The persona is a mask, a shield, and a character. Out of insecurity or entertainment, the persona is used to channel the ego of his/her character—so the character’s ego would be affected instead of their own. Most people carry a shell, to some degree or another.
Of the entertainment factor, stand-up comedians act differently on stage than in real life. Take Albert Einstein and the late Phyllis Diller, for example. At home, they never wore their signature hair, and Diller never held her signature cigarette holder. (And, yes, I know Einstein wasn’t a stand-up comedian.)
Then, there’s the specific act of self-deprecation, used to keep oneself from becoming too large, and to quash that higher-than-thou impression. Being opinionated is one thing, but having an ego the size of Mount Rushmore is another. There’s something to be said about not allowing yourself to be idolized, to instead promote an ideal or set of ideals. That is the nature of the role model. It is not necessarily you, but the image put out there to inspire values.
Maintenance of that role model is yet another thing, one most difficult for a narcissist.
Narcissism (n.): the instance of being over-self-congratulatory, such as putting up paintings or photos of yourself doing mundane things as if they’re major accomplishments—all over the place.
Like all things, there is the risk of going too far. As with multiple Facebook accounts, separate identities are common-place. The leading split: the personal profile and the workplace profile. Blogging is also an area of escape, especially with the virtually peaceful & quiet place here. But those examples are considered normal.
Regardless of the virtual, the social network, there are those cases of fathers supporting more than one family. Many of those fathers don’t tell the girlfriend/wife/other mother. There are a multitude of Dear Abby/Annie columns of these cases, as well as the triple-jointed case, with yet another woman on the side.
The other avenue: leanings or affiliations. Politics: one of those areas that can lead to self-censorship—so many people just flat-out hate politics, and don’t want to hear political opinions. Silence becomes a norm when the pressures of leading powers are too great, generating a Free Speech issue.
Most popular politicians double-speak. In a divided nation, it becomes “important” to appeal to different audiences. And that leads to propaganda—the “I’m just like you” image, where the other guy is ‘unpleasant,’ to say the least. It becomes an acting job, going beyond the likes of how Ronald Reagan appealed to the Democrats of his time.
Oppressive Regimes, “Hidden” Egos
It has been a practice of over-controlling governments to criminalize surrealism or anything that may hide originating identities. The worst cases that speak volumes on the mishandling of insecurities render statues that say nothing but “higher-than-thou,” while the people behind the scenes are vulnerable and detached.
Socialist Republic governments have this sort of propaganda everywhere—that to say, “we are larger than you, and we protect you.” Breaking people free from such slavery is, however, difficult for those that were born into it, know nothing else but the cradle-to-grave “support.” And these governments go after hidden lives, censoring the internet.
Every day, they lose a battle, and win another. Young adults in China manage to see through the tactics, and many find ways to bypass the censors. The hidden tactic in lifting some of those immediate censors: using the content to injure dissent.
Months ago, Vladimir Putin’s government hid behind Christ the Saviour Cathedral to call a “flash” protest stunt by feminist punk band Pussy Riot ‘sacrilegious, blasphemous and rule-breaking,’ even though the band was two miles away from the building.
The band, known for wearing colors head-to-toe, concealing their faces during performances, was targeted for their protest of Putin. Three band members were charged on “hooliganism” for a performance that happened weeks prior. It was the online circulation of a video of their “stunt” that led to the arrests.
The pawn of a judge reportedly got threats and needed guards. The three members—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich—were sentenced Aug. 17 to two years in jail. They laughed behind the glass cage. Two other members, not so eager to laugh, fled the country.