Earlier today, “impalergeneral”, a prolific staff writer at Whedonopolis, removed his byline after more than five years on the job.

He was best known for some interesting reviews, an episode guide of “Dollhouse”, and interviews with several Whedon alumni, including the original Buffy, Kristy Swanson.

He decided to remove his byline after a couple of friends of his suggested he use his real name. It would look better on his resume, for example. Besides, what’s an “impalergeneral”? It may sound good as an alias when posting on fan boards, but that’s so 15 years ago. The internet is now recognized as the press, even as much as TV or newspaper writers.

So, with a couple of clicks, “impalergeneral” left Whedonopolis for good.

He was replaced by some old balding guy named David Mello.

And yes, it’s ME!

David Mello

If you checked my Twitter handle of @impalergeneral (which stays because having odd-sounding aliases is still cool in Twitter), my real name is on display. Same thing at my Facebook page.

So why did I use “impalergeneral”, anyway?

It just occurred to me that 15 years ago this month, I used it for the first time on the original WB Bronze board. Back in those days, everyone had their own internet nicknames or “titles” in the fan section of the Buffyverse. When I first had to come up with my own “title”, I called myself an Associate Watcher.

Then I made a mistake in the spring of 1998: my reporter job at a radio station in Yuba City was interfering with my Buffy watching, especially when political debates were scheduled on Tuesday. So, I just decided not to watch the second season finale, “Belonging”. After all, what would I have missed?

Nothing much, really…aside from the end of the world as we knew it: Buffy leaves town, her friends and mother after she killed Angel and exposed her true identity to her mom. Thankfully, I decided to tape that two-part story, then watch it at the start of season three when September rolled around. That worked OK, but it taught me never to do that again. Over the summer I kept posting about why the show kept Buffy’s mom blissfully ignorant about what Buffy was really doing at night, and how it couldn’t last forever. I never read the responses to those posts, but I sure apologized to everyone after I found out what I had missed.

I decided to change my handle to “Impaler General”, which I thought would have been the title for whoever led the Watcher’s Council. The name sounded so catchy, I used it as my all-purpose internet alias. It’s why one of my blogs is called The Notorious IG, which talks about anything from the sudden end of the Twinkie or a movie I just saw.

As of today, I’ll go by my real name at Whedonopolis..and even show my face. I’m not sure if this will make me 2 percent more famous…or one-fifth of one percent, but at least you can connect the article with a real name. After 15 years, it’s time for a change. The internet is real media and not just a virtual water cooler/chat room anymore. It’s time to use real names.

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