Anonymous R Us?

Today's column concerns whether Vince Fumo's prison email screeds should be relevant in next week's resentencing.

Don't get me wrong, I found the emails as entertaining as the next reader. Couldn't help but giggle at one newsy nugget included in one of the court filings from federal prosecutors in which Fumo ranted to his son about a shared irritation: commenters.

Philadelphia Weekly's Tara Murtha recently opined about the anonymous hecklers who, for better but usually worse, control my professional future. They come, they click, they vent and leave a trail of tears in their wake.

I wasn't surprised when another journalist winced at the venom being spewed by readers. But who would have thought that Fumo, of all people, would be similarly sickened?

In one of the email exchanges from May, Fumo asks his son to stop including the derisive online comments attached to the bottom of each story about his case -- and plots his own anonymous counterattack.

"please don't send me any more," Fumo writes, using a well-chosen slur to describe his nameless, faceless foes. "And if you want to do me a favor, make up what appears to be a legitimate phony name like John Smith and challenge them to expose themselves and give their names next time. Call them p------ if they don't! Love, Dad XO"

The younger Fumo was already one step ahead of dear old Dad.

"I've done that before," he wrote. "It doesn't make any difference."

-- Monica Yant Kinney

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