An Unhealthy Fascination With Masks

I’ve been obsessed with masks in the past. I mean, not obsessed. That’s taking it a bit far. But I remember the movie, The Mask, with Jim Carry when I was a kid. That was one of my favorites. I still remember Carry talking like Ben Stein in front of the mirror holding up the magical mask. “That’s right, Wendy, we all wear masks, metaphorically speaking.”

Of course it’s true in a way. But I think now our masks are more digital than metaphorical what with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, etc. But the obstruction of our most identifiable characteristics is something our society is obsessed with. The super hero thing is part of that. The concealment of identity by way of a hidden face is something we are fascinated with. I think it’s because lots of people, myself included, would love to leave ourselves behind sometimes. Be someone else.

How iconic is the mask, say, of Darth Vader, or now, Kylo Ren. Star Wars, there’s no doubt, has given us some wonderful masks. As has Marvel and DC Comics.

The construct of a mask, the meaning of a mask is much more ingrained in our society now than it once was. I mean, think of a tool you can use to make people see what YOU want them to see, rather than what you are. Social media is a constant mask or filter others perceive you through, it’s a self tailored image. But it isn’t you. It’s the you you want to be seen. Everyone has guilty pleasures. Mine are fantasy books. I just love a good adventure sometimes. One that’s a real page turner. But I like delving into a real literary tome as well. I usually set up my reading lists so it alternates one pulpy book with one literary, so I don’t get burned out on either.

But then my writing doesn’t reflect this guilty pleasure much. I like to think I’m more literary then fantasy novels. But I’m not, because, to be truly honest, a good fantasy or SF novel is just as literary as a non-genre piece of fiction.

What I’m trying to say is this: Why are we all so eager to convince people we’re someone we aren’t?

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