My post about Representative Scyller Borglum’s solo summer study inspired me to write about term limits. But before I get to that, I have to write about a less significant matter that bubbled to post-worthiness in the comment section.
Jeremiah Murphy is not Grudznick.
Jeremiah Murphy is a well-known lobbyist who, on one of his finer days in Pierre this Session, kicked the crap out of Kaleb Weis’s ill-conceived teacher code of silence. But on another day in the Capitol this Session, a somewhat sharper legislator hurried to Murphy’s side and said, Is it true, Murphy? Are you Grudznick?
The sub-story, the undercard, the charm on my bracelet, is that South Dakota legislators read this blog during Session. Lawmakers with lots to do and limited time to do it read Dakota Free Press, because they learn stuff here. (Thank you for reading; I’m happy to serve.)
But the big story, which shouldn’t a story, is that Jeremiah Murphy is not Grudznick, a longtime pseudonymous curmudgeon not just on this blog but back through the history of the South Dakota blogosphere, is not Jeremiah Murphy.
The legislator in question was distracted from his useful daily blog briefing by winter assertions to the contrary in my comment section. Murphy refuted the assertion, and the lobbyist, the legislator, and the Session went on as well as a South Dakota lobbyist, legislator, and Session can be expected.
I didn’t rebut the false assertions about Grudz’s identity, because I take a strong line on protecting the identity of commenters. As long as they reply to my e-mails and confirm their identities to me, so I know we aren’t being overrun by Russkie trolls and sockpuppets, commenters can rest assured I will not reveal their personal information. I don’t tell people my pseudonymous commenters’ real names. I don’t respond to questions about, “Is it so-and-so?” because if I stick with telling the truth (and that is my central blog principle), clever interrogators could throw spaghetti—or perhaps more appropriately in this case, meatballs—at the wall and see if they chance upon the one name that, instead of drawing my immediate and firm No, causes me to hitch and dodge with some Valerian choice that would reveal the commenter’s identity as transparently as a betrayed Vulcan’s mind meld. To protect the identity of every commenter who trusts me, I thus dare not confirm or deny the identity of any.
Murphy considered responding to the commenters misidentifying him as Grudznick but initially decided not to bother, because he knows the truth about himself. His identity does depend on the beliefs of others. Murphy also demurred because he, like legislators, has time to read the blog but not to jump into every comment section knocking down incorrect statements. And ultimately, Murphy knows, as I know, that eventually truth wears down the folks who make stuff up. Even the hardest-core of stuff-maker-uppers eventually give up and run nothing but press releases.
But Murphy knows, as I know, that made-up-stuff lingers longer online. And today’s comments, which read the pseudonymous Grudznick’s latest of many comments about the physical appearance of women in the news as harassment and then imputed that harassment to the distinct and autonymous Jeremiah Murphy, who appears to have more sense than to comment publicly on the comeliness or lack thereof of the legislators whom he is paid to influence.
And we most certainly can’t have legislators running around thinking false things based on what they read on Dakota Free Press.
Jeremiah M. Murphy commented back this afternoon and said he is not Grudznick. Murphy and I spoke on the phone this afternoon. I stand by his public statement.
I just wanted to make that clear for everyone else in Pierre who reads this blog (and again, thank you for reading!). Jeremiah Murphy is many things. Jeremiah Murphy is not the thing called Grudznick.
Dang. Looks like I’ll have to cover Borglum and term limits tomorrow.