"I argue for a view of the self and of identity that is the opposite of the personal brand: an unstable, shapeshifting thing determined by interactions with others and with different kinds of places."
Call it the Yelpification of the academy. Call it the retail logic of higher education. I mention this only to observe that if we sneer and snicker at influencers’ desperate quest to win approval from their viewers, it might be because they serve as parodic exaggerations of the ways in which we are all forced to bevel the edges of our personalities and become inoffensive brands.
Jack Antonoff, when asked "what's your deal?":
“I haven't figured out my deal...I don’t know if 'figuring out your deal is a positive thing.' I would say figuring out how to deal is more important than figuring out your deal. Figuring out your deal is like a cabaret act, like a party trick — “this is my deal, I’m the guy who does this”.
I’ve seen some very clever autobiographies where people say they want to define themselves in broader terms than their discipline or field of study. That’s all well and good, but it still presupposes the notion of “defining oneself”, which even as a concept is far too logically and ethically shaky for my taste.
Look, the point is you’re the one who needs a succinct explanation of who I am. I want no part of it.