How did we go from living in the Information Age to living in the “too much information” age? We have half-hearted discussions about what it means to have privacy while we broadcast every mundane detail of our lives on Twitter and creep out every mundane detail of everyone else’s lives on Facebook. Thanks to Facebook’s rather permissive approach to privacy, that creeping is easier than ever. The tabloids that graced every supermarket aisle of my childhood are still mostly there (except for the print version of the Weekly World News which I dearly miss for its tongue-in-cheek approach to fake news) and have spread across the interweb like an algorithmic STD, dotting the virtual landscape with gossip sites, celeb-watch blogs, and every conceivable manner of blog, wiki, or newsfeed ready to dish and discuss any person of interest. Did your favorite celeb have a hot weekend hookup? No need to speculate anymore: the pics taken by some stalkerazzi hanging from a tree outside of their hotel balcony will be posted within hours; the DVD will be released sometime later, with commentary from their former agent, former hairstylist, and former 3rd grade teacher talking about what a well-behaved student they were with above average penmanship.
On some level, I know I’m part of the problem. I have a blog. I use my own life for material here on this site and in my comedy/commentary when hosting shows and events. Because of this, I have my own slippery association with privacy; after all, most of the stories I tell also involve other people – at least the good ones do! Sometimes I’ll omit a name or change a couple of small details in an attempt to protect the identities of the anything-but-innocent people implicated in my stories. But in my world, nothing is safe and nothing is sacred.
For me, that “anything goes” attitude is just part of who I am, and I feel like with what I do there is a certain sense of needing to be willing to “go there,” even where it concerns my own private life. I’d feel like a hypocrite if I was willing to mock and skewer others without offering up my own quirks and foibles in exactly the same way. And if you’ve ever seen any of my shows, you know I do it with love. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but I think teasing comes a close second. I don’t do it to be mean-spirited – except maybe when it comes to certain Armenian fame-whore celebutantes. And politicians. But they deserve it, the soulless bastards. Get off my fucking television already, I just want to watch some Real Housewives for fuck’s sake.
Lord knows I have no soft spot anywhere in my shriveled little heart for those fucking Kardashians, but when I got divorced at the end of last year I at least gained a little better understanding of them. As is typical in our wired society, many people found out through Facebook. Not only does your relationship status change on your profile, but Facebook is kind enough to send out a news blast to all of your friends. Thanks for nothing, Mark Zuckerberg. And of course, once it was “Facebook official,” the messages and wall posts and texts started pouring in. Most people just wanted to offer support and good thoughts, a few wanted the gory details, and some just wanted to see what would happen like gawkers at the scene of a wreck. It was humbling to see how many people contacted me to offer their love and support, including people I’d only met briefly at shows or events. But it was also a little overwhelming: at a time when all I wanted was to pull inward and shut off from the world, the world was bombarding me with messages and information and questions. It gave me a little insight into how Kim Kardashian might have felt as her marriage was ending; of course, if I had only been married for 72 days, made millions off the event, and had the wedding broadcast as a 2-day E! special presentation, that might have helped ease the pain. Bitch.
But it still made me think about the nature of privacy, and what we give up when we choose to live our lives in front of the spotlight. I don’t regret anything that has happened or that I have done, but I might have done a few things differently. For sure, I would have kept better notes! Why? For the scandalous tell-all book I plan to write someday. If I’ve learned anything from that pack of gypsies camped out in Bruce Jenner’s living room, it’s that ANYTHING can be sold…and if you aren’t the one selling it, someone else will be! So take that pain and turn it into profit!
Honestly, though, there is something to be said for unburdening the soul, laying out map’s of your soul’s topography for the world to see. It’s why so many people have blogs – we want to connect, and we want to tell our stories. It’s like a journal, except we don’t have to worry about who will find it tucked up under our mattress. We just post it to the web and see who comments. We hope that by writing, or by being on stage (even if we are playing a character), we can get some of our secrets out, and find people who can see them and appreciate them. People who won’t run away from them. People who won’t judge us or tell us we are seriously disturbed. People who, when we start to crumble and pull away, remind us that the world will be there waiting when we want to come back. And that’s the best secret of all.
(This song was playing on the overhead radio at work and just put me in a thoughtful mood…)
Tags: blogging, creeping, divorce, facebook, facebook creeping, fame whore, gossip, Janessa, Janessa Jaye, Janessa Jaye Champagne, Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, stalking, tabloid