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Pseudonyms In The News

The Wall Street Journal reports that the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, posted on the Yahoo! Finance board for Whole Foods under the pseudonym Rahodeb, which is an anagram of Mackey's wife's given name. (It's also an anagram of "A Bread Ho," but since the WSJ doesn't stoop to that sort of cheap joke, it falls upon me.)

Rahodeb apparently posted prolifically for eight years, quitting last August. While some people are clucking their tongues at this, it seems that if a CEO is going to natter about his own company, it's okay if we're all surprised that it was him when he's outed.

Mackey says in his defense that he did a lot of trolling. "The views articulated by rahodeb sometimes represent what I actually believed and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes I simply played 'devil's advocate' for the sheer fun of arguing. Anyone who knows me realizes that I frequently do this in person, too." For example, when someone on the board made fun of Mackey's haircut, Rahodeb said, "I think he looks cute!"

His final defense at any tongue-clucking comes from the circumstances under which he stopped posting as Rahodeb. He made a bet with Hubris12000 about the performance of Whole Foods stock, and that bet required that he stop posting if he lost. I think we've all seen web boards with both Rahodeb and Hubris12000 and didn't know which side to cheer for.

Full disclosure: "Mordaxus" is an anagram of "Doxmursa" which is thankfully not my SO's name. "Pseudonym" is an anagram of "Does my pun?" which is ungrammatical, but an interesting question nonetheless.

Photo "This Bread is Such a Ho" courtesy of Jason and Heather.