Tuesday, July 24

Thinking out(ed) loud....



Sorry this post is late today. It’s gorgeous outside.

It’s okay. I’ve been kinda sorta outed.

It hadda happen sometime, especially since I got a new laptop courtesy of some amazing readers, along with a webcam, and then actually started using them.

One of the reasons Manila Ryce worked so hard on the animated Blue Gal was to protect my quasi-anonymity. I call it “quasi” because almost anyone, and particularly fellow bloggers, who wrote to me to say “I like your blog” were given access to my real name right away.

Yesterday Crooks and Liars was kind enough to post the 35 Percenters Kucinich healthcare video. Readers who knew me also knew that I had submitted a question to the Youtube CNN debate, and they intimated at Crooks that this was the real Blue Gal. Everyone was very complimentary and flattering but at least in that comment thread, there went my anonymity.

I’ve been gradually shedding that anonymity for quite a while now, anyway, but maybe it’s time to do it altogether.

One of the reasons I haven’t is that I’ve harbored hopes of attaining a teaching position in Alabama Public Schools. To do this I would definitely have to hide the blog.

Why would I want a job where I have to hide the blog? I love teaching. That’s why.

But two years later and no teaching job even remotely close to my home (I won’t drive for hours, coach girl’s volleyball, or teach in Hell, thanks much) that dream seems permanently deferred.

I saw a counselor this summer who pointed out to me that when I talk about this here blog, my face completely changes, and I become happy, animated, proud, vibrant, and full of some life force that just makes me come alive with passion and energy. He said that if I could bring that kind of face to an interview I would get hired in a snap.

But what if I have to hide the blog to do it?

I’m sick of hiding the blog. It’s me. What if… What if… I could find an employer who said, OMG she’s Blue Gal? Two circles and a snap! Hire that woman!

Yeah and maybe I’ll win the lottery while monkeys fly outta my butt. Except that a number of people have told me it can happen.

AND HEY…

I’ve lived long enough to know that when you make a decision to commit to something regardless of what the world says you SHOULD do or SHOULD want, the world actually steps aside and lets you fulfill your commitment. Facing your fear and doing it anyway is empowering.

I don't want this decision to be based on vanity. Period.

The big fear I have really has nothing to do with what happens to me. It has to do with what happens to this blog. Some readers have said to me rather directly that the mystery of Blue Gal is part of its appeal. I would hate to mess with the “brand” of Blue Gal to the detriment of the blog’s success. And if going public is dependent on how telegenic I am or how much I am willing to pimp myself at the expense of good writing and sharp edged wit, I’m not interested. I’m terrified, actually, of becoming the liberal Pammy Atlas. Even though children on the street tell me I look like Nigella Lawson and one friend compared me favorably to… Claudia Cardinale? (Um, btw, that friend is blind, I tell you. Blind.)

I'll type it again: I don't want this decision to be based on vanity. Period.

So today I throw this out to my readers. What happens to Blue Gal if the woman in this video shows up here from time to time? What other lessons are there to learn from NOT being anonymous? And particularly as a woman blogger, I know from the experience of other women that safety has to be a concern, too.

Please, even if you’ve never commented here before, do this for me. Let me know what you think either way. Thank you very much.

Love,

Blue Gal

56 comments:

  1. I like just thinking of you as Nigella Lawson.

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  2. As the bumpersticker says, "We're all here because we're not all there! Port Townsend, WA"

    Yours is an interesting dilemma and one that I'm working on as well. While I have no intention of going public I am going to a blogger meetup at a television station where they've promised to take pictures.

    My pursuit of a free martini knows no bounds.


    At one point I let selected people in on who I really am. They in turn took it as a greenlight to rollout certain non-negotiable demands as to the content I rolled out. That was a year and a half ago and I still feel slimed.One took it as permission to lift my ideas without giving me credit.

    YMMV.

    There's much to be said for an air of mystery. It's one of the few chances we get to put alittle romance in our lives without going to a great deal of effort.

    Good luck.

    And BTW - you can always go to your About page and blank everything off.

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  3. Hey BG,

    I love your blog ... the writing and the passion. I will support you in whatever decision you make. I would be a bit concerned about safety. The other side doesn't care about the human Blue Gal just their ideology. And when we take back the White House and add on to the majority in Congress they will be possessed. Just some thoughts from Mr. Ed, Reverend Don, donjr, or plain old (well middle aged) Don!

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  4. I like an air of mystery, but that's just me. I also like that you are my friend, or at least I hope you consider me a friend. I'm not sure that you can't have a bit of both.

    You don't have to splash your picture (read video) on every page of your blog, but if there is something you want to say -- and you think a video is the best way to say it -- why not?

    Your loyal readers will still be your loyal readers, and the quick hit gang doesn't necessarily stay around anyway.

    I say this with the full knowledge that women bloggers have been targets. That there are wacky people out there who are scary. The reality is that everyone who steps out from the crowd becomes a target at some point. Remind me to tell you about the death threats I used to receive when I was a feminist activist in Florida!

    There are ways to protect yourself -- like giving your state, but not the city in which you reside. Giving your first name, but not your last. It's a way of being "out there" without fully being "out."

    It's too bad that the people most opposed to what you and I support are the people most likely to use violence to try and change our minds. And how ironic that so many of those folks identify as part of the "religious right."

    Regardless of what you decide, be confident in the knowledge that a whole lot of people like/value what you say and who you are as a person.


    BAC

    ps: well, except when you send me all that Dennis stuff ... :-)

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  5. Hey Blue Gal,
    I face the same sort of situation, although I'm told it's no big deal. I use my first name but never my last as far as my blog is concerned.
    I'd say do what your comfortable with. Does your employer really need to know you're a blogger?

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  6. hi! me, well, everyone knows who i am and all that.
    sometimes i get nasty crap, it makes me a bit concerned,sometimes nice stuff. actually it's a lot like my day to day life anyway because i express my views when asked no matter where i am.
    i can understand how having people know who you are might tend to make you think twice about setting your views down in print. a sort of self -censoring but being "out" there, does lend a certain weight to your words. you are making yourself a little bit more vulnerable in order to stand up for what you believe is right and just.
    in a perfect world that wouldn't carry any risks but this is a far from perfect world and a time to be very wary of certain people and groups. in a way, it is sort of nixonian to the 10th power.
    so perhaps if every now ansd then you want to do a video or what ever idea suits the moment i think you should do it. the rest of the time "blue gal" would be just fine.

    my 2 cents. : )

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  7. I think all bloggers have the temptation to unintentionally be vain from time to time. We have something to say and by God we want the world to hear it. And nothing feeds our egos more then tracking our daily hits and feeling a sense of accomplishment that a random stranger has been touched by something you've written.

    I think the fact that you're aware of this speaks volumes and ensures that you won't succomb to your greatest fear.

    Regarding teaching, it's totally up to you. As you know, my own mother never drank a beer in public while employed as a teacher and wouldn't dare blog for fear of being found out. That's one way of going about it.

    The other way is to stick to your convictions and keep Blue Gal going if and when you get a decent teaching job. I propose a compromise. When you're hired, run a PG-13 version of Blue Gal for the first year. Then, after you get tenured, switch back to the R rated Blue Gal we have come to know and love. Teachers in Alabama can't strike but once they get tenured, it's damn near impossible to be fired.

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  8. The anonymity is fun, and it makes it easier to say whatever you want, but at the same time it's nice to put a face to the person instead of an avitar. (Not that I'm going to do it. I already get some crazy shit as it is).

    If people only come to your blog because of a cartoon character, I say fuck'em.

    Do what you want.

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  9. I have to agree with everyone else and say that it is your choice as to how you want to handle this. But I also think of a few other thing, as to teaching. First, QD is a teacher and a blogger, sure his stuff may be "G" rated, but still he is out there speaking out against Bush and Co. Two, how many people are going to ask you if you are a blogger or even mention it in an interview? Unless you are critical of the school or administration of the district you work in, they may not even know that you blog. I understand your concern as a female and the shit that happens to female bloggers, but as someone mentioned above possibly if you mention your state and not the town you live in, it may be fine and if you have to go underground for a while, than I would guess that most of us would understand.

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  10. Capn Dyke9:38 PM

    Me Darlin' BlogMate, simply Google 'Blue Gal' an' yer Reality name an' see what comes up an' it will tell ye how much th'world knows about ye already.

    Yer results will be what yer prospective employers will see. Employers just love t'Google possible employees.

    What ye decide after that will be heartily supported by yer Cap'n.

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  11. And the blind friend is wrong how?

    That having been said, I think (this'll sound like a wimpy cop-out, but...) I think you have to go with your gut. If it feels right, go that way. As a teacher, I do fear being outed here. Anyone who knows me at all who came across my blog by accident or whatever would figure out who was responsible in a heartbeat. That's why I do not post about my students, or mention anything about my bosses, or post pictures of my own kids, who live and go to school in the same town where I teach. I have posted about issues in my district, and that only after a LOT of soul searching. Then I tossed all that. Besides, I was already writing letters to the local newspaper. Signed letters. So.

    If the blog is you, then it's YOU. If the blog will help YOU in your life, then don't stay hidden. It's all about what works for you and what constitutes your comfort zone.

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  12. I have a similar situation. I created a character that I now, almost a year and a half later, want to kill off and replace with myself.
    It's a slow process.

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  13. R Hayes10:36 PM

    1. Ask Digby.

    2. Whichever way you choose, I hope you don't lose the graphic identity. I like the drawing, it reminds me that I'm reading a constructed persona -- a picture is too realistic, it decieves me into thinking that this is more like real life than it is.

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  14. NO way. The header is grand. Manila made it and it ain't going away.

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  15. hell no it better not go away. i agree with most others here. the avatar is part of your brand, but it shouldn't bar you from posting videos or pictures of the real you. we aren't simply in love with the avatar for what it is, but for what you've made it represent. to paraphrase picasso, "art is a lie that tells the truth."

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  16. Quakerdave: pfft. and amen to the follow your gut/follow your heart. It always tells me the truth.

    GREAT advice Captain.

    And Manila: oh baby when you quote Picasso you make me hot.

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  17. Well, your secret's safe with me as long as you want to keep it secret... oh, but then you've linked to that darned real you video.

    But you know, if you do come out, you could get your own domain name without fear of the dreaded whois. bluegal.com isn't available, but something very close to it is.

    For me, the names are interchangeable, at least within my professional niche. Just about everyone who knows of qwerty knows who qwerty is.

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  18. always interested11:48 PM

    Hey, BG--love the Blue Gal persona, though I might meet you in person some day at the Madrona Lodge Retreat. (I'm going to learn to knit.)

    Apart from some dangers for women in being "out there", (stranger danger, and all that, and what could be stranger than some of the people who use the net) the only reason I can see for you not using your Reality name is that somehow that will change what you do here.

    I have heard your voice on the cartoon videos and that's interesting to me. I have always thought that you stick with the cartoon image for obvious safety reasons. Something to consider.

    Though I know Threading Water's name, I think of her as Threading Water, and speak of her and her blog postings that way.

    I also tell people about Blue Gal. Great way to sometimes start the work day.

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  19. I love your persona, too, but I would still think of you as Blue Gal even if you went with using your name.

    I have always blogged under my own name - probably at first because I couldn't think of any pseudonym I wanted to use, and then because I don't write anything that I don't want my name associated with. I like the idea of 'Hooterville' being my little online 'home town' so I guess that's as far as I go with a persona.

    If I expect to be a writer, I'm going to be using my own name anyway, and lord knows I got my share of scary hate mail and death threats during the Neil Young thing. But I'm lucky in that my job would not be jeopardized if it were known that I was a blogger.

    I look at it this way, BG - anyone who would be offended by hiring a liberal blogger probably does not frequent our neck of the internets anyway. If you know who Blue Gal is, then you would be more likely to hire her, not less.

    My blogfather, who has gone by 'Mr. M' ever since I met him almost 3 years ago, has recently 'come out' and is now using his own name.

    I think it bespeaks a new level of commitment, to integrate your blog life with your real life.

    But that's just my opinion...

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  20. Hey Blue Gal,

    I can empathize. I'm currently working toward an MFA, the ultimate goal being a tenure-track position at a university or college. Conventional wisdom states that it'll be a good 10 years before I can settle down into my ideal position. In the meantime it's teaching part-time and performing a variety of other jobs. My blog is currently anonymous (though I've taken to commenting as Liz instead of The Lizard Queen just for the sake of convenience) because I don't want to jeopardize future job prospects, but honestly, I'm not really sure I want to work for a place that wouldn't hire me because of my blog. (Furthermore, a blogger I respect recently expressed concerns about anonymous blogging: http://www.doggedblog.com/doggedblog/2007/07/blogging-withou.html). Ultimately I'm not sure I get enough traffic for it to really matter one way or the other, but "coming out" is something that's been on my mind recently all the same. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  21. I think vanity is inherent in all forms of public writing - look at me, I've got something important to say. And, as long as you actually do have something worthwhile to say , this shouldn't be a problem.

    I was never comfortable with the issue of anonymity, because all too often it served as an excuse to exaggerate your position, since there were no consequences attached. Writing your own name, which I've been doing all along, forces to reconsider your words before unleashing them on an unsuspecting public. Which generally makes for better writing.

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  22. I need the anonymity of MY blog for a totally other reason than you and I go to great lengths to protect that as much as I can.

    It's scary to think that somewhere out there someone HAS TO KNOW exactly who we are--as if that makes what we say any less true--or funny--or pertinent--or whatever we are striving for with our blogging.

    I found out your real name somewhere, but don't ask me what it is because you ARE BlueGal to me and although I'm sure your real name means a lot to you, it's not important to me. I know where to find you... http://bgalrstate.blogspot.com/ and that is all that is important to ME.

    I would absolutely hate to find out that you got a teaching job and then lost it because of your blog, so I understand the full disclosure thing. Better to not get the job now than lose it later after you have fallen in love with your students.

    *sigh*

    That said, I realize I have been absolutely NO HELP AT ALL but I have left my comment.

    LOL!
    .

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  23. I really like my online persona and those of other people that I read and love including yours. The relationships we make are unique and are not possible in the "real world". I know the real identity of several of my blog friends but we still refer to each other as our nicknames.

    Do what you feel (you know I know what you are talking about having been "outed" by some very dodgy people) The main concern for me was safety. I love my online identity. It is me. But I have no problem with my real life. I just want to have the choice.

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  24. It's a decision that merits a lot of caution, unfortunately.

    Aside from all the vicious and nasty people out there (and some genuinely dangerous ones), there's the risk that you'll start subtly censoring yourself or holding back from posting on certain topics once you know the site can be linked easily to your real name. This can be a subtle, insidious thing.

    Remember, too, that if you decide not to "come out", you can change your mind later. Once you make the other decision, it's irreversible.

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  25. Imagine you have a teaching job and several years hence you make a comment that upsets a right wing christian parent. It's those parents and not the administration that would sift through your written record here to bring up wonderful, wise, witty things from Blue Gal and make them sound like the most depraved shit.

    Think Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

    Oh, and the safety thing.

    I don't think the quality of your blog will go from great to greaty great great if you reveal your identity.

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  26. ...anyone who would be offended by hiring a liberal blogger probably does not frequent our neck of the internets anyway. If you know who Blue Gal is, then you would be more likely to hire her, not less.

    What she said.

    Imagine you have a teaching job and several years hence you make a comment that upsets a right wing christian parent. It's those parents and not the administration that would sift through your written record here to bring up wonderful, wise, witty things from Blue Gal and make them sound like the most depraved shit... Oh, and the safety thing...Think Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. (re-phrased for clarity)

    There's the rub, however. I'm waiting for the call from MY local fundies.

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  27. I'm thinking about my training part of which I did with a woman who wore a bullet proof vest to work and had gotten death threats at home. I think people do brave things every day. I'm remaining anonymous for now though there are quite a lot of people who would know who I am if they happened on my blog but odds are that will take a while. I just read a very nice book called "Orbiting the Giant Hairball" about how to work for a corporation without being assimilated into the Borg. The author thinks the trick is to be both yourself but too useful to get rid of. I am practicing hiding in plain sight. It doesn't really work, but when I think I'm hidden I feel better. I think of it as having many layers like an onion: there is the persona that the boss would like to see and the one that various customers would like to see and the social in the grocery store persona and I didn't really realize that some people wanted me to take their personas at face value and ignore the other stuff until recently. The trick is to use a persona that is acceptable to both you and the other person, but have some people that you can just be real with.

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  28. Anonymous9:05 AM

    You don't know me from anyone, but I am a blogger wrestling with outing myself as well. I found this column yesterday that's given me much food for thought:
    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/07/19/blog-under-your-real-name-and-ignore-the-harassment/
    (here via brilliant at breakfast)

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  29. Blue Gal...

    No matter what... You'll ALWAYS be Blue Gal.

    Do as ye will... I'll keep comin'. I do dig the nifty avatar's though.

    ;-)

    -- Tuckmac

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  30. I'm struggling with the same thing. Though my blog isn't as popular or prominent as yours, I am a teacher, and feared repercussions from employers. One of my favorite blogging teachers, Lulu, thinks she may have had issues with administrators because they may have seen her blog. I'm leaving the teaching profession next week, so it may not be an issue any more.

    I think that you should, as long as you have any hope of working as a teacher in the future, maintain at least a veneer of anonomity. As others have mentioned as well, there's the safety issue. Unfortunately the right seems to have more than its fair share of whackjobs.

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  31. I posted a poem for you about my experience with being real at work. Or even being at work and being alive instead of pretending to be a Borg. Good luck with what you decide!

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  32. I very rarely do anything anonymous. Some of the negative consequences I have had to put with have been having a competitor email a client with (spurious!) accusations, then taking her to court for libel and NOT WINNING; having my name put on hate lists, with death threats (and with my birthday and some hobbies. The hate-list compilers did an amazing job of rounding up my bio!)
    Losing friendships (some people couldn't handle my framework of belief).

    I guess my take on it has always been that if I have to gag myself, the job/situation is not worth it. (I tend to be reasonably mild-mannered in person. And online, I guess. But I do cherish my right, freedom and ability to say what I want to say. It is not something I can take for granted.)

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  33. I use first but no last. I guess I never thought about anonymity because I never thought anyone would read my little blog. Yeesh. I've actually put way too much information on mine but I'm lucky and haven't gotten a whole lot of weirdos.

    Also, I don't allow anonymous comments anymore - so that helps.

    Another knitter against W
    Faith

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  34. I just "came out" to my 70-ish year old parents. If I can do that, you can do this!

    No, really, your issues are different and more serious, but I sympathize with the decision-making process.

    I like the "Blue Gal" brand and mystery, so I hope you keep that (you've already said you will).

    "Coming out" will make it more challenging to keep your voice, but if you succeed it will be even truer and stronger.

    The risks are real, but...they are probably already there.

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  35. Anonymous10:31 AM

    We love you animated, real, anonymous, pseudonymous, what ever.

    Where here for the writing not your pretty face, although it is a very pretty face.

    OG

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  36. With you're great writing style, people will identify you by your handle even if they knew your real name. But it is a tough call.
    I blog under a pseudonym, but that's mostly because it's more interesting than the name I live with. Anyone who really wanted to could find out my real name, but I doubt anyone wants to. My current employment isn't going to be effected by my blogging, but I have thought about possible risks in future employment.
    As far as safety: If anybody makes any threat toward you, just let me know and I'll be there. As a 6'3" ugly old hippie who's worked as a bodyguard in the past, I'll be perfectly happy to squish any winger troll who would threaten someone as nice as you.

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  37. Personally, I prefer humans to pseudonyms and avatars. I blog as myself, because that's who I am.It feels like it's part of Quaker integrity, speaking truth to power and all that. Occasionally I worry about crazy people out there who might want to do me or my family harm -- but I can't live in fear. Besides my teen-aged daughter has pictures of herself all over MySpace and FaceBook, regardless of what I tell her about safety.
    As for job/hiring worries, as you say, 2 years of being safe and anonymous have not landed you a teaching job. Do you want to continue hiding who you are after you get hired? Can't live like that ... Granted, I live and teach in a liberal enclave, but the family that screwed me over and got me disciplined a few years back were not religious fundamentalists; they are liberal Democrats, dad promotes a lot of local music and mom has been president of the local knitters' guild!

    I do agree with Quaker Dave: I never write about co-workers, students, my boss ... that just isn't good practice anyway.

    It comes down to doing what your heart tells you. I don't come to your blog because of your mysterious persona; I like the glimpses of the real you.

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  38. BG, This interests me because I just started a pseudonym blog and am attending school to become a teacher. It is my impression that if you removed (or made private) your youtube video which states that you insert name here are BG, then you would likely be mostly known by those you who respect for what you are doing. I recently cleared up a google find that had been coming up by name and had drug references (from the past) from a friend's website and he was happy to drop my last name and after a month it no longer came up in a search. I think that is what an employer who would be against you blogging would find (like someone else said. Is it the panties? or our political views it concerns you people know? I'm just wonderin' for my own selfish reasons. I'd hate to have put my family through a lot going to school and then not be able to find a job, personally. My $.02. "FB" (and I'm changing the picture.)

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  39. 1. women have different issues on this from men, plain and simple. for safety reasons, i'm anonymous because i'm a single mom, plus my name is quite uncommon. so i can't just go by my first name.
    2. i agree with manila--whether or not you occasionally post real pix or vids, you're still blue gal to us.
    3. i also agree with quaker dave--follow your heart.
    4. i agree that you positively look like Claudia Cardinale. you're both gorgeous!

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  40. Quick agreement with PM, that the issues of threats are very different for women and men, and also for parents with children. If someone made a threat against me or my son (a 6'5" 32 year old), we're likely to laugh at it. But I feel that as a blog community we should all be ready to stand against any threatening BS.

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  41. There are several pseudonymous bloggers whose "real" names I know, and I hardly ever think of them by those real names (except the two I knew pre-blogging).

    In my own case, I use the nom-de-blog because it is one I like and also a name under which I wrote a column in a monthly mag several years ago, when I was the operator of a head shop - and didn't want my occupation to discredit my writing (sort of the opposite of your teaching dilemma).

    My suggestion - follow your heart, but be careful.

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  42. Similar situation, web guy with web clients, previous employer found my MySpace and asked me to remove "cunnilingus" from my "Interests" section. Just in case. Luckily he has a great sense of humor.

    But I still haven't posted my pic in my profile. Maybe one day.

    I don't know if this quote is valid, but it speaks to me:

    Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
    -Basil King

    At least you have the comfort of knowing you are already outed in an NSA database somewhere as a person of interest.

    Nevermind. Stick to the quote. Best of luck. We're here for you.

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  43. BG,

    Just another thought ... when the server died that had my web site on it (web.com) I lost a few gifs and pics. A friend reminded me that the internet archive might have them ... it did. The point being, depending on how the internet archive stores google blogs, once your are out there may not be any way to go back to being BG.

    In the emails I send to you I generally use the name BG. I like that moniker and I doubt that I would change. I also echo that Manila is a gifted artist ... the header stays!!

    Okay, I'll go back to my hole now.

    Don

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  44. Aside from potential "Crazies", who can harass you anyway, the other reasons for not doing are crap.

    You are who you are, and you should not have to censor yourself or worry.

    If the school system is that fucked up where people scour the Internets looking for clues, how long would you last anyway?

    You said you love teaching, but you seem to love this more.

    My view is that art always comes first. Teaching is cool, but art is life.

    Something to consider is looking at other venues where you can write, which is what I do.

    I have my insane blog, but I also write professionally for several businesses. (Hard to imagine I know).

    In fact, I'm currently working on a project for a series of Clinics strewn throughout the U.S. and they know about my blog. As long as I do what they want, and do a quality job they don't care what I do in my spare time.

    One other thing, how can the school system fire you for having a blog? I'm pretty sure the ACLU would have your back if that nonsense ever happened. (Then you'd really be famous). For the moment we still have the 1st Amendment. I realize that's subject to change, but for now it's safe.

    We can't let these assholes bully us into Censoring or Marginalizing ourselves.

    "If you're going to die, die with your boots on."

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  45. If you think about being a blogger as being analogous to being an author or a journalist, the anonymity becomes kind of a moot point. You've got to be out in the world, going to the grocery store, taking your kid to day care, etc.

    And you can always take Anne Lamott's advice: write anything about anybody, as long as you a)don't use THEIR real name and b)make sure you mention that they have a very small penis.

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  46. Hey Bluey,

    I've thought about dropping the Evil Spock persona about 6 months ago, but decided against it. I like my level of anonymity, and I plan on keeping it that way.

    Do what you want. People come for your writing, and if you get a few more readers because they find you attractive that's like eating a cake with a pie baked inside!

    Evil Spock out!

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  47. you gotta find a way to do what you want with your blog and work. Everyone at my job reads my blog daily to make sure they are not in it. lol But no content demands were made-just laughter.

    I'm not comparing my little spot with yours-yours is superb.

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  48. BG,
    I've been stewing on this quite a bit today. As you may know, I have an MS in Education, but I don't teach. There are several reasons for this, the most obvious being that I was never hired. Probably a good thing. For me. For the kids. For the world. Among the many many other reasons why I don't teach is the "Need" for a double life.

    I had many discussions about this while student teaching... Why is it that anyone else in this district can live with a girlfriend/boyfriend, but a teacher can't? Why is it I'm not supposed "to be seen buying beer in a grocery store?" although no one says it is or is not OK to drink? Why is it OK for districts to fire gay/lesbian teachers? And since I live alone, how could I prove I'm straight? Basically: Why do I have to give a flying fuck about how anyone else thinks I should live my life?

    I hated all that BS, and should have realized long before I did that I would never fit as a teacher. "What is a teacher?" was such a common question in classes, and invariably, the first answer was, "A role model." OK.... fine... What role should I model? And for whom? So.....

    I never got to teach math and I never got to coach wrestling, so in one sense I never got to "be me." On the other hand, I can talk about evolution, I can debate the existence of God, and if I were to choose, I could be gay or drink to my heart's content.

    Which ever way you choose to go, there's a part of you that will go unfulfilled. We'll miss you if you go, but that's life.

    Best of luck with the choice.

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  49. Well, FL/BG, I was out of town for a few hours and missed this on the topside. I must admit that I am tempted to read all of the comments first, but I know how that could potentially influence what I say.

    I think pseudonyms are fine for fun; not so much for credibility. I hope you are proud of the thoughts that you share. I know that if I did not know who you were and some basic facts about you, that I would not be able to work with you on more that a minimal basis. (When I edited Virtual Occoquan, one of my co-editors kept her pseudonym, and I eventually could not deal with that in a collaboration).

    (And of course, Sandy Underpants is a pseudonym for another of our gang, but he has never tried to hide his name, and when we worked together on Fried Green al-Qaedas, it was totally public. (I don't think he'd mind me using it now, but since I haven't asked...))

    Maybe it's just me, but I think that seeing someone as a real person gives additional strength to their opinions, or extra strength to their barbs. To use me as an example, if someone searches me out and finds that I spent twenty years at DOD, does that enlarge my voice or reduce it when I take aim at the current regime? (And if things continue their downward trend, at least I would never have to be an anonymous victim. Pardon the drama.) It's not like the bastards couldn't silence us anyway, but perhaps a name makes it less tempting.

    Love you regardless of your choice, (although it's really too late for you to have one).

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  50. Yikes, BG ... I just wish I could get 49 comments! I hope you are feeling the love!


    BAC

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  51. BG, I've been thinking about this, and the question I keep asking myself is, why is anonymity so important? Even when I first began blogging under a pseudonym, I was easily able to find my true identity online through a Google search, but at that point I intended to blog about the artworld, which necessitated the anonymous tag. I suppose it depends on your position in society. I know that Attaturk for example, chooses to protect his identity because of his professional capacity. I don't know if that is at stake in your case, but I see no harm in maintaining two different versions of one's identity. As we all know, Digby recently came out, and yet she still posts under the name Digby. Maybe I missed something, but it's unlikely that this is her real name. Just run with it, and if the two personalities show up in the same place, then we're all twice graced with your magnificent personal aura.

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  52. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me that Mild-Mannered Reporter for a Great Metropolitan Blog Frances of Port Townshend is REALLY the masked defender of truth, justice and the American Way, Blue Gal? That's just crazy talk! Look--Blue Gal wears GLASSES! Frances doesn't! I mean, c'mon people!

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  53. Holy crap! what a crowd. I could barely squeeze in the door!

    I think you should wear as many hats in as many different ways as the blog or even a particular post will allow. You have made career out of your whole persona, not just the reality based one. Have fun with all of your faces while the pixels last.

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  54. well, you know what I think :)

    I know what you mean about lighting up when you talk about the blog. I've always felt that way, and I've been the first person to blab to co-workers, colleagues, even patients. Even though I knew someone somewhere sometime might get offended and make trouble for me. Well, hell, that might still happen, but blogging is too much fun to keep it a secret during our day lives.

    I enjoyed the video (in today's post), bathrobe and all. Nice to see ya and hear ya in one swell foop.

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  55. No matter what you decide, your wit, insight and intelligence remain.

    I "outed" myself briefly, and would have slipped back into the shadows if one blogger hadn't slapped my name up in his blog.

    No biggie for me. But as has been said, other folks have other concerns.

    Just keep writing and making me think. (BFG)

    Traveling Man

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  56. Blue Gal,

    This isn't about whether you should out yourself, you're out. Once in awhile I mention my name to people and it isn't a big secret, and I tell people that I meet about my blog sometimes, so there's no real anonymity. Still, I like using "whig" -- it's short, memorable and I've used it for a long long time. No reason you can't stay Blue Gal. JMHO.

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I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!