--Susan Sontag (lame old philosopher chick)
Joy and peace. Lately, some campers have written Your Uncle Jerry to ask about avatars. Avatars. Are they more than pictures? When should you change them? Do they cause a twitch or rash? May you have more than one? Should you talk with your parents about them? So many questions.
In Your Uncle Jerry’s Dictionary, young camper, “avatar” comes right after “mask,” which comes right after “face.” Now, a mask is something You put on, to put on a new You. But a mask is not JUST for Halloween.Think of how many masks you wear in RL. You have a mask for home, a mask for school, a face you wear to Grandma’s house, a face for that party at your friend’s house. Those are avatars of you, dontcha see. Different incarnations, different sides of you. And sometimes you make one up online so you can be someone totally new.
On social sites such as the wasteland known as MySpace, camper girls and boys should never show their home faces; they should always don a different mask. “Yes, my parents work at the embassy. I spend most of my time in Paris.”
But then the question is, who am I when I wear a mask? Am I still myself, or am I a new identity? Is a mask dishonest? This brings us to ---->
Your Uncle Jerry’s Rules of Mask-osity.
Rule 1. Your face is a mask.
Rule 2. A mask is your face.
Rule 3. There is no rule 3.
Rule 4. There is no point in trying to figure this out.
Can you wrap your head around this, Camper?
If you ever allowed the Real You to appear, we both know how that would look: a huge blob in a diaper, flopped in front of the tube, pounding gummy bears and pizza with four hands. In short, you’d be your little brother. To cover their shame at creating such a monster, your parents make you adopt an avatar called Good Manners. Are good manners dishonest? Yes, but won’t you be glad when your brother learns them?
Peace and joy.