On the Public Persona
Or, Introducing Alica
One of our foundational rules here at Push of Pikes is “write with intelligent, original thought.” There is nothing either particularly intelligent nor startlingly original in this, the first claim of my first post, but it is a necessary starting place: Everybody molds their public persona to present the best possible version of themselves. The second claim is like the first: the Internet makes the process of creating a public persona more complicated and faceted than ever before. These two commonly repeated truisms have been battering at my mental gates as I attempted to put on paper a brief introduction to myself, my interests, and my purpose at this blog. Scratching out attempt after attempt, I finally realized that the project as I had self-assigned it was impracticable. I neither can nor should present a completely truthful and accurate representation of myself to you, the readers of this blog.
Of course this is not to say that I should not be honest in how I present myself; by no means would I consider telling anyone that I am a genius level concert pianist. However, modern culture’s emphasis on authenticity often pushes us to greater candor than is required. Out of a desire to be honest, I am tempted to share my life story with all its nitty-gritty details, but it would be inappropriate for Push of Pikes’ project. Similarly, Facebook stati are rarely the proper medium for proclaiming despair over a recent break-up. Complete candor, I believe, destroys the emotional intimacy we ought to have in our closest relationships. If everyone knows everything about us, if we have nothing that is not common knowledge, what separates my sister or my roommate from my first grade school chum on Facebook? While they can, like everything, be abused, public personas allow us to separate those to whom we merely say hello from our co-workers from our closest friends.
With that in mind, I present myself as honestly as is fitting. I recently graduated from college with a degree in history and returned to my parents’ home until such time as I discover what comes next. Thus, I presently think a great deal about being a historian without a project, an academic in a non-academic setting, and an adult in my childhood home. I ponder the implications of the trivial and find answers bigger than I expected. Here at Push of Pikes, I will periodically add my soprano voice to the chorus of basses and baritones, but my primary job will be to catch any grammatical errors or awkward sentences my colleague Fernando misses. I am honoured to join this august company, and look forward to the future inquiry-battles to come.