Internet personas take on lives of their own
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage. ...|
THE Internet has changed everything, and sports media will never be the same. Now, not only is news instantaneous and nonstop, but everyone with a computer has it, instantaneously and nonstop (I think there are people out there who are on Google all day). Now, not only are all these people self-styled pundits, but, thanks to anonymity, they create personas. They claim "sources." They have code names, like secret agents or something. They become characters, like in pro wrestling.
And, yeah, we all know about pro wrestling. Intellectually, I'm definitely not a wrestling guy, I don't think I've ever set out on purpose to turn it on. But come on, no matter who you are, if the right mood strikes you, if you come across it flipping channels, the true characters compel you; you can't help but sit back and get a kick out of the antics of "The Bushwhakers" or "The Iron Sheik."
And so it was a great thrill the other day when the phone rang in the office. "Is this Dave Reardon?" the guy said, "this is (Internet character name deleted)." It took a second. Then Dave said, "Oh! (Internet character name deleted)! Yeah, hey, you're a good writer."
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that the guy introduced himself that way, by his fake Internet name. It was beautiful. It was like getting a call from "Deep Throat."
And I was excited that he called. (Internet character name deleted) is one of my favorite Internet guys. Intelligent. Well reasoned. Not insane. He's got it all.
(Note: Yes, I'm describing you. You are my favorite Internet person. Unless of course you didn't call Dave Reardon the other day. Then, probably not.)
The anonymity, the secret identities, the code names -- suddenly everyone is a 1930s radio hero ("Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The shadow knows!") railing against the night. Or against Herman Frazier. Whatever.
But you've got to do it right, or you'll look like some kind of nut. (Ahem.) Pick a good anonymous Internet persona. Luckily, I found some code-name generators on the Internet. Try "Silent Flash" (military operation), "Sparkbolt" (super hero), "James K. Jordan" (fake name) or "Ashton Mannish" (OK, let's not talk about which one that was).
Or, the list of Secret Service code names. Here's my favorite: Ron Nessen (I have no idea who he is) was "Clam Chowder." (It turns out he was Gerald Ford's press secretary; for some reason that makes it even better.)
Most people might have to do this the old-fashioned way:
From now on, your Delta Tau Chi name is ... Mothball.
No matter. The fact that people are starting to take their Internet alter egos seriously, that we can now have actual everyday conversations involving names like "Zoltran" brings me enormous joy. And I know a good idea when I see one. Just wait until I call my congressman. "Ice Station Zebra" questions your voting record. They'll know who I am.