ARMCHAIR ARCHIVES – When Christ wants to be anonymous, something is wrong

Christ being escorted from heavy metal concert. (Image: Facebook)

A man dressed as Jesus Christ was arrested for unknown reasons (although some reports say he spent the night in the drunk tank) at a heavy metal concert in Penticton last week. I met Christ almost 30 years ago, and wrote about it in the following column published in the Kamloops Daily News on March 19, 1994. But the real point of the column was the increasing tendency of people wanting to complain, but not wanting to put their names behind their complaints. The column was headlined “It’s an anonymous society.”

I HAVE PROOF,” said the gentleman at the front counter a couple of days ago, “that I am Christ.”

He seemed a little nervous about revealing such important information, and I confess I wasn’t exactly sure what I should do with it.

“I don’t get it,” I blurted.

A few uneasy moments elapsed as the man thought about how he should deal with the dunce standing before him.

“I have proof,” he said, completely serious. “I have witnesses.”

“Witnesses to what?”

His opinion of editors was obviously getting lower by the second.

“To this,” he said, holding up a newspaper clipping about the Last Supper. “People were there who can tell you. I can get them for you.”

He waited for it to sink in.

“How about writing a letter to the editor about it?” I suggested.

He asked, “Would I have to sign it?”

The idea of Christ announcing his Second Coming via an anonymous letter to the editor struck me a bit funny, but I explained that only under the rarest of circumstances do we withhold names from letters. He eventually left to consider the matter.

The desire for anonymity is a problem in this trade, and it’s growing.

During the course of any given day, at least a couple of dozen people call up with complaints, news tips or story ideas. Many don’t want to be identified.

Sometimes it’s understandable. A woman phoned to say her boyfriend went somewhere to get a massage and ended up paying for sex in a back room. She wanted the Daily News to expose the situation. But, of course, she didn’t want names used.

Then there was a guy who called to complain about his neighbour, whose CB transmissions kept coming over his TV set. Problem was that the neighbour was using foul language.

Tough to do a story on anonymous neighbours, but neighbours complaining about neighbours commonly don’t want their names used. They get mad and want the media to even the score.

A lot of good issues and concerns don’t see the light of day because people won’t stand up and be counted.

A mother wrote in about the theft of her teenaged daughter’s wallet while she was at a local shopping mall. The mom wanted the thief to know how devastating the consequences of his/ her actions were.

“She has been robbed of some savings. More importantly she has been robbed of her faith in humankind. It has been sad and painful to be disillusioned at age 14.”

Why did she not want names used? “Embarrassment.”

Another anonymous reader wrote about the theft of her granddaughter’s sweater from a local restaurant while they were dining. Three nights later, the granddaughter spotted the sweater on a teenager walking along a street and confronted her. The thief confessed.

Then the writer made a very important point. “She did a stupidly childish act with the theft, but she did an extremely dangerous thing by walking on the road by herself at that time of night.

This is not far from where Sherri McLaughlin went missing. If this letter educates even one girl of the dangers out there, it will be worth writing.”

Someone wrote recently about the upheaval in the library system. “There is nothing wrong with change, but when it has been foisted upon a smooth-running system as a result of political mumbo-jumbo and egocentric posturing then there must be something sadly amiss. Sad, isn’t it, how people who have absolutely no concept of how something operates, are able to determine the fate of the operation.”

Sadder still, when people are afraid to put their names to what they say ¬ — she wanted to remain anonymous, lest her library job was threatened.

People seem to stay away from active participation in community life and debate, instead sending out messages from their cocoon, and it robs us all of important information and discussion.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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