Beaumont blogger discovers what goes around comes around

The SE Texas Record Jun. 12, 2010, 6:11pm

Here's a quick quiz: Who is the most frequently quoted person of all time? Is it William Shakespeare? Nope. Not even close.

Oddly enough, the most frequently quoted person of all time is someone not known -- a person of mystery called Anonymous, Anon for short.

A user of many pseudonyms such as Concerned Citizen, this often quoted author remains Mr. Anonymous, Ms. Anonymous or just plain Anonymous.

One can hardly blame people for wanting to know who Anonymous really is, but efforts to unmask the real person are ill-advised, for it's anonymity that gives Anonymous the freedom to comment so incisively – as frequently occurs, for instance, on the "Operation Kleinwatch" blog.

Local political commentator Philip Klein, the object of those unkind comments, is not amused and has gone to court to determine who is making digs at him, to compel the harsh words to stop, and to assess damages for defamation.

The case has argued its way to the state supreme court. Last week the court granted a stay in the proceedings – temporarily protecting the anonymity of Anonymous, et al -- until the case is heard and a ruling made.

Ironically, Klein maintains a blog of his own, the Southeast Texas Political Review, and has run into trouble for comments he's made in the past, including one accusing a local judge of sexual indiscretions.

"Comment regarding elected officials, as well as public officials and events surrounding them, is firmly protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," Klein said, three years ago, in response to a suit filed against him by the accused judge. "Clearly, sources that report misconduct and events are further protected."

Now the tables are turned and Klein's bruised ego has eclipsed his concern for Constitutional protections.

Still, he was right about the First Amendment. Anonymous commentary is a time-honored tradition in the United States of America.

Without it, the USA wouldn't have lasted a decade.

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