Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

addictive self-construction throughout the ages

Renaissance Self-Fashioning [...] showed how the courtier's role was an elaborate
construction of a "self" through writing, dress, behavior and the commissioning of art.

And the nightmare was, you couldn't stop. Greenblatt argued that the whole
Renaissance oeuvre was the product of this constant shoring-up of the era's
fragile constructed personalities. When Shakespeare said all the world's a
stage, he wasn't talking in metaphors.

Thomas Wyatt hung out at the court of Henry VIII. (Greenblatt memorably
describes this as "like small-talk with Stalin"). When Wyatt was accused of
shagging Anne Boleyn, he circulated a poem in his defense - and escaped the
axe. When he retired from public life, he wrote "Mine own John Poyntz" to
explain his motives.

He got to die of old age, we get some of most exquisite writing of his age
as a by-product.

With the coming of the web, we're all courtiers now.

You can see people constructing all kinds of selves online.

Some of these are explicitly fantasy personae, like those in role-playing
games like Ultima (of which more soon), or IRC chat rooms (more on these

On the other end of the scale there are intimate real-life diaries.

But it's in-between where the interesting stuff happens, where all kinds of
games are played between people and their on-line personalities. Chris
Locke, author of the Cluetrain Manifesto, often conducts whole "flame wars"
with his own alter ego, Rageboy.
(Myrtle Tips)
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