September 3, 2012

Every once in a while, I’ll see a cartoon in The New Yorker that makes me stop — and stare at myself. That’s the power of a doodle that’s worth a thousand words!

Here’s one that made me laugh. And, think. On some level, this cartoon could’ve been set in any decade. But it really says so much about these online times. The cartoon is from the Aug. 27, 2012 issue of the magazine:

It’s sort of mind boggling how much personal information about us is out there. In addition to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a lot of us are visible on the Internet because of our blogging, commenting, online dating, eBaying and other things we do.

Let’s also not forget the data about us which is aggregated by municipal and business websites. They’re busy culling public records to upload data about our births, deaths, family history, past and present home addresses, telephone numbers, property purchases and sales…is there such a thing as true privacy anymore?

Seems to me that the concept of intimacy has changed too; at the very least, it has taken on new dimensions. Some years ago, I went to dinner with a guy I met through When we sat down, he said he’d been reading my blog and felt like he already knew me — and knew too much for a first date. But we got to talking and by the end of the appetizer and first drink, we had an honest conversation going. We actually made it through Date #2 before I balked at the idea of dating a heavy smoker; I guess that’s another story.

Even though I’ve come a long way since those dates, I do realize that being a blogger has its price. In talking shop with others who share this calling, it always comes down to the same issue: while loved ones do their best to support our blogging, there are moments when the vocation’s time-consuming nature can become annoying or even intolerable.

There have been plenty of times when I’ve stayed up late to craft just the right paragraph or to upload one more photo. It’s insane — even I’ll admit it. But how can I stop? In its own magical, organic way, my blog has created a platform for intimacy with myself, friends old and new, critics and strangers passing through. I couldn’t ever imagine shutting this system down.

Well then, onward into the approaching fall season and the end-of-the-year holiday madness that will be here soon enough.

And if you’ll excuse me now, it’s time to crawl back into bed with the latest issue of The New Yorker and my deaf dog.  :)