I have a new appreciation for Reinier "Gusano" Potts. Character assassination, like murder, is one of the fine arts. So DeQuincey thought and so "Gusano" proves (the Babalunian who reads the NYRB will appreciate that). I have never to my recollection, however, singled him out before for praise or censure. Now I shall do both.
When Val outed Killcastro on Killcastro's own blog, he literally called out his name. Gusano does not. He neither uses Killcastro's moniker or his real name, or his baby or his nickname. He doesn't mention him at all. Yet, in all respects, his attack is as savage and calculated; and, of course, as craven as Val's Prieto's. With one difference: it flies over a lot of people's heads because it does not have the clarity of a stabbing at midday which Val's effort does. Still it's muted but telling references are there for anyone who cares to think.
"Gusano," ostensibly, praises Yoani Sánchez's courage for blogging under her own name in Cuba and excoriates himself as a coward for blogging anonymously for many years from the safety of the U.S. Frankly, I was surprised. Not at the fact that he once belonged to the Tribe of the Anonymi but because I thought that no real person could be named "Reinier Potts." That had to be his pseudonym. But since he attests that "Reinier Pott" is his real name I have to take him at his word.
Because Reinier Potts now chooses to blog under his own name does not mean that bloggers who don't are cowards. Can't he understand that there are perfectly legitimate reasons for blogging anonymously which have nothing to do with whether someone is a coward or not? In fact, I should think that it would take a great deal of humility, not cowardice, to blog anonymously and forgo the tribute of one's own words. I know that I would not be able to send my words into the world as orphans and I can only imagine that one who does must do so under a very great compunction which overrides even self-love or pride. Only the love of others could compel such a renunciation.
Every man has the right to expose his own life as he sees fit. No man has the right to expose the life of another. Killcastro blogged under a pseudonym to protect his family in Cuba. It is his right and his duty so to do. And, ultimately, it is his choice. No one has the right to second guess him or to overrule his decision. Since he bears the responsibility he should also set the boundaries. It is not Val Prieto's right or anybody's right to supercede Killcastro's judgment, much less to threaten his life or his family's by making a disclosure which it is not theirs to make.
Whether Reinier Potts has contempt for Anonymous bloggers is immaterial. What matters is whether he would do what Val did. That question, of course, he evades as Val did his responsibility. An attack on "anonymous bloggers" (with one specifically in mind), accomplished from behind Yoani's skirts, is so much easier. This is exactly what Val himself did when he hid behind Ziva's to justify his terrorist attack on Killcastro. Both are alike despicable for it.