Friday, August 6, 2010

Public Snooping

Every month I sit down and read my local Craigslist backlog of personal ads.  Craigslist is still catching on in Alaska, so it's not unreasonable to think that I have read every personal ad posted there in the last two years.  Although, I'll admit that I often skim the "men seeking men" section.  I have a limit on how many pictures of penis I can look at in one day.  If I find a really good post, I'll copy/paste it and save it for later.  For what?  I'm not sure.  So far I haven't used any.  An example:

Longing and wanting a wife and family - 49 (Valdez, AK)
Date: 2009-11-09, 11:06AM AKST
Reply To This Post

One of three pictures included in Longing's post.
Recently moved into the area.  Currently staying with church members until end of this Month.  I am Alaskan native master artist.  I have a cat and a dog.  Been married and dis-sollution.  My desires are to live a life through the bible's teaching with wife and family.  I have approval right for re-marriage according to the scriptures and blessing from the church.  Contact me by this numver that is forwarded to my cell one - eight - eight - eight - eight - five - eight - five - nine - nine - five or rebertcrumley at y a h o o dot c o m to chat.  The magpi bird had been rescued from a stray cat.  I had released it after it was healed from it's injuries.  Best Regards, Robert.
Location: Valdez, AK
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

This is a man that I will probably never know and most likely never meet.  I'll never get to ask some of the hundreds of questions that reading and re-reading his post bring up (How did this man end up posting on Craigslist?  Did he read about it online?  Or in a magazine?  Did his sister tell him about it?  Does he have a sister?  Who does he have?  Where did he get the 888 number?  Is this somehow a con?  What religion is he?  Where did the bird come from?  Does he often rescue stray birds?).

I am an unabashed lover of facebook for this same reason.  Yes, I love keeping in touch with friends far away, but more than that, I love having such access.  Both craigslists personals and facebook pages are forums in which the subject is constructing and controlling their own image, but you can still make inferences.  Pictures can say a lot.  I'm especially interested in people who have their "picture pose" down pat.  You know what I'm talking about, those people on facebook who have the exact same expression in every single photograph they take.  Or maybe two or three set faces.  

It must take practice, thought, and extreme self-awareness to achieve that level of control.  Who are the people behind those set faces? 

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