Be as you wish to seem
I am known in the general public as Mississippi Chris Sharp. It is my stage name. It was given to me by some musicians whose talents I admire and whose friendships are precious. As I told one friend who gave a haughty sneer of disapproval when I started using the moniker, “It’s just show business.”
I admit that at first I was uncomfortable actually using it, feeling as though I was placing myself in the heady company of John Hurt or Fred McDowell. But Mississippi is an inseparable part of my nature; I could not escape it if I tried. I am just glad it is not a name I gave myself. When the title was placed on me by others, I felt as if I had been knighted. I suppose Sir Paul and Sir Elton had to get used to the idea, too. Now, it seems easy and natural…except to Facebook.
According to “The Facebook Team”, “Someone” suggested they review my page. “The Facebook Team” decided to make me produce a government photo ID that showed Mississippi Chris Sharp as my real name. Of course, I don’t have one. I also have the option of furnishing two other non-government forms of ID showing Mississippi Chris Sharp, which I could do, but I am not going to the trouble. My full, real name is John Christopher Sharp. I’ll not be going to the trouble to change it, nor will I change my Facebook name, which is the one I started with, and apparently, the one with which I shall finish. As much fun as I have had on Facebook, it can be an egregious waste of time; and the very thought that the absence of Facebook in my life might be the least bit distressing is horrifying. What have I allowed myself to become that it should hold any power over me?
Sometime back, I heard of Facebook making people drop their pseudonyms. Eventually, they caught up with me. Their reasons for this are obscure to me. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg, who lectures us on the benefits of immigration and chides us about our archaic ideas of national borders, while buying up the real estate surrounding his home and building walls of his own, filling his perimeter with armed security guards to keep the mass of undesirable humanity away from his personal, private border, is more than a little paranoid about we, the unwashed. I am always taken aback by those who debunk our ideas and behavior as less than enlightened even as they engage in their own definition of unenlightened ideas and behavior which are identical to the ones for which they hold me in contempt. We little people just don’t have enough intelligence to understand, they tell each other. I find this entire scenario more than tedious…it is odious.
New York Congressman Charles Wrangel was recently caught with his britches down as he was lecturing a reporter about gun control. When asked about the armed security that protects him and his colleagues at the Capitol, he replied, “That’s different. We need the protection.” Doesn’t everyone need protection? The uber-wealthy elites, whether in private business or government service, live in fortified, segregated castles of their own making, isolated from the rest of us by fences, walls, electronic surveillance, and armed security guards. Isn’t it odd that a significant, measurable number of the 2% the Other 98% crowd deride are current or former government employees? How does that come to be?
I am not going to rant about it. It is what it is. Facebook makes its own rules and I must play by them or leave it. I chose to leave. There was life before Facebook. There is life after Facebook. No one would likely admit that the best part of their life revolves around Facebook. I expect, even if I changed my mind, that after “The Facebook Team” reads my response to their requirements, I’ll be banned from Facebook forever. Sometimes there is a great sense of satisfaction in looking back at a bridge one has burned.
The abundance in my life is not a string-dangled gift from Mark Zuckerberg. I see many people on Facebook portraying their lives as they wish them to be, not as they really are. There is no problem with this. Facebook is a reality of data-mining binary code that allows us to display the fantasy of our choosing. It has as much truth and veracity as one can expect from any source of media. The media is the media, and social media is our place to present ourselves as we wish to seem. The problem is in the seeming. The only thing about me on Facebook that seems other than real is my Facebook name, which is the thing Facebook demands I change. The life I live and portray on Facebook are as real as they seem. I think I’ll keep the real life and the fake name. Hopefully, “The Facebook Team” can keep their jobs and not lose them to H1A/B visa holders, or just have their jobs outsourced completely. The social media bubble has burst before. It is bound to burst again. When it does, maybe the folks who have lived in the Bay Area all their lives can afford to buy a home and not be forced out of the cities they were born in.
My sincerest and most ardent appreciation goes to all of you who subscribed to my blog. After I made my Facebook announcement and posted an invitation, over a thousand of you visited this blog and nearly half subscribed. If you add that to the subscribers and regular readers I already had, I am truly overwhelmed with abundance.
In the past, I forswore allowing comments on my blog, choosing instead to use Facebook for that platform. I rescind my earlier forswearing and will now allow comments, though I will monitor them before allowing them to be publicly seen. You can disagree with me all you’d like and I will let that comment through, but I see some of the profanity and personal attacks on other blogger’s apparently unmonitored sites and I will not allow that on mine.
In a world bent towards the six-second sound byte, and 140 characters or less postings, this blog is an anomaly. I can’t limit myself to 140 words, much less 140 characters. I know Facebook abandoned the 140 character limit a few years ago, while Twitter, I think, still has it. I do not Tweet and don’t plan to. If you come here, you’ll need to slow down, take a deep breath, and proceed with caution.
I don’t promise you the truth, but I do promise to be honest.
I will be what I seem.
©2016 Mississippi Chris Sharp