Man is increasingly aware of his part in some greater drama. Not a new idea, certainly, but in an age where reality is manufactured for television audiences as easily as bread is baked, individuals are hyper-conscious of the traits that make up their public persona. And for some, there’s a greater desire than ever to be someone else.
Shannon Johnson told me in ninth grade, entering high school, that this was our moment to define whatever we wanted to be. I wonder what made him so wise at that age. I ran into him a couple of years ago when I was passing through Dothan, and he seemed no different than in high school.
Another image that keeps popping up when I think about this idea of “identity” is William S. Burroughs, curled up in some Greenwich Village hovel with a frightened and naked fifteen-year old boy, telling him how to relax, that he doesn’t have to be himself, he can be anybody at that moment.