Some wee millennial was making snarky comments about the blog the other day, and I do realise that I am not your usual chick, so I thought we could make today’s post about public persona.
I am going to talk about David Wolfe and Ina Disguise, since this is an abnormal representation of abnormal personas formed by at least one and a half perfectly normal people who know exactly what the rules are and exactly how to break them. (sorry David, but I genuinely have no idea about the other fifty percent as I stopped looking some time ago. I think I know, but I do not have any confidence that my idea is correct. I do know that my idea of you is better than yours, so I keep going anyway.)
The game of Peek -a-boo is a game that all mammals understand. I have even tried playing peek-a-boo with young mice, and they understand it too. The game of peek-a-boo is all about you, your ego, and your relationship with the world via your eyes.
Creating a public persona is very similar to peek-a-boo. There is you, there is your hand, there is the outside world. Many people create public personas to lessen the effects of the outside world by creating a ‘hand’ in the form of a public persona. This persona necessarily includes elements of you, but it does not entirely represent you, as features such as your enthusiasm for scrubbing floors or counting floor tiles everywhere you go are excluded. You would be surprised at the number of glamorous stars that suffer from OCD (I am not one of those, incidentally.)
Here is a peek at my character:
Some years ago, I was on a course in a fairly rough part of Glasgow. There were a couple of guys on the course with learning difficulties, and I spent more time helping them than doing my own work. I was condemned as a ‘manpleaser’ by one of the older women on the course as a result, as she did not perceive what was going on. I learned a lot about why people in traditionally class-beaten households do not try to progress, and I learned a lot about how social pressures dissuade people from trying to do anything for fear of chastisement from their peers.
I considered writing a book called ‘Manpleaser,’ since I know that would get a lot of readers, but I was still too anxious and jumpy in those years to go ahead and do it. I am from a fairly repressive family, as regular readers will note, and my mother continued laying on the ‘sex’ guilt really until I turned forty. Now she laughs when she considers that she has effectively prevented me having a normal life, but that is another story. She may not be the nicest or most logical person in the world, it still does not mean that I would condemn her to misery. In any case, the point is, my natural reaction was to make the findings of my mini-experiment public, via an entertaining and slightly naughty book. My nurtured reaction was to cringe and become extremely upset.
I had a similar problem with the artwork. My artwork was done, in the past, as presents for the people concerned, not to get a response, but as a souvenir. Many people in my life actually got their presents, and many more did not, as I was told that I should be ashamed of my gift making habit.
Even women of some intelligence are inclined to condemn each other for going after what they want, so I have taken care, since my twenties, to avoid them. I think it is far more interesting to ignore social mores, such as waiting to be asked out, being nearby and looking pretty, making oneself available and not making any statements. I think it is challenging for the reader, and I think it promotes a certain freedom that most people are not capable of giving themselves. Therefore, when I heard the immortal words ‘chicks dig it,’ a bell sounded and David became my muse. The few people who are aware of my other self will know that I was considerably healthier for some time as a result.
My limited experience of David is that, although he is rather easily flattered, he is a perfectly normal person with a perfectly normal range of feelings, including a very similar rageburst to my own. So although much of my work as Ina is promoting David’s public persona, there is a genuine empathy. My understanding of some of David’s maligned activities in the past are from the experience of an overworked, over-generous at times, over-affectionate and over-emotional manager of a self-created situation. I thought long and hard about it before I came up with Ina as the solution. There were many alternatives to Ina, but Ina was the most effective, the most flexible and the most amusing solution to a complex problem.
What was this problem?
David fails to communicate with people offering to help, because he perceives that most of them are timewasters and he is aware that people can turn on you at any given moment, whether you are good or bad.
David likes to think that he does not take his career seriously, when the truth is that I have never seen someone take their career as seriously as he does.
There are holes in his work which cause a lot of his efforts to be wasted, and since I cannot discuss them directly, the only thing I can do is throw hints in the form of coloured marbles in fictional text.
Some of David’s associates are less useful than he believes them to be, and this wastes valuable time in terms of his ambitions. (both genders)
I would like him to exceed his own ambitions, not be killed or made miserable by them.
Now, my efforts as Ina are small, but I am told by more committed writers that I have done extremely well in the last couple of years, despite a minimal marketing budget and effort, and a work ethic which is constantly interrupted by my other commitments. Once the game is completed, we should have a nice diverse range of cultural strands off the ground, and my hope is that other artists/writers/game makers will pick up the ball and run with it. This is how cultural influence works. People like me scavenge concepts, juggle them, sculpt them a bit and send them on their way, for no real reason other than that we like doing it. As I was saying about new social media concepts, if we all made some effort to promote things we liked, we would not be left sitting paying facebook to boost posts. The ‘chain letter’ effect, so to speak.
There are some wild facebook horror stories out there, including the man that paid out half a million dollars and got no responses at all from his ad, because he did not understand how the format worked. There are still ways around this, as long as you aren’t fussy about the target audience, but you need to put some hours in.
So, what is Ina Disguise’s function in relation to David Wolfe? On a public level, Ina exists to put an alternative and thoughtful perspective on a question that had and probably still has no answer. On a personal level, she leapfrogs all those pesky groupies that kept blocking any attempts at communication and does this very safely since everything she says is public. She also says the things that nobody tells David, because David does not like hearing them.
She is the short, fat, ugly, nagging voice of somebody that actually gives a shit, for no good reason. She is everything that the David Wolfe persona has been set up to avoid.