has now stuck herself with. Because, as many party hacks have before her, she has just excised some of the most important heroes of American history.
Want to learn about the early history of the American press, the tradition Garance so proudly continues? Well, you're going to have to skip a bit, particularly the most celebrated example of the citizen journalist.
Want to understand what our forefathers were thinking when they drafted the Constitution? You might as well just make it up. Because our forefathers saw fit to write under a pseudonym so they're going to get the Garance treatment now.
Things don't get much better in the realm of foreign affairs. Want to read the cornerstone of the US Cold War policy? Better read the Cliff Notes, because that cornerstone just got excised. How about the history of our current enemy, Osama bin Laden? Are you interested in that? Because you're going to have to forgo one of the experts there, too, because he too first wrote under a pseudonym.
I guess, in one sense Garance's world is a better place. You get rid of some of the best gangsters when you get rid of pseudonyms. If only the NYPD could be so efficient. Though, it's a good thing. Because without folks like the Duke (no, not that Duke, the guy he got his nickname from), who would protect us?You'll lose some of the people fearful white people thought were gangsters, too. I bet J. Edgar Hoover wishes he had known that trick.
But it's not just African-American leaders. We'll lose one of the most famous African-American characters in American literature, Jim, because his creator didn't have the foresight to write under his real name.
Though you know, don't stop there. You've pretty much just condemned the best of American culture. We'll forgo the best in jazz and the best of rap. The hills will no longer be alive with the Sound of Music in Garance's world. Ricky will just have to fall out of love. Both halves of Thelma and Louise, too, gone, so we can be credible again. No matter, because we'll be stuck in Las Vegas after we get rid of the dreadful pseudonyms. No road trips in a green convertible, no travel somewhere over the rainbow either. And you'd better stop dreaming of White Christmases in this pseudonym-free world, because we've gotten rid of that too. Purple Rain ... Maybe this pseudonym-free world is just a smart attempt to get around climate change? We lose our sense of humor, too, almost all of it, when we lose our pseudonyms. We lose the blondes, the glamorous movie stars of old, the perfect 10s.
I'm particularly cross you've excised my favorite camp singer, who used to buy shopping carts full of Stouffers lasagna from me in the 1980s. Though I suspect others will forgive you this sin. They're probably more concerned that you've rid us of some of the real musicians.
Shit, even the journalist who brought us the best coverage of the last two presidential elections, something Garance knows a thing or two about, works under a pseudonym. If we get rid of pseudonyms, I predict, the times, they will stop changin'. Something we can ill afford at this stage of our history.
Because, you see, you don't have America if you don't have pseudonyms. Maybe Garance Franke-Ruta is willing to forgo the richness of America we'd lose without pseudonyms. Maybe Garance is willing to forgo the kind of call for freedom, all kinds of freedom, made under a pseudonym. But I, for one, am not.