the ghost robot -

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
  go ahead, google yourself
Here’s a snap shot of TV Party, a New York City public access show that ran from 1978 to 1982. Sporting pink dickies, chucks, the microphone, ray bans, a cold beer, and none other than Debby Harry as an accessory, host Glenn O'Brien sits second from the right. He edited Andy Warhol's Interview magazine in the early seventies, then hung out with downtown nyc weirdos while holding down a day job at Rolling Stone, and eventually became GQ's style guy. There are worst fates. He wrote, produced, and provided some funny dvd commentary for downtown 81, a film about the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. I’m putting all of this out there because I'm amazed how the internet keeps such thorough records of relatively minor cultural figures, people that might have disappeared into history during less information-saturated times. Searching—and finding—trivial information about real people is an odd voyeuristic experience, and one that I find particularly “right now.” As far as I can gather, Glenn O'Brien seems to be a clever, charming person who managed to be in some right places at some right times. However, I'm sure that the real life breathing person is remarkably different that his collected search results.

All of our lives are becoming more public, and I wonder how that affects our own sense identity. I regularly google new acquaintances, and I also find myself recognizing people in real life from their blogs/profiles/party pictures. Strangers, classmates, and colleagues not only judge you by your clothes, the company you keep, and your character, but also by your list of favorite books, your links, and possibly your page rank. It is becoming increasingly normal to know people before meeting them, and more common to actually meet people you know online. Potential employers (and marketers) are trying to see how you present yourself personally as well as professionally, and are steadily chipping away at remaining notions of the private life.

On one hand, this brave new world encourages social experimentation by making new activities, artworks and people available to you. If they don't find you, feel free to find them. On the other hand (the sinister left hand), the record of your changing identity is now available for all to see. Perhaps I should stop worrying and learn to love the googly-eyed spacebook. No sense losing sleep over peace on earth or purity of essence.

The Normal- T.V.O.D.
photo credit goes to walter steding, member of walter steding & the dragon people and a onetime Warhol Factory assistant.
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