On Anonymity

So who exactly am I?

In the words of Number 2: That would be telling.

In reality, my name is—

But that’s not the point of this post. This is not one of those whodunit posts (or I guess it would be a whoisit post?). Nor is it one of those gotta-get-this-anonymity-off-my-chest things. Sure, I’d like to tell you all, but as they say, now is neither the time nor place.

The point of this post is about living in anonymity on the internet.

Some people may see it as vain (not as in self-obsessed, as in useless. If I were self-obsessed, my picture would be everywhere, not nowhere!), while other people see it as a necessary step to take in protecting yourself on the internet.

I side more with those who feel it’s a necessary step. It’s not the internet that can’t be trusted, it’s people. And while I think most of you are nice, decent people in the real world, well, there are those people who just aren’t. I’m sure you can sympathize.

On the other hand, it does get annoying. A human without a face is like a clock without hands. Like a plant without leaves. Like a baseball without that red stitching. We relate with faces. We recognize faces. When we talk with people, we look at their face, not their feet, or their right shoulder. (Well, maybe some of you talk with people’s feet. Just sayin.)

I do it not only for internet safety, but for future-proofing myself against celebrity. Now don’t go telling me that you don’t have any dreams of becoming famous too! (Although if you did, I’d probably believe you.) I dream of someday having my work become famous. Not necessarily my person. Writers aren’t stalked/paparazzi’d/crushed in mobs like movie stars and music stars are. But there’s always a chance of something crazy happening. Also, it would be nice to be walking through the library, and to overhear someone talking about a book I’ve written without them turning and asking for autographs.

Autographs. *Shudder.* You know, sometimes I think about what I would do if I met a famous person. Would I ask for their autograph, ask them to sing a song, ask them to have a picture taken with me…? Or, would I pretend like they’re nobody special, and try to make their day by not trying to make mine? It’s the chance of a lifetime, but would you give it up to make their life a little less miserable?

Anyway, aside aside, that’s the reasons for my facelessness (although, it seems that all I need to show is my eyes and my left ear for me to become unfaceless!). That’s the reason for silhouettes and side-shots, banners across my face and words over my eyes. Those are the reasons for my eye-and-left-earlessness.

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10 thoughts on “On Anonymity

  1. Oh, J.P.! I do understand your reasoning. As a matter of fact my lack of anonymity has created a problem for me and the memoir I am writing! I’ve told too many people that I am writing one about our years in the itinerant ministry, and that I am writing it under a pen name, that as soon as it comes out (which of course it will and I’ll be paid an advance of 6 figures [$.000001] for it!) everyone will know it was written by yours truly. My intention is to protect the innocent, and to protect myself from the guilty.

    On the other hand, in this day and time, no one is anonymous. My address, phone number, e-mail addresses, and yes, even my name (and my height, weight, shoe size, etc.) can be discovered by anyone who really wants to know, so. . .I guess I’ll continue being my public self. Being “public” also pushes me to make certain that whatever I write is something I don’t mind having my name (and my family’s) attached to. I wish I could say that I am proud (in a literary sense) of everything I have written and/or posted, but unfortunately, later readings of a lot of it cause me a great deal of embarrassment! I can’t believe sometimes that I was was willing to publish some of the awful stuff that I have written – and that at the time i thought was pretty good! Live and learn. . .

    By the way, J.P. – you missed my reply to your comment recently, so I’m putting it here – I don’t want you to miss this “gauntlet throwing” challenge I have made. . .

    The Best of Times/Rhymes/Crimes
    © 2012 PTC

    2012 – the year of “The Bad”
    A year when the best of it’s sure to be had.
    Or is it the innocent public who
    Will be had while reading our tributes to
    Rhyming and scheming and spouting off
    On whatever subjects we find in the trough:
    That place we are known to frequently plumb
    And search for horses – smart or dumb –
    Who have been led there, but choose not to drink
    Which leads you and I to erroneously think
    That our poetry, though bad, has hidden meaning.
    So we blatantly share it, constantly preening
    Our feathers, brilliant and multi-hued
    For we are the poets much bally-hooed –
    Known to all as the “best of the bad”
    At luring in suckers who want to be had.

    So, my friend. . .beat that! 😆

      • Hey, that sounds like a great idea! How about we open a publishing company called “Public Domain.” Along the same lines. Money, money, money…

    • Your poems make me laugh.
      And I claim to be master, but
      The last laugh has yet to be had.
      So eat this one, and glory in The Bad
      That’s about to unfold,
      Bad verse untold,
      As filthy as filth and as moldy as mold!
      Geranium, hyacinth, orchids and florid
      Uranium, buy a synth or bid on morbid
      Novels by Dickens, dark verse by Poe,
      Hovels with chickens, and larks for the Pope.
      Don’t stop to overstep your boundaries,
      Don’t hop on Hotep or foundries,
      Cause that’s where gold is made,
      And hats are scaring old maids,
      When the bird’s in the hat, but the bird is the poet,
      Who preening and scheming and poeming terribly
      The curds in the whey, and the herds storm pagodas,
      And screaming with feelings of foreign unbearably
      Terrible poetry,
      Vacation in Coventry,
      My name is Nobody,
      I’m the anonymous
      Flawnimous, gawnimous,
      Ponzimus squanzimous
      Unfamous
      DAS CABIT!!!!!!!

      *epic bow*

      Beat THAT,
      You poetic GNAT!

    • alas, you are correct t.s. those pictures of “joseph” are actually a blend of stock clips and miscellaneous model parts. you would not believe the royalties those guys charge…ugh, humans! and j.p.’s “plant room” that he alludes to, well that’s actually the mother ship. me and the other plants are waiting to be set loose by our alien masters to overtake the world!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Hey Tessa. Remind me never to let Planty type a reply comment. Wow, he’s getting more and more out of control as the years go by. Mischievous creature. 😉

  2. I love these new colors a great deal more. 😀

    As regards the apparent art form of bad poetry, I’m afraid I must leave my hat on my head out of the ring. My minstrels could never abide my attempt at an entry. I shall content myself with rooting for you instead. Go-o-o-o, Planty! (Or are we supposed to pay no attention to the plant behind the curtain?)

    My, but it would be strange to be recognized by strangers. It can be inconvenient enough to be recognized by people I know! Still, I like to be able to look at author photos at book’s end (unless it’s a rather poor photo, which always makes me wonder why anyone okayed the shot, but I guess I don’t know what they’re going for and so shouldn’t judge), and tend to feel a bit disappointed when I’m obliged to do without. “Do unto readers”, I always say (for the first time), so anonymity’s not for me. I’ll just run my photos by my sisters before letting them go to print; I won’t get away with diddily, then.

    • You people are going to blow my cover!!!

      Oh, come on, give it a shot! Bad poetry is fun because you…don’t have to be…good…at it…just, um—baaaaad…

      Hmm, good point. Maybe I should just have my author photos taken with sunglasses. Thanks for your insights!

      Oh, and I’m glad you like the color change. I do too. It looks less like a sleepy sepia lounge in here, more like a walk outdoors, I think.

    • There’s a very delicate balance. It has to be good enough to be entertaining, but baaad enough to make you cringe. So, stretching rhymes, cramming too many syllables into one line, pumping it full of non-sequiters…Check this blog out to see what I mean.

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