I (in part?) have been addressed by h0p3?

He block quotes my telnet BBS posts in among those of some other. I’m trying to decide what I think and whether/how I want to converse and all of the normal nonsense, so let’s instead muse a little more on the topic.

Pseudonymity invites relative ambiguity only in the presence of meaningful interest. Knowing someone’s legal name doesn’t render them any more known to me if I don’t bother to research, so it’s only the person inclined to begin Googling who is thwarted. Ambiguity/uncertainty is a useful artistic tool, but I don’t1 begin with the assumption that my audience is doing a close read.

I’m having a lot of fun with the Indieweb. In a sense, it’s in direct opposition to the fun I sense in a telnet unauthenticatable identity crisis. Saying “I can prove that I’m h0p3” is the stuff of logins and rel="me" links and other such technical levers. In their absence, anyone being able to say, ah, no, I’m h0p3–this then decenters one’s own sense of one having a canonical right to one’s own identity, and moves it to be a chair one has built in social space. Various people may sit there. This is the fun of pastiche, and of remix, and of very earnest fanfiction I have read exploring what Captain America would really think of today’s society2.

It is the fun of putting on a mask at Halloween. It is the fun of celebrities losing their lookalike contests. If there really is an oft-elegied loss of “authenticity”3 in the way that social media has woken people up to a world of performative construction of public self, certainly we must also explore the creative possibilities.

Ein jeder Ego ist alter.

  1. Can’t? Shouldn’t? 

  2. And of course I don’t need to explain that this is in fact a young generation grappling with the unnuanced appeal of an unambiguous avatar of patriotism in order to sort through their own feelings about Truth, Justice, and the American Way. 

  3. Different definitions of authenticity seem to hinge on different objects of scorn and disdain. I’ve yet to run into one that resonated with my own sometime sense of ease/unease with certain lived experiences.