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porn stars and presidents

It all comes down to knowing your context and crafting your message to spread as quickly as possible. – Jack O’Brien

It’s about knowing how the media works, knowing how optics works: ‘What does this look like?‘ Public figures like Gandhi and Mother Teresa were all very, very aware of how they presented themselves. People like these became famous on purpose. Anyone, good or bad, who’s made it to the top – if you’re aware of them, they’re aware of you and how you perceive them. – Jason Pargin

(paraphrased, from the Cracked podcast episode Tipping Points)

*******

Since I don’t know who I am, I have a lot of room to try on identities. I know that part of the reason why I unsettle people is that I’m not easy to categorize. (The same reason why most bands with inconsistent sound don’t become popular, why public figures who do things out of character are perceived negatively, why androgynous people make others feel uncomfortable, etc)

I’m not tortured enough to join the artist crowd. I appreciate business, and learning, but I think the language of business (especially advertising) and academia are ridiculous. I’m not smart enough to join that crowd either. Most people, meeting me for the first time, think artist. I can sense the confusion when they find out my course. Older people, whom I feel more comfortable talking with, tend not to take me seriously. I’m often told I don’t look like a lesbian. And so on.

Lately I’ve been wondering what identity would best suit my purposes.

Malena Morgan is a person of endless fascination for me. She seems to know herself so well regardless of how others view her. Her personality seems so cohesive. It’s amazing to me how she planned out her life and didn’t just vaguely fumble along as most people do. She saw an advantage that she had (that people would pay to see her naked, and that she was also a natural exhibitionist) and just exploited the hell out of that advantage. Almost all her videos are the same thing. The image she shows is consistent. And now she’s investing her money and following her dreams of traveling. She described a life of isolation, and singular experiences that most other people don’t have. She’s obviously very intelligent, but she hardly exposes that thoughtful side of her. She knows what people expect to see from her, and that’s what she shows.

Another instance of an image change that I’ve been pondering lately is Obama’s stance on gay marriage. His statements went back and forth quite a lot over the course of his political career. At the time of his election he said he was against it. I’m pretty sure that he was always for it, but that he felt that it was not an issue worth losing the majority of votes over, given the views on gay marriage at the time.

so: hiding an aspect of oneself, or creating an aspect that wasn’t really there, seems to be necessary sometimes to cultivate an image that would stick to people’s minds. Why would I want to do that, though? I’m not running for president, nor seeking to distinguish myself among a veritable sea of aspiring porn stars. Well, it’s just that I have a lot of ideas and want support for them. I don’t know if that’s a specific enough goal to warrant the manufacture of an image. Nevertheless, something meaty to think about.

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