Monday, February 28, 2005

"...We're Lost in a Masquerade"

"Are we really happy here
With this lonely game we play
Looking for words to say
Searching but not finding understanding anyway
We're lost in a masquerade..."

Thank you, George Benson, singer/guitarist extraordinaire, for those[hopefully correct]lyrics.

I couldn't help but think of them today after a "conversation" I had with a fellow blogger re. blogging vs. silence.

Many of us have taken names for ourselves via which to blog -- we are keeping our true identities secret from those who know us. But are we in fact remaining secret? So many of us drop enough clues or personal stories that give us away. I never told anyone other than my husband and my children that I blog. But last week, a friend linked to me through a roundabout source in my published article and she had this to say: "Oh my G-d, you're TorontoPearl, you're Pearlies of Wisdom. Why didn't you tell me? (sniff!)" But this friend knows me, knows what's going in my life, knows how I think -- there was really no need for her to read my words and know about my online identity.

But as we bloggers mill about in blogland, I can't help but think of a costume party in which the guests wear elaborate masks to hide their identities from fellow partygoers. Are we not like these guests, wearing our blogging names like masks so that we won't be found out? Yes, it's a bit daring, thrilling even to wear the blogging name and remain incognito, isn't it?

What if we bloggers were to remove those masks, those names, use our real names and say, "I don't have a blog. I have a Web site. Perhaps you'd like to check it out...."

Yes, "...we're lost in a masquerade."


With Love said...

Hi Pearl,

I think I read this post just as it came on line!

My own "anonymity" is also an interesting question. On the one hand, I've told several people who know me about my blog, so I'm not anonymous in that way. On the other hand, I haven't told my community in general - or even some of my good friends, and I haven't even figured out the rule by which I decide whom to tell and whom not to tell.

Supposedly I'm writing anonymously for the sake of my family's privacy, but if any member of my community were to stumble on my blog, s/he would immediately know that it was mine (this in fact happened at least once, and there may be others who have found me out but who haven't mentioned it to me in order to respect my wish to remain anonymous). As a result, I never write anything anyway that would be a real breach of my children's privacy. And to top it all off, why should I care if strangers who read my blog know my full name?

The only reason I can think of why I'm not using my own name or the real names of my children is that writing semi-anonymously enables me in some mysterious way to write more freely than I would otherwise. Even if I don't write things that my children wouldn't want other people to know, I feel less constrained than I would were I to cast off my "anonymity." As it is, I work hard to find way to write about difficult things in a non-intrusive way. I believe my blog is better and deeper as a result, because this way I touch on things I would otherwise hesitate to discuss as the "real" me.


Cosmic X said...


1) Nice blog!

2) The song "This Masquerade" was written by Leon Russell.

Doctor Bean said...

Greetings. The mask is important to keep my professional and personal lives seperate. In my professional life I'm neutral and caring and discuss no matters of controversy. In my personal life I'm a crazy-right-wing religious Jew living in a very liberal town (Los Angeles) with strong opinions that I never get to vent but online.

Nomad said...

I never thought those masks at the masquerade balls did much for anonymity. I mean, as an audience member, I still know who Audrey Hepburn is, even if the nobility around her can't make the connection.

I reckon it's a little bit like that with blogs. If somebody really wants to go to the trouble of figuring out who I am, they're welcome to. I've surely posted enough personal information for them to do it. But, the anonymity is kind of fun. Like one of those silly masquerade masks.