Saturday, August 21, 2004


so who wants to know?
there are obviously certain self-descriptive protocols that operate as contextual thumbnails according to the circumstances: the summary of our selves that we offer to others is subject to endless nuances of modification.
if, for instance, in answer to the formulaic, "so what do you do?" I were to reply, "well, I started off working for an art dealer but I got laid off then I was a lay preacher for a bit and I trained as a missionary but I've been unemployed for the last ten years and my brother supports me and I have a bit of a drink problem but I'm into art therapy and that helps" - it would be unsurprising if my innocent interlocutor were to suddenly check his watch and remember that he was late for an appointment.
if, on the other hand, I were to reply, "I own Microsoft" - I'd expect you to be a little more attentive, as, indeed, you would have been if I'd originally stuck to - "I'm a painter. what's with the ear-bandage? I cut myself shaving."
we mere mortals mostly adopt a chancy shorthand - something generically truthful (I'm a teacher/student/graphic designer) rather than the actually, specifically truthful (I'm a failed actor/a heroin addict/I have testicular cancer) as 'About', simply because the latter set, albeit containing the over-riding definitions, the defining motivational characteristics that eclipse all others in those personal cosmos', have no social currency except on 'reality' TV or in confessional magazine features.
truth, generally speaking, is unbearable.
so those About Me's that are (mostly) there for the clicking-on in the menu bars of the majority of blogs need, I think, to be taken with a pinch of salt. if they're not generic, bland, and boring (I'm a thirty-year-old mother of four and part-time torturer's apprentice from Paris, Texas, and I like reading Baudelaire and Counting Crows), they're most likely going to be 'entertaining' and boring (I'm an 18-year-old fifty kilo gymnast in a forty-year-old one-thirty kilo unemployed security guard's frame, and I like tarantulas, pizza, and counting crows). certainly, neither is going to be 'true'. especially the ones that are barely-disguised come-ons - see what a wonderfully attractive and exciting guy/gal I am - wouldn't you like to be my friend? leave a comment.
one of my favourite blogs is a totally anonymous one - xymphora - who just posts under a cryptic tag on a site totally devoid of style or decoration, with no contact details, no comments, no about me, nothing but his intriguingly well-informed, slightly psychotic, somewhat conspiracy theorist commentary on global wrongdoings. he reminds me of a gothic gargoyle, gurning on the pious complacent pomposities passing through the cathedral doors below, and occasionally dowsing them in a cold shower. I'm sure he'd be a complete pain in the arse to actually meet, but his viewpoint is from somewhere the mainstream media - whose compromised affiliations he despises with surpassing biliousness - never get anywhere close.
xymphora would approach my own ideal of the artist - a completely anonymous creator, totally aloof from the twentieth-century cult of the individual bullshit (I'll discuss that another day) - if it weren't for one personality flaw giveaway: he's still sufficiently vain to keep a counter on his site - which rather endears me to him (or is that the other way round? - never been sure of that).
(oh, and yes, I'm fairly sure he is a he - check his style out for yourself on the gender genie - which is a fun way of passing an idle hour, by the way.)
so - to return to my original question - who wants to know?
my take is - if anyone out there really wanted to know, they'd ask - it 's happened a couple of times - no, really, it has - hi phil, hi sarah - and meantime, I assume this stuff is just being sifted in the manner it's being deployed - as spindrift on the surf, something that catches a rainbow from time to time.

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