Q. Is Attila your real name?
A. No, of course not. How many Jews do you know who are named Attila?
Q. Why do you Jews insist on answering a question with a question?
A. And why shouldn't we answer a question with a question?
Q. That's a very old joke.
A. Point well taken. I guess you've figured out, then, that Attila is my nickname.
Q. No thanks to you. So tell me why you're called Attila.
A. A colleague gave me that name. For some reason, he suspected that my political leanings were to the right. Then he and I got into a discussion during an office softball game, when he noticed I was the only player who insisted on using a wooden bat. I told him, "The Framers did not contemplate metal bats." I like the Attila image. It makes me seem like a powerful and fearsome figure, when in fact I'm pretty quiet and mild-mannered. (Sort of like calling a huge, overweight man "Tiny.") I often say I'm conservative in politics and moderate in temperament.
Q. Thank you. That's more than I wanted to know.
A. You're welcome.
Q. Why did you start this blog?
A. Some people egged me on, and I had a few things I wanted to say. I don't have the time to do what the serious bloggers do, many of whom do an amazing job requiring a huge time investment. I also don't expect more than a few people to read this, and I'm not going to engage in the sort of self-promotion or marketing required to get readers. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I'm just fairly modest about what I hope to accomplish.
Q. What topics will you cover?
A. Oh, I guess politics, law, religion, crime, whatever seems interesting.
Q. You're an expert in all those fields?
A. Absolutely not. I said they were interesting, not that I'm an expert.
Q. How long do you expect to keep this up?
A. It's said that a typical blog is abandoned after about 2 or 3 months. We'll see.
Q. Why have you not given your real name?
A. In my day job, I work for a large federal agency – I'm in the career civil service – and my name sometimes appears on public documents. It probably should be clear without keeping my name secret that my views here are my personal views, not the views of my employer, and that they're not my views in my professional capacity. But by using a nickname without disclosing my real name, I hope to make that separation much clearer.
Q. Which "large federal agency" do you work for?
A. If I told you, I'd –
Q. Stop! That's another very old joke.
A. I realize that. Sorry.
Q. You know, it's not too hard for people to figure out who you really are.
A. I know. But I have three things to say to anyone who tries that:
- Please don't.
- If you succeed, please don't tell me.
- And please don't tell anyone else.
As I said, I'm anonymous for a reason, and I'm not trying to fool anyone. Please respect that.
Q. Why have you chosen not to allow comments?
A. Comments can be a lot of fun, but there are two obvious problems. One, even at many blogs that are reasonably successful, most posts have no comments. It makes me sad to read an interesting, thoughtful, clever blog and see post after post with zero comments. Two, at blogs where people do comment, it's really necessary for the blogger to keep an eye on the comments so they stay civil. I don't have the time to do that. If you have comments, please send me an email. I'd be delighted to receive it.
UPDATE (10/14): On a lark, I've decided to enable comments provisionally on the blog. I'll see how it works for a while.