Vanity, Thy Name is Anonymous


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    So, someone at Hachette thought this book would sell. It certainly made headlines. Who will buy it, though? I can’t see anyone on the left, or the never-Trump camp buying it, because it has what they already know. I mean, hate-read is a thing, I guess. But it would have so much more potential with this demographic if it had a name attached.

    Meanwhile, would the Trumpists buy it? I can see plenty of hate clicking on excerpts as long as it doesn’t cost anything, but there is a bubble in right-wing media that says that many might not even hear about this book.

    I frequently remind myself that people who work on things every day are likely to be better informed in their decisions than I, who have spent maybe 10 seconds thinking about it, am. So, maybe this will sell. But maybe the book publishers, who must know who Anonymous is, could only consider the decision in that light?

    But who knows, this might become a bestseller.Report

  2. Avatar InMD says:

    Good piece. Anonymity has become so abused that I think the grain of salt we used to take it with needs to be increased to a sack full.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Yeah, this is pretty much how I feel.
    After every awful cluster of a government there are a spate of memoirs where all the central players try to write a history that exonerates their own actions.

    This is sort of a pre-emptive version that tale where we are treated to furrow brows of concern and whispered gossip but ultimately without effect or action.Report

  4. Avatar JS says:

    It’s a nice little grift. Get in on the ground floor of a President that is — at best — impulsive and uncaring of a lot of normal Washington priorities, and manipulate him to do what you want. If this makes him unpopular, then you simply explain you were the hero, trying to mitigate a impulsive President’s worst impulses, and really you should be applauded for sticking with the Administration rather than resigning on principle or speaking up.

    If it works, you get four years of getting to pull levers of power that most President’s wouldn’t let you near, and if it crashes down you walk away claiming all the bad stuff was stuff “you were against” and all the good stuff was “stuff you were for”.

    Effectively, this is someone who went happily wallowing with the pigs and hopes a shiny piece of paper keeps the mud off.

    Honestly, this seems like someone who isn’t sure which direction the GOP is going to go on Trump’s legacy, and wants a sheet anchor.

    Hmm. My money is on…the Conways. Probably both of them together. They set up a neat inside/outside approach to Trump, making sure at least one of them is poised to continue forward in the lucrative conservative pundit and staffer circles.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to JS says:

      I endorse this interpretation. Not everyone who says mean things about Trump is on the side of the angels. Far from it. This character is just another grifting parasite that would be ejected almost automatically from the body of any even vaguely normal administration.Report

  5. As fa as I can tell, it was written by John Barron, John Miller, or David Dennison. Or maybe Seth Rich’s real killer.Report

  6. Avatar George Turner says:

    What if it was written by someone in the administration who can’t come out publicly against the President because he’s her father? That would be hilarious, and future historians would ascribe it to “daddy issues”. ^_^

    However, it’s probably some boring, faceless bureaucrat with delusions of adequacy.Report

  7. I have two cautions about where I see things differently, but only a little differently, from the OP and from most of the commenters here.

    Caution #1: I hesitate to call anyone a coward because I’m a coward, too. I write anonymously/pseudonymously and take “controversial” positions. I admit that I don’t claim insider status to much of anything, and rarely (almost never) comment on things specific to my job, etc.

    Caution #2: we need to decide if we (i.e., the polity, the Republic, etc.) are better off for the book having been written. From the summaries the OP cites, that seems like an unlikely prospect, especially because the author “does not re-create many specific episodes in vivid detail.” But on balance, is the book’s having been written good or bad for the cause (or indifferent, which I guess is the same thing as bad)? If it is on balance good, and the author’s having to give up anonymity means we wouldn’t have this good thing, then I caution against criticizing them.

    ETA: To be clear: I’m not saying Anonymous is some great hero for the ages.Report

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