Last week I watched something interesting on Twitter. It was a Q and A session with a modern day Lizzie Bennet. She is an upbeat red head answering social questions put to her via various social media pages.
Frankly it is rubbish. It is a heavily scripted romance between Lizzie and the cunningly named ‘William Darcy’. She answers questions, gives us updates on her life and they both speak in a resemblance of a Georgian manner. Grotesque as I find it, I admit. I just can’t look away.
Maybe this has less to do with my taste in ‘quality’ media (I have been known to fall into this trap before) and more to do with the emergence of ‘publics’.
No, not the public that has always existed. The ‘public’ where we as strangers become connected by a shared desire to voluntarily participate in something.
This sense of connection with strangers enables new concepts such as Open source resources; Linux, Wikipedia and Reddit and even YouTube, to a certain extent, help us to connect with strangers in ‘publics’ and share our knowledge of what we know and what is out there.
Yet, how different is this from Ye Olden Times, where Mrs Bennett would hear gossip at Church and then run home all in a fuss with Kitty at her heels?
Now with online content being a participatory source and something that is regularly available it is easier to choose what we wish to read. It becomes easier for us to be grouped, creating connections between people with like-minded interests or concerns that may share expertise or personal experience.
Maybe this is why I keep watching modern Lizzie. I read Pride and Pejudice as a young adult and like all of us, wanted to keep reliving the magic of Lizzie and Mr Darcy over and over again.
I don’t like the Lizzie Diaries, but I admire the concept and despite myself I am drawn to the ‘public’ by my connection with the story and my admiration for literature and history.
I will participate, watch it, write this entry but that will be it. In this modern age if I love or hate something, I can choose to become involved. Despite this sometimes we become tempted to something like a Siren song and we just can’t look away. After all we are all aware of a single truth “that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”.