Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where is the Mystery?

In this era of transparency, what would happen if we didn't pull back the curtain and see that the Wizard was just a man?

In this past week's Sunday Times magazine  writer Jenna Wortham highlights visual artist Madelyn Beckles and other self-promoters of her ilk as they pull back the curtain on their internet searches revealing the dark data of who they really are when no one is looking. Is this a new concept? Teenage boys have been doing things when they thought no one was looking for centuries. And there are lots and lots of people who still do.

It's called Privacy. 

The same way we don't say every thought that comes to mind, most of us relish the fact that we have our own silent Walter Mitty-like fantasies that get us through the slog of the day. 

I find this 'share all conceit' off-putting to the say the least and probably bordering on dangerous narcissistic behavior. But the curtain of anonymity allows for all to be revealed without really revealing it all. Everyone is aware that 'reality TV' is no more real than a scripted show, and UnReal, Lifetime's brilliant, insider skewering of reality TV blazingly illuminated that.

But to all of these revealers I have one thought: Who cares? Apparently lots of people do, so I guess I'm in the minority on that because these screen shots of their haphazard and seemingly random searches will be displayed in a Toronto gallery and have been bound into an art book entitled "Babe."

The fascination here, other than the obvious one being that these internet searchers love themselves a bit too much is the dichotomy of what we project to the world and the down and dirty version of who we really are. We may think of ourselves as designer clothing and pearls, but our internet searches reveals bustiers and silk handcuffs is who we really are.

Again, sorry if I'm repeating myself but Who Cares? In the twitter-sphere of celebrity catfights and social admonishments by Lena Dunham and other peolpe with large numbers of followers weighing in on everything political or social, the whiny self-absorbed generation of relentless self-promotion is gauche and exhausting.

For those who think every one of their thoughts is worth sharing because they subsisted on reality TV growing up, I say stop...I beg of you, just stop. Of course it's childlike to wish for the naive days of believing in the tooth fairy but how about allowing for that natural process of discovery...that air of mystery? 

Isn't the most thrilling part of meeting someone new discovering the layers and facets of all of them? How interesting would it be if we all just handed each other screenshots of our internet searches and said Here's All of, yuck. 

Why don't we think that some things can be special or scared? Aren't we allowed to hold something dear? The best part about a crush is the secret of it...the delicious knowledge that the unreality of it will be way better than the actualization of it.

The best movie stars of yore...Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth...promised boundless possibilities with the raise of an eyebrow, a sway of a me old fashioned, but allow me a shred of my imagination to take me through the grimy subway rides and reality of life....sometimes the best way to get through a tough day is imagining you're someone else doing something completely different. The Wizard did more good before the curtain was pulled back, staying in the background as he allowed us to discover ourselves.

So please, indulge in your fantasies out of the glare of the public eye, and do us all a favor, and don't tell anyone about it.


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