I got an e-mail message from someone who signed his name as “Silas Grey,” about the current troubles at The American Scholar. The message suggested that
the Board under John Churchill haven’t been doing their job, have ignored their financial responsibilities for a considerable — maybe a long — time. This sorry situation should have been foreseen, and acted upon at the first signs of rot setting in. Given that the Board’s inaction or ineffectiveness have led us to the current point where TAS will inevitably suffer in quality, become much less of a rallying standard in the pursuit of excellence, should the Board members not be held accountable?
Naturally, as a member of the Board, this was aimed directly at me, and written to get a response. Boards of directors are popular targets these days, but this may be a first for a board of editors.
Anyway, after reading the message, and before I responded, I Googled “Silas Grey.” Mainly I wanted to know who I was communicating with; I also had to odd feeling that it might be an alias, as the last person I’d enountered named “Silas” as Silas Marner. And Mr. Grey indicated that he was part of an online writing group, so I figured that there was some chance of his existence having imprinted itself on the Internet. (That metaphor makes the Web sound a bit like the Turin Shroud.)
Google returned about 15 hits, none pointing to a living Silas Grey.
I wrote back anyway, but that sneaking suspicion that I was dealing with a pseudonym was now stronger, and I was a bit more cautious that I might have been otherwise.
I now assume that if you exist and are real, that Google will find you.
Will I hear from Mr. Grey again? Stay tuned.