Meet My New Avatar →

In honor of the six-month anniversary of the founding of this blog, I’ve decided that in the spirit of peeling back another layer of the avatarial onion, I’d put a new picture of myself on the sidebar. Faithful visitors to The Search will remember the initial avatar picture: a “Brett McCracken” looking dramatically off into the distance, heavily mediated (with iPod ear phones) and hidden from the world (behind faux Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses). That picture was—I think—an appropriate first glimpse at the mystery man behind this blog. It was intentionally mysterious, totally constructed, and suitably pretentious. Now, please meet the new “me”—or at least the newest blog version of myself. I think this version says a lot of things. First, the homeless/beachbum/scruffy/redbeard aspect seems to indicate a slightly more earnest blogger… willing to get down and dirty, Hemingway style, with the meaty existential issues confronting us all. Secondly, the fact that I’m now looking directly at the camera and my sunglasses are slightly less opaque reveals a certain “yeah… this is what I think… take it or leave it” sort of attitude. By the way, what do you think of the beard?

Okay, so clearly I’m having a bit of fun here. It’s just that I’m fascinated by the freedom and manipulative power that comes with an “online identity.” Those who don’t know Brett McCracken the person have no idea if this picture is really of him… or if so, whether it looks anything like who he really is. For all we know, that picture could be some random dude and everything made up in the “About Brett McCracken” bio could be entirely fabricated. Who even knows if Brett McCracken exists? This whole thing could be ghostwritten by some intern at NBC publicity for all we know…

The point is: everything written on the Internet—heck, even most things not written on the Internet—are suspect to doubt. The truth of anything we read, if we are excluded from any trustworthy knowledge about its author, is measured insofar as it rings true when we read it. The text and its meaning are king. If it works it works. If not, click away…

The Search has never been chiefly about me or my perspective (because how could I expect anyone to trust that?) but rather the content of ideas as my fingers translate them from abstraction to text. As Samuel Beckett once said in a very deconstructionist book: “What matter who’s speaking, someone said, what matter who’s speaking?” Translation: Authors are not as important as what they write.

From my perspective, the purpose this blog has served—and hopefully will continue to serve—is to elevate critical discourse and inspire productive considerations of art, culture, religion and ideas. Maybe one day I’ll take the shades off and reveal the “real me” to the digital world, but for now, let the words do the talking.