nothing so fashionable
few years ago there was a fad for anonymity. The less a person could say
the greater statement they were making about their humanity through an
act of self denial.
At the time it seemed an appropriate reaction to a society that increasingly
assumed the right
to know everything about everyone. Relinquishing control of all personal
becoming an unquestionable requirement for participation and inclusion.
We were reaching
the defining moment beyond which society's right to know would finally
individuals' right to privacy. The point at which we as individuals ceased
to exist by
right and our freedom became conditional upon us abandoning any claim
Our only hope of reclaiming our birthright was to cease to exist in society,
to become untraceable,
unaccountable, invisible. It was the only appropriate reaction to a regime
with an obsessive desire
for information. If knowledge about us was power then our strength lie
in our ability to withhold
any information we could. This was the beginning of a split in society.
Many were happy to give
as much information about themselves as they could in the belief that
the more people knew
about them, the more important or interesting it made them seem and the
they would have. Ironically, they were oblivious to all the ways it proved
There were others, however, who found the whole idea abhorrent.
"The mask" became their symbol of defiance, denying society
the ability to monitor them and
thereby refusing to become state property. This was not to be confused
with other masks that
were prevalent at the time such as those worn by terrorists or hoodies
to avoid detection
and prosecution for criminal acts or mischief. Neither had it anything
in common with the
social pressures or proprietorial notions of modesty associated with Moslem
Unlike the reactions of hatred, loathing or fear that these other guises
evoked, "the mask"
went almost unnoticed. In its appearance it resembled a shroud or veil,
a virginal death mask,
the Reaper's apprentice or the bland countenance of a pale haunting. The
reaction of those who
noticed it was one of unconscious disquiet. In a way it's wearers had
achieved their objective
and virtually ceased to exist.
I haven't seen "the mask" for a couple of years now so I suppose
it's gone the way of all fads,
but I could be wrong.