Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Terror Of Anonymity


An essay titled The End of Solitude by William Deresiewicz is one of my favorites. Each time I read it, there is something new to ponder over. I have blogged about certain themes he discusses in it. In my most recent reading, I found myself thinking about  Deresiewicz's analysis on how connectivity and creativity converge at the our modern desire for visibility at some level. "The great contemporary terror is anonymity". If you search someone's name online and nothing comes up, it is as if this person does not exist. Whether or not that is terrifying for the person being sought, it is certainty disquieting for the seeker. I find the author's characterization of MySpace particularly easy to relate to :
"The MySpace page, with its shrieking typography and clamorous imagery, has replaced the journal and the letter as a way of creating and communicating one's sense of self. The suggestion is not only that such communication is to be made to the world at large rather than to oneself or one's intimates, or graphically rather than verbally, or performatively rather than narratively or analytically, but also that it can be made completely. Today's young people seem to feel that they can make themselves fully known to one another. They seem to lack a sense of their own depths, and of the value of keeping them hidden."
As the mother of a tween, I am naturally apprehensive about how J (when her time comes) will choose to communicate who she is to the world at large. It may no longer be MySpace then, but whatever replaces it is unlikely to any less "performative" or invasive .

2 comments:

NoWhere Man said...

I had read this article almost couple of years back. It was quite well written indeed.

As the mother of a tween, I am naturally apprehensive about how J (when her time comes) will choose to communicate who she is to the world at large. It may no longer be MySpace then, but whatever replaces it is unlikely to any less "performative" or invasive .


I find it amusing that in an article about solitude and the importanc eof having 'me' time , you have to end it with a line which betrays your sense of identity as a 'mother'. So where is your solitude ?

- NM

oneandonly said...

"As the mother of a tween" - "teen" you mean..