Sunday, March 30, 2008

My secret identity

An almost completely unrelated post by Gozpazha got me thinking about misrepresentation and misdirection and whether there's a difference.

This is me talking, the person who invented the nom de plume of B.W. Richardson. I invented this persona — who has come to feel more like me than me — for a variety of reasons, most of them legitimate, but every so often I wonder about what will happen when my secret identity is discovered. It's silly, I know, the people who know seem to understand and don't mind (as far as I know) that I said "This is me" when really I'm this other person.

Mostly I'm concerned about those occasional moments when I have referred to the real me (That is, the person with the name my parents gave me) in the third person. In those cases I said "This is me" and deliberately indicated "This is not me." I understand why I must do this, and I forgive myself, but will you?

Silly question, I guess.


Anonymous kyfho said...

Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.


Unless I already “know” the person posting their “scribblings” to the “pages” of the Internet, I assume that they are “masked,” for their own reasons. You have your reasons and I have mine. Yes, I am masked as well, unless you really thought that my birth certificate contains the name ‘kyfho.’ My mask is just a little more obvious than most.

But wearing a mask can protect us for a while. Oh, TPTB would be able to lift the mask and see who is beneath it if they really wanted to. But a mask can keep the ‘wanna-be’ PTB from bothering us.

Wearing a mask can also force the reader to focus on the message and not on the bearer of the message. The message gets a fair and equitable review without resorting to an implicit “appeal to authority.”


Evey Hammond: My father was a writer. You would've liked him. He used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.
V: A man after my own heart.


The question that I would ask any masked man, or any writer for that matter, is “Are your lies telling me the truth? Or are you, in reality, a politician posing as a writer?”

It would be nice to live in a world where everyone can tell the honest-to-God truth all the time. It would make life so much easier. Then I wake up into the world we really have.

I find that the small lies “No dear, your butt doesn’t look fat in those pants” are part of that lubrication that Heinlein alluded to concerning honorifics and formal politeness. “Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide the lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.”

But the big lies, the lies that politicians tell, “bearing false witness against their neighbors,” bother me.

When your “misrepresentations and misdirections” stop just protecting your identity, which is yours to protect, and start covering up the truth that you write about, that’s when I would get bothered and stop reading your blog.

IMHO, the operant word here is “intent.” What are your intentions toward your nom de plume, Monsieur Richardson? (That’s a rhetorical question, BTW. I’d like to think that I know, but….)

1:25 AM  

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