"Digby" prolifically pumps out her dispatches from the People's Republic of Santa Monica, a few miles from Huffington's West Coast office. Her writing gives no gender clues, she comes off like a vengeful prosecutor—and the logo on her otherwise bare-bones site, which she calls Hullabaloo (digbysblog.blogspot.com), shows a screaming Howard Beale in a classic scene from Network.
Last year, after Digby stepped front and center to accept the coveted Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award on behalf of progressive bloggers everywhere, her speech was slapped up on YouTube, and devoted readers were stunned to learn Digby was not an angry young man but, in fact, an ironic, round-faced woman. One who, after the appearance, quickly retreated from the spotlight. And now, in one small step for blogging but a giant one for Digby, the writer has consented to come out of hiding for her first print Q&A.I interviewed her via email at her secure location—which, of course, shall remain undisclosed.
JESSE KORNBLUTH: Can you tell us anything about yourself?
DIGBY: I'm a married, middle-aged woman who spent many years toiling in the entertainment industry.
How did you get from Hollywood to Blogland?
Simple. President Clinton's impeachment and the 2000 election. It was either blog or put my foot through the TV.
If blogging didn't exist, what would you be doing now?
Probably writing those repetitive letters to the editor where the handwriting runs off the margin.
Why call your site Hullabaloo?
Because one function of blogs is to cause a ruckus.
What's your point in showing Howard Beale in full rant? Do you identify?
It's in this line from Network: "You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube...You even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion."
Why do you blog anonymously?
I'm extremely private. And I feel my ideas should stand on their own without the authority (or lack thereof) of my own story.
But with one appearance, you lost some of the mystique. Was that a mistake?
My lack of gender identity precluded some of the online sexism, derision and rudeness that are so common for women writers. I've since been schooled in the phenomenon.
You weren't raised as a liberal. You once wrote, "Nobody could get my dad frothing like the Kennedys—Teddy especially." What changed?