We live in a very weird world. If youre in front of me in line at Publix and I commit the offense of talking to you (Hey, that wheat germ looks right tasty), youre likely to call the cops.
But if I go online and friend you on Facebook, youll tell me all about yourself what movies you like, what turns you on, what music is on your iPod. I can learn your e-mail name (GatorBootyGal) and, if Im lucky, see pictures of you puking your guts out during some ill-advised bar crawl.
Its strange not only what we share but how compulsive we have become about sharing. And it goes beyond sharing. In person, we can be private, almost secretive. Behind one of these keyboards, were eager to tell you our most intimate secrets.
Maybe this is driven by loneliness. Maybe its the modern way weve come to deal with lives of quiet desperation. Part of it might have to do with the delirious pursuit of fame. People want to become famous not by actually doing anything noteworthy. They just want to be famous, as if fame is a birthright.
This has been much on my mind lately because of The Peep Diaries (City Lights Books, $17.95) by Hal Niedzviecki (above). This book has preoccupied me since it came out in the summer and Im wondering if it might end up being one of those prescient, influential books like David Reismans The Lonely Crowd.