Understanding the Michael Hiltzik kerfuffle.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 21 2006 5:18 PM

I Spy Your IP

Bloggers devour one of their own, a journalist, for his sprees of pseudonymous posts. They also respond to a NY Times article about parents who support their grown-up kids, and they fume about an FDA report on the supposed lack of medical benefits of marijuana.

I Spy your IP: Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has been suspended from his newspaper's blog The Golden Stateafter he admitted Thursday he'd been posting there, as well as on other sites, under false names. He used the pseudonyms to attack online conservative nemeses like Hugh Hewitt and L.A. prosecutor Patrick Frey (who eventually exposed him).

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Defiant and unapologetic to the end, Hiltzik scorns his critics as making his liberal politics the issue, not the cloaked medium through which it was presented. As his  last sanctioned message at TheGolden State he writes: "Frey evidently pored through the IP addresses of comments on his blog to discover that sometimes I commented under my own name, and sometimes under a pseudonym. He noticed that this is a pseudonym I've used on other occasions. He pats himself on the back (so to speak) for his brilliant sleuthing."

But now the comments section of Hiltzik's blog has become its own chorus of indictment. "Well, if someone starts leaving comments as 'MrStrawMan,' we'll know who it is," thwapsWill. And David Mastio ain't buying the not-guilty plea either: "If you can't see the dishonesty in pretending you're not yourself in order to add credibility to your self defense, then you're in need of some adult supervision."

Roger L. Simon, a Pajamas Media blogger, has a thoughtful reflection on the affair, and even expresses a measure of sympathy with the scandalized: "[I]t is surprising to see that someone with Hiltizk's bona fides would think he could get away with this - we can trace your IP pretty easily, Michael, often even locate you on the map. It is, however, equally likely that Hiltzik knew this deep down and had the all-too-human desire to shoot himself in the foot (or in this case worse, since his reputation, unlike his foot, will never fully recover)."

Even fans of Hiltzik's acknowledged scribbling are having a hard time reconciling his off-the-clock shadow philippics: "Sorry, dude. You're a columnist. At minimum you've got to use your real name on your blog. You already have forums and an ability to reach the masses that most people only dream of. I think you have a responsibility to represent yourself all the time," chimes in Lee at The PassionateCenter (leaning to the Left) before continuing: "I like Michael Hiltzik's columns. Fire him."

Read more about Hiltzik's travails.

The gravy train that's never late:According to this Thursday Styles New York Times piece, more college graduates and thirtysomethings are being supported, or at least receiving financial help, from their parents. Whether in the form of monthly stipends, travel fare, or supplemented bills, continued dependence is less of a bourgeois taboo than it once was—except to those who get cut off.

"Yep, that's me. Into my 30s and still getting the occasional helping hand from my parents. My parents don't send me a monthly stipend, as some parents report doing in the article. However, they did just pay for my airline ticket for a visit home next month," writes Ann at Ann's Attitude. "I don't think I'll feel obligated to help my kid have those things after college any more than while they're in it," offers Keith at his family-oriented site We Interrupt This Broadcast. "I might give a one-time gift when they buy their first homes, perhaps.… The problem may be that most adult kids today don't know that they can't afford the lifestyle they want, and 'paying their dues' isn't in their vocabulary."

Mithrandir, a "wine-loving software engineer" at Sound and Fury, finds as much psychological peril in boot-strap romanticism as he does in permanent adolescence: "On the one hand, there's a fair degree of pride in being entirely self-made (though admittedly rather fortunate at certain points). On the other, I feel a bit gypped, or alternatively, that receiving such aid is in some way cheating. But down that path lies self-indulgent whining."

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