Lee Siegel, who was suspended from the New Republic for posting anonymous Web comments to defend his own writing, has elaborated on why he has no shame about having pretended to be someone called "sprezzatura." Count the excuses! His cruel, greedy editors were at fault, because they would not delete offensive comments. The online commenters were at fault, because they did not understand how criticism worked, were conformists and needed to be challenged with a taste of their own medicine. He, Lee Siegel, was at fault because he kind of meant to get caught. And, finally, the Bush administration was at fault for undermining trust in authorities like Lee Siegel:

I began to feel that perhaps the almost total delegitimisation of political figures in the US - a process hastened by our current idiotic and criminal regime - was now being visited upon cultural figures, and in particular upon critics. It was no accident, after all, that the blogosphere really took off in the years since Bush became president, especially after the start of the Iraq war. The feeling now - post-Judith Miller's resignation from the New York Times over her inaccurate reports about Iraq's WMD - is that if it appears in the mainstream media, it's bullshit; whereas if it's on the internet, it's the truth.

See? If W. hadn't cynically decided that the end justifies the means with regard to Iraq, Siegel would never have had to fabricate a false identity in order to defend himself. Well said, sprezzatura.