Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Post Secret: Forgiving Our Racist and Sexist Impulses?

Professor, What If...? has a post I'm filing under 'things I wish I'd written' which discusses the racism and sexism frequently seen over at PostSecret. Here's a small taste:
...many postcards don’t indicate “dealing” with issues so much as offloading them so they don’t have to be dealt with. Using an “airing dirty laundry” schema, the site allows “secrets” to be purged, making it “ok” to be racist, unfaithful, uncaring, mean, or whatever, as long as one has “dealt” with it via crafty postcard confessional.
For more excellent, and perhaps slightly uncomfortable, insight - go read the rest.

(image via PostSecret 12/13/2008)


DJ Dual Core said...

I disagree that the venomous content of many cards at PostSecret represent something wrong or unhealthy about PostSecret itself. I think the hateful, repellent thoughts and feelings expressed in them is part of the point. For me, PostSecret neither normalizes these things nor implies absolution to the people who express them.

To me PostSecret says, "this is just how sick we are as a culture. This is how and why we hurt each other so badly and so often. What are you going to do to help?"

habladora said...

Of course I see what you're saying, but I think that the Professor makes a good point - particularly when she writes:

Moreover, as he reveals, the postcards to not come out of a vacuum but build upon one another each week, touching into a sort of cultural groupthink…

As Warren reveals, “The secrets I post every Sunday influence the secrets that I receive the next week. For example, if I posted all pornographic secrets, that’s what I’d be getting.” [v] With this quote Warren indicates his publication choices influence what he will have to choose from to publish in the next week in a sort of revolving door fashion. I am wondering what some of these recent choices indicate about what he would like to be getting… Do these postcards not scream “Send me more sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-feminist secrets!”? I think it is no secret that they do.