Friday, August 10, 2012

Beirut/NTSC red plate* - private and public

I am not exactly sure why I am writing this, but lately a friend has been pestering me about joining facebook at a time when people are basically on the way to deserting it (and I am not talking about investors dumping the plummeting stock). To quote Rana Salam when she knew I wasn't on the social media website "you cannot not be on facebook." Well, I am not. Discussing this with my students a few years ago, one of my (frankly not so witty but very provocative) students asked "why? what have you got to hide?" - well, "everything."  In the words of a very, very rich friend of mine "the biggest luxury in today's world is a bit of privacy, and that cannot be bought."
Which is why, I am always amazed how stars ask "to respect their privacy" (through their spokespeople of course) at times of divorce, when they make sure media is there when they get engaged or married. In the over-mediatized feud between actor Daniel Craig and reality TV star Kim Kardashian, Craig's most powerful statement was "You can't buy it back — you can't buy your privacy back. 'Ooh I want to be alone'. 'F*** you. We've been in your living room. We were at your birth. You filmed it for us and showed us the placenta and now you want some privacy?'"
Sure, it all seems like a "whore lecturing on chastity" - a relatively well-read blogger and online publisher is preaching about privacy. But truth be told, apart from my public persona which I give to you, what do you know about the behind-the-scenes person? I am not on Twitter either, which means you do nor know where I am or what I am doing or track movements on day to day basis I often joke that if everyone is "following" everyone on Twitter, then no one is in the lead and they are all running in circles....
But perhaps, it's not that complex after all, "On ne sait rien de soi. On croit s'habituer à être soi, c'est le contraire. Plus les années passent et moins on comprend qui est cette personne au nom de laquelle on dit et fait les choses," (we do not know anything about ourself. We believe we are getting used to ourself, it's just the opposite.The more time passes the less we understand who that person is on the name of whom we say and do things) and that's according to Amelie Nothomb's Les Catilinaires. Perhaps I have become what you have made of me.

*The title of this post refers to how taxi cars which have their license plate in red are called "3moumi" which also means public as opposed to private cars called "khsousi".
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