As many of you are aware, a month or so ago I created a Facebook avatar named Peggy Legato. While some chose to play along (some mysterious person even went so far as to create an exhusband character named Mark Legato) others were worried and some, offended, This note is intended to provide some much needed clarification.
I have not lost my marbles. While I often talk about “Peggy” as though she is real and joke about how she drives me crazy, it is simply shorthand; I am well aware of the fact that she is not “real” in the conventional, empirical sense our present society holds so dear.
But she is real in an imaginative, creative world; she is as real as Jay Gatsby, though not as culturally evolved (at this point, at least– her character needs time to grow).
I think that anxieties surrounding Peggy Legato are due to two things. First, we are still figuring out the Facebook thing. Every time Facebook changes something, people get flustered, angry, and threaten to “leave” (on Facebook, mind you) though they rarely do. I think such threats are usually people fishing for their friends to beg them to reconsider, making them feel special and loved.
The second reason Peggy rubs people the wrong way is because she plays with the nature of identity itself. We love to sculpt our identities on Facebook, effectively becoming our own paparazzi; Peggy proves that such ambition is ultimately futile– dust in the wind.
Peggy is not intended to make fun of anyone. She is an experiment in the blending of imaginative and “real” identities. I hope this note at once puts to rest any fears you may have about me, her creator, and opens up a more informed conversation about the experiment.