Who is the audience of our self-deception?

For all the people out there that remember having CD's, I have a question for you. How did you organize your collection? Was it by genre, or alphabetical order? I personally did it by genre, but with a whole section just for David Bowie. Things got weird very quickly when you moved your gaze from my music to my book shelves.

Let me tell you why.

audience of self-deception

Normal people would probably place books on their shelf according to sagas, and if you don't you are a despicable human being, or quite randomly as soon as they're done reading them. Maybe similar novels could be placed close to each other, you know, Russian authors, British female authors, murder mysteries (that we call 'Yellows' in Italian, for the peculiar colour of their pages), and so on.

Less normal people, or people who worry too much, or me, would opt for a sorting according to social value. Top shelf away from sight, are the books that I am ashamed to have purchased and read, next to them are the books of my childhood. Not what I want people to notice immediately. What I want people to see, bottom right, are the books I agree are the basis of our culture. There, you can find the classics, some old fashioned hardcovers. or books I had to study. On the left are my favourite books, the ones with crazy titles that make people wonder about my lifestyle. All over the centre I like to put sagas, doubles, books about serious stuff and books I will eventually maybe one day come around and read.

Simple and practical.

What's funny, is that something very similar is happening on Netflix! People don't rate 'Deadpool' five stars and 'Life is beautiful' one star, but secretly watch the latter.

I came to think that we, as society members, like to present ourselves as a 'dramaturgical act' and appear as an idealised self.

Instagram, anyone?

People are compelled to maintain standards because of the belief that an unseen audience is present and judging. Hence the guilt in 'guilty pleasure'.

Who is, then, the audience of self-deception?

Now I could give you an example from 'Play it again, Sam' a critically acclaimed Woody Allen movie. Calling out his sarcastic and nihilistic view on life through his characters. But I won't. Because this is not Netflix and I want to break this circle of self-deception, at least on my blog.

Instead I will mention 'Keeping up with the Kardashians', where Kris the mom-ager is arraying her coffee table with respectable art books and magazines. By displaying those items, she is making herself feel better, as well as helping to convince herself, and this time an actual audience, that she is the kind of person who reads those books.

Post inspired by 'You may also like', a book by Tom Vanderbilt
Image: via

You Might Also Like