h a l f b a k e r y
The embarrassing drunkard uncle of invention.
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In our culture, masks are not commonly worn in
public. In all but special occasions (such as
costume parties) or situations requiring facial
protection (welding, surgery, certain sports),
masks are associated with disguise and deceit.
I'd like to do away with this prejudice. Masks are
in any situation where one has to
present a particular public persona and
subordinate one's feelings to one's role. In short,
Salespeople, for example, could wear smiling,
friendly-looking masks. Police officers would wear
masks designed to project an air of calm authority.
Politicians could wear a different mask for every
masks could be worn on particular occasions:
grief masks for funerals, etc. Even a blank
commuter mask could be used to
maintain one's privacy on the subway.
Of course, people aready do all this with
"psychological" masks. I just think that using an
actual, physical face covering would be (a) more
honest and (b) less draining on the soul.
Masks make it much easier to "get into character",
especially if that character is very different from
one's usual demeanor. They also make it easier
to sustain that character for long periods of time,
to change roles and adopt the roles of others,
and finally to leave the persona behind at the
end of the day.
||Police officers in masks is too creepy. I guess you've never seen "THX 1138".
||Did you know that some "public areas" actually prohibit the wearing of masks? The "Mall of America" is one.
||The City of Chicago prohibits masks in public as well (municipal code 8-4-170),
with the exception of parties and carnivals.
||Funny idea! Makes me smile :-)
||Police officers, and other forms of public service, I wouldn't want masked. Burger clerks, sure, it might make the job somewhat less loathsome.
||And the aesthetic possibilities of mask design! Mm! All just warmup for our online existence as avatars, too.
||Well, you got my vote anyway. Sounds like a healthy way to compartmentalize the roles we play; and when you are discovered without a mask, people will know that you're really just being you!
||Although interesting the idea might not be sustainable. Psychologically I think it involves the urge to control ones life as if one was outside of it. If these masks were introduced it would beg the introduction of an extra set of masks covering the underlying. We are are both inside and outside ourselves which makes a union impossible (the authentical persona). Adding levels of masks also would make the underlying identity all the more frail and _without_ identity.
But on the positive side masks can be used to _challenge_ or make conscious the role characters play, and the rules governing it. So, basicly I am for it, in the Bozo way.
||David Foster Wallace talks about videophone masks in _Infinite Jest_. The idea is that you slap a mask on when you answer the phone so that you don't have to worry about your appearance or facial expressions, and can just talk like you would on today's phones. Eventually they realized this was wasteful and went back to ordinary phones.