Name and Address, by T. S. Matthews

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. "Name and Address, by T. S. Matthews." Commentary Magazine, July, 1960.


Some time ago there was an exchange program for English and American journalists, in the course of which a member of the staff of the Economist was briefly attached to Time. Apart from the obvious differences of tone and style between the two magazines, what impressed the English visitor was the different functions served by the same device of anonymity. The anonymity of the Economist is intended to protect the independence and individuality of the writer, the anonymity of Time to subvert independence and obscure individuality. An editor of the Economist is, behind his anonymity, a personality and a power; he has the ear of ministers, the respect of professors, the entrée to other organs of opinion and authority. An editor of Time is more likely to be unknown to everyone except his immediate colleagues; his only public existence, his only identity, is on the masthead. (English magazines do not bother to have mastheads.) Anonymity, which in England is a convention, in America has become a reality.