Monday, April 30, 2012

Life publicly lived.

"To live at home, to think at home, eat and drink at home, to love at home, suffer at home, die at home seems boring and inconvenient to us. We need publicity, broad daylight, the street, the cabaret, the café, the restaurant, to testify favourably or unfavourably about ourselves, to chat, to be happy or unhappy, to satisfy the needs of our vanity or our mind, to laugh or to cry: we like to pose, to show off, to have a public, or audience, witnesses of our life."

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was said recently and about our times. Surely this is the motto of my generation and the one that is coming up behind us- to live publicly, our entire lives enjoyed in full view and for the consumption of others. A somewhat partial or edited version presented for consumption, perhaps, but 'if you didn't photograph it, it didn't happen' or 'this will make a great profile photo' or 'I'm just checking us in to Places' or #everything. But it is actually a quote from Les Plaisirs de Paris, written by Alfred Delvau in 1867. #prescient


  1. Wow, this statement really does apply to our current times. Just shows, we haven't changed all that much. I suppose now we just have more avenues to publicize or "show off" our lives rather than just being "seen" somewhere. Now documenting our lives is also more of a public practice through blogs, facebook, instagram, etc as opposed to private written journals. I still try to keep one though to keep a record of what I've been doing, which is always fun to read back on in a few years time :).

  2. I was just thinking about this the other day...cant believe the quote is like 150 years old lol

  3. Isn't it incredible! I agree with you guys- and Niki, you're right. We do have more avenues to 'live publicly'. And doing so is so normalised... so enfolded unquestioningly into our everyday lives. It sometimes seems like we only realise how much information we put online when Facebook rejigs its privacy policy and everyone throws their hands into the air in alarm... before continuing merrily as before...