Monday, December 17, 2007

why I don't read PostSecret anymore. . . .

Not a flash in the pan, I think PostSecret is picking up readership.

In case you're one of the few who hasn't actually seen it, PostSecret is a blog that posts pictures of postcards that contain secrets. Seems thousands of people make up these clever ways of disclosing way too much information on a postcard and send them to one "Frank" at a pre-disclosed address somewhere on Copper Ridge Road in Germantown, Maryland.

More recently, PostSecret has entered the book business. More recently still, there are art exhibits, chat secrets, video secrets, PostSecrets lectures, conferences, and book tours and, now, secret follow-up stories. . . .

The original premise of briefly sharing in the limited format of a postcard a secret you had never told anyone else:
"Each secret can be a hope, regret, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, confession, or childhood humiliation."
The emerging 'norm' seems to be a growing "openness" about "sharing" things better left not only unsaid, but unthought!

Can we perhaps consider that there is a reason we keep certain things secret?

So. Why don't I read it anymore? Because (1) it's gotten too big properly to deal with secrets anymore, (2) secrets, dealt with on a large scale, are no longer secrets, they move towards scandal, (3) the mass consumption of secrets-leaning-towards-scandal begins to look a lot like scandalous voyeurism, and (4) I don't enjoy the attempt to make "normal" what really should remain shameful.

The message is that we all have secrets. True.

The follow-up to that, however, seems to be that if we just publish our secret, we won't be rejected and our secrets won't have a hold on us anymore. That may - or may not - be true. It depends on the "secret".

I know this may be an unpopular sentiment, but there are some things that are just wrong and proclaiming them in a "secret" forum doesn't make them right; doesn't make them palatable; doesn't make the proponent an acceptable member of society.

Frank: I think you started out well, helping people who had been crippled by a deadly secret. From giving people a hole to bury their secret in - with a witness to the burial - we've now invited those deadly secrets to join us for lunch.

I, for one, am not having any.

DISCLAIMER: Not all PostSecret "secrets" are scandalous. . . . Some "secrets" are sweet. . . funny. . . . enlightening. . . . thought-provoking. It's just that more and more deal with sex, death, hatred, humiliation, perversion and etc. . . .


Lee Anne said...

This reminds me of the controversy surrounding Fox's new reality show, The Moment of Truth, in which contestants are monitored by a polygraph machine while they answer very personal questions. Like PostSecret, it functions on acts of confession.

Appearing in print or on television would seem to imply an acceptance of some sort. But, would it also force someone to take responsibility for something if it is made public? Of course, this isn't the case for PostSecret since it's anonymous. It does seem that by sharing it, you're dispersing the burden of responsibility/guilt. hmmmm

postsecret said...


Thanks for your thoughtful comments.


(yes, that Frank)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm very thought provoking comments. I quit reading Postsecret when I read that someone fed their cat bleach so she could see that cute veterinarian. Pretty sick if you ask me - are they making this up just to be outragious?


Anonymous said...

I stopped reading PostSecret a few months ago. Came across this post after searching to see if anybody else had written about a similar experience. My own reasoning isn't as clearly thought out as yours, it just became clear to me that I was no longer enjoying it. Reading the weekly secrets used to make me feel good, but more and more it was doing just the opposite.

prophet said...

Glad you found this article - sorry I haven't checked comments here in a while! I haven't read PostSecret since I wrote this, either, so it's been a while. Frank is at it, is he?

Well, I guess there's a never-ending supply of secrets. . . .