Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yehudi Hilchati

I used to blog under the name "Yehudi Hilchati" on a blog of the same name. Around a year ago, I wrote there:
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Should I blog under my own name?
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I've always been a little uncomfortable with anonymous blogging. But I do it anyway, for the reasons outlined below.

I've written stuff here that I probably wouldn't want my family or some members of my community to know of. Though I'm not a full-blown skeptic, I've expressed enough opinions on the documentary hypothesis and the origins of Judaism to earn the title of "apikores" by strictly traditional standards. I've also written some left-of-center opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that while relatively moderate, would provoke massive arguments with my right wing (on that issue) family if they knew about it. So all in all, blogging anonymously allows me to express my opinions without fear of repercussions.

On the other hand, blogging anonymously keeps me from extending the discourse of this blog to real life. If I blogged under my own name, I'd be able to make the blog simply an extension of my ideas in real life, which I could discuss with people verbally and then simply refer them to my blog. Therefore, I've been thinking about dispensing with the "secret identity" and blogging as myself.

But if I did, I'd probably just start a new non-anonymous blog and just let this one go dormant, with no identifying link between them, for the reasons mentioned above. I just don't need arguments and tension with parents, siblings, and some friends. (My wife is aware of this blog.) The new blog would probably avoid some topics I've dealt with here.

Although I don't have a huge number of readers, over the past 1+ years, I've developed connections to a number of other blogs and have commented in many places, all under the name "Yehudi Hilchati".

So do I leave it behind and start a new blog under my own name and rebuild a readership with no base?

Should I just stay put and leave aside my need to express my opinions under my own name?

Or should I be really daring and go public on this blog and let the chips fall where they may?
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Obviously I went with the first option, above, and started a new blog, this one. So why am I revealing this now, when that's precisely what I said I wouldn't do?
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Because I've realized that this blog has become almost exactly what the old one was, with similar opinions and ideas. I even took the best of the old blog and reposted them here, with slight updates. And while there is a little less of the "apikorsut" and politics about Israel, I've commented on many other blogs under this name without censoring my opinions at all. And after a few weeks of having my real name listed in my "DYS" profile when I first started blogging under those initials (my real ones) I removed my last name, because I felt a little too exposed.
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So in almost every way, this blog's exactly like the old one. I guess that someone starts a blog because they have something to say. And that something is hard to constrain.
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In any case, now that I've gotten to know more bloggers, I realize that I'm far from radical compared with many others. And some friends who I spoke to about my hashkasfic doubts didn't seem surprised or disturbed, nor did they have issues with the kashrut of my food.
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So what's the point of this whole post? I'm not sure, except maybe to free myself of any remaining dual-identity constraints. So keep reading!

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