What’s in a name?

“Sybok Pendderwydd” is NOT my real name. “Elendil” is a Tolkein name, meaning “friend of elves,” and D’Arsenault is actually the original spelling of my real last name, so it’s very close really, but it’s not the name on my drivers license or my birth certificate. This goes back to the idea that it’s just not safe to put your real name out on the Internet. It also goes back the truth that the United States is not really a free country, that people will hate you for your beliefs (no matter what they are) and they might not hire you, or they might just fire you.

Recently someone tried to get me thrown into prison.

My wife teaches an Internet based Pagan class. She’s been doing this for several years now. In the course of this most recent class she offered to copy a software program which would make it easier for her students (about 20 of them) to understand the course. Someone in her class ratted her out to the folks who make the program. A nasty letter from that company came to her within four hours of her offer, threatening her with prosecution.

That person wasn’t in Ceridwen’s class to learn. They were there to find something wrong — something they could use to hurt us. In this case, get us thrown into a Federal Prison. Oh, and the email was addressed to me – with my REAL name.. That’s evil. Why would they do that?

Lot’s of Pagans, and Druids hate us. They hate me in particular. They hate the Order of the Mithril Star. They wish to eradicate us, or at least cripple us. The reasons run from CAW members who feel that CAW has the SiaSL market cornered and no one else has the right to use that book, to Celtic Reconstructionists who want Druidism represented by only those with a very strong Celtic slant, to those Reformed Druids who feel we misrepresent the Reformed Druid movement, to sexually frustrated middle aged Pagan “church ladies,” who aren’t getting laid, and believe you shouldn’t be either,
or they are trying to legitmize Paganism by making it look more like Xtianity. I dunno. It’s all just stupid politics anyway.

I’m of the old Internet group (those who have been on the net since before 1990) that believes that software should be free for human advancement. That’s also a group that tends to be anti-Microsoft, and either goes for Unix based operating systems, or uses Windows anyway, but procures it at no cost (“I have a Microsoft FREE machine — I got all my Microsoft software for free.”). I’m also a Socialist, and believe that people should work and create for the benefit of mankind, rather than solely for money. Part of this is also The rich generally won’t miss it.

We could be sued, but for political reasons we choose to live just above the poverty line, and what we do own is owned by the Order, not us personally. No judge in their right mind would make someone homeless (iow, you can sue the poor, but you’ll never collect — you’ll still end up with the legal bills. Try buying groceries with a “moral victory”). It’s also not likely we would be prosecuted. OFFERING to copy software is not against the law. The law
requires physical evidence (a disk) and money to change hands. Also, I’m thinking that if the DEA doesn’t bother with anything less than 100 marijuana plants, then the FBI probably isn’t interested in a handful of disks.

But those who hate us use other tactics. We are constantly bombarded by email virii (which Norton thankfully eats for lunch). We record the IP numbers and report them to the administrators of the IP addresses they come from. One person called our ISP, posing as us, and requested we be turned off. We’ve taken measures to insure that can’t happen again. And lastly, trolls are always joining our various classes attempting to disrupt the flow of information, or attempt to put us in a bad light.

So yes, I’m hiding behind a false identity. If you have anything important to say, you’d better be too.

Posted circa Mabon, 2009