A year ago I was interviewed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy on the theme of "where are all the philanthropy blogs?" Today the scene is far more interesting, as evidenced by the growing list of giving blogs listed on our left hand side bar. Now, here is a good question for future articles: "Why are so many of the most outspoken and interesting philanthropy blogs (gifthub excepted) posted beneath a mask? Iconoclasm and philanthropy, or even humor and philanthropy, seem not to go together very well. There is something about big money that brings out the Golden Calf worshipper even in Moses. I mean what is one Commandment more or less? Everything is negotiable. What blogs provide is a back channel in which the pomposity and hypocrisy, so much of the hackery and flakery, of so much philanthropy talk can be exposed, satirized, and sent up. Solemn or ingratiating is not the right tone for discussing the role of money, whether in business, government or philanthropy, in setting our country's course. Money is smart and has learned in our time how to filter its agenda through strategic giving for hopelessly partisan ends. Who will discuss or expose this, except an insider under an alias? Far easier to put ideologues in charge of philanthropic associations, treat them with the respect due their high office, and carry on as usual - as a Fool among Knaves.
Rageboy, one the first bloggers and still one of the most vehement used to talk about "ripping the fucking lid off" corporate discourse, which talks to us, not with us, as if we were dunces who admired their flakery and hype. Maybe the time has come to rip the lid off strategic philanthropy? If so, probably best to do it under an assumed name - since giving is an unforgiving field, and what goes around comes around. Omerta! my friends. We are all one big Family.
Thinking of Publius and the masked pamphleteers among our Founding Fathers, what begins with carnival, ends with revolution and democracy. After awhile the mask slips and we appear in the public square, not as consumers or servants of wealth and power, but as citizens speaking freely in our own new found voices. Blogging will revolutionize philanthropy in that way, by restoring its accountability to ordinary citizens - the public in public good. The public philanthropy serves.