A Rose by Any Other Name

By John S. Frum | September 10, 2018

Mr. Elder dropped us a kind comment. I did try to reply privately, but failed. I am still in the dark as to how the Comment/Reply process works. I can only respond in an Letter to the Publisher and my Reply.

Good Morning,

RE: Milton Observer

I find your articles both informative and eloquent. My concern is that are all of the names/authors both residents of Milton and actual names of those who write them, or are they pseudonyms?

My concern in asking is that 1. Are you afraid of repercussion from your articles?, and 2. I have more faith and trust in articles when I know the author(s) are using their real name. It’s just personal with me, people not using their real name to inform others.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work. I may have some suggestion if you are ever interested in additional subject matters which I find pertinent to Milton Residents.


Les Elder

Milton NH

Dear Mr. Elder,

Thank you for your kind comment. I am so happy that you tumbled to our pseudonyms. (We prefer to think of them as nom-de-plumes). I thought they would be noticed months ago.

I insisted that our correspondents use one. Several good writers have chosen not to work with us because of this. They perhaps shared your concerns. We are residents of Milton, excepting our new Reviewer, Andrea Starr, who lives elsewhere in Strafford County.

You asked if we adopted pseudonyms out of fear of retaliation. Well, yes, we did, at least partly.

There is something in the air down there at the Emma Ramsey Center, something dysfunctional. I mean something apart from their odd notions about how the world works and the natural rights of a free people. I was at one meeting where someone mentioned that the town had churned through 11 town administrators in 10 years. I have not looked into it, but that does not sound good. That sounds bad.

Within just this last year, we have all seen the town government destroy a selectman and a treasurer – elected officials, mind you. I say destroy, because it was so vicious. No censure, no due process, no recall election, just a pack of wild dogs. And this is the “reform” government, mind you, correcting the ills of the past.

As near as I can tell from here in the cheap seats, both these “villains” seemed to have stepped across some indistinct 91-A line. Well, if you watch the little kabuki theater for a while, you will see that they are all contra-dancing back and forth across that line all the time. That is what they do.

We are taking off our Public hats now and putting on our Non-Public hats.

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out; You put your left foot in, and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey, and you give a little shout. That’s what it’s all about.

And now we are putting our Public hats back on again.

These two seemed to have miss-stepped while doing the hokey-pokey. Probably two left feet.

Now, remember, this 91-A purports to be New Hampshire’s version of the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was supposed to increase access to public information. All of this fuss is about handling the supposed very few exceptions to that principle.

I have seen the accusers themselves violate various courtesies, ethical principles, norms, protocols, and laws, including the sacred 91-A exceptions. I look up, waiting for the thunderclap and lightning bolt, but nothing happens.

So, it might be thought that it is not so much what is done, but who the transgressor is. I have seen that before. If they like you, you can do no wrong; if they do not, you can do no right. Selective enforcement. Yes, that is pretty much the definition of a risk.

I see no advantage in dropping breadcrumb trails to our doors, thank you. Not when there are wild dogs around.

A generation and more ago, writers in the Soviet Union published Samizdat. It means “self-published.” Typed and mimeographed typescripts passed secretly hand to hand. Lots of anonymity going on there.

Closer to home, the use of pseudonyms has an honorable history in the U.S. Both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers – the principal polemical arguments both for and against the U.S. Constitution – were written under the pseudonyms Brutus, Junius, Publius, etc., etc.. Dozens of names. They did not want their famous names or other personal factors to influence the arguments. The arguments should speak for themselves. They now use the collective pseudonym “The Founding Fathers.”

Samuel Clemens wrote under the pseudonym Mark Twain. Many, many literary and political writers have used pseudonyms or nom-de-plumes (pen names) at times.

We had a lot of fun picking out our nom-de-plumes.

We would appreciate very much your suggestions. (It is not as though we know what we are doing). Perhaps you would even consider writing something for us, a rebuttal even. The pay is somewhat light – nothing at all, in fact. Maybe you could be Moe Younger. Get it? Oops, I guess I “burned” that one.

The arguments, facts, and relations should speak for themselves, regardless of the nom-de-plumes. Confirm them for yourself in the References. I think that you will find that they all “check out.”


John S. Frum, Publisher


Wikipedia. (2018, August 9). Brenda Starr, Reporter. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Starr,_Reporter

Wikipedia. (2018, June 18). John Frum. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frum

Wikipedia. (2018, January 12). List of Pseudonyms Used in the American Constitutional Debates. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pseudonyms_used_in_the_American_Constitutional_debates

Wikipedia. (2018, September 3). Muriel Bristol. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muriel_Bristol

Wikipedia. (2018, August 12). Samizdat. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat

Wikipedia. (2018, September 5). Snake Plissken. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Plissken

Author: John S. Frum

"Founder, owner, editor, and I also sweep out the place."

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