Our dear colleague Roland Boer, proprietor of the most cleverly named blog around and one of the most prolific men alive, has pointed out a curious thing: it seems that a commenter going by the name of Alasdair Maclagan is going around defending Milbank on the internet in a way that evinces an intimate knowledge of even the most obscure of Milbank’s texts (see a sample). What’s more, the e-mail address he uses in WordPress appears to be the same as Milbank’s own.
Surely this situation is difficult to account for. Yet if I had to venture an analysis, I’d say that there seem to be two possibile explanations. First, Milbank is
engaging in sock-puppetry posting under a pseudonym. Many people regard pseudonymous posting in one’s own defense as sock-puppetry and as pathetic behavior, an attempt to create the appearance of broader support for one’s own position than actually exists. If one were in the business of providing positive spin, however, perhaps Milbank reasons that if he used his real name, people would be intimidated and not debate as vigorously. Second, this could be an elaborate scheme to discredit Milbank by making it appear that he is engaged in sock-puppetry.
Which possibility is it? As with the eternal question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know. Whoever he is, though, it seems clear that Alasdair Maclagan is going to have an ever-increasing amount of work on his hands as more and more people get ahold of Milbank’s essay in The Monstrosity of Christ. Perhaps the burden will be too great and he’ll disappear into the mist.