Monday, November 13, 2006

18 Doughty Street

Am sat here watching 18 Doughty Street TV and reflecting how interesting it is finally seeing someone 'in the flesh' when you feel rather as if you already know them. I am of course refering to Rachel North, a blogger who I frequently refer and link to in my own blog. Her blog was one of the first that I read and which I have followed (to the extent that I wonder if she is ok of she doesn't post something new after a few days) and which inspired me to set up my own blog. But I have said this already, elsewhere, in other posts, and do not need to gush again here.

I read and tried not to cry when I read of Rachel's experiences, of being attacked, beaten, raped and left for dead. Of 'recovering', facing her attacker in court and providing evidence to see him jailed, to find love and happiness, only to be blown up by the thoughtless and cruel selfishness of another teenager leading an empty and unfulfilled life last July. I have also read of her holidays, her home, her dancing and, on occasion, what she eats. I also know her political opinion on a number of issues; in short, I feel I 'know' her. But I don't. Not really. And although I'd seen her profile picture, until this evening I didn't even know what she looked like. She looks slightly older and fuller than I expected (although they do say that the camera adds pounds), less clothes conscious (although I shouldn't be surprised given this post) but infinitely more human than ever before. And that's really saying something, given how the level of human detail that seeps out of blogs.

But what really got me thinking was this: I feel that I 'know' Rachel better because I know what she looks (and sounds) like, rather than simply what she thinks about things. It is as if my mental picture of her is complete. So, if I couldn't see (or hear) someone, would I really 'know' them? Or is it because I, also Rachel, realise the concept of 'knowing' people through a combination of visual, audio and intellectual stimulation? So does this mean that blind and deaf people relate to people in other ways - perhaps smell and touch are much more important - or do they simply not 'know' people in the same way that a person with all senses. Or, is it personal to me that I need to know what someone looks and sounds like before I feel I 'know' them... I rather think not - it is much easier to create an illusion if something is kept back. Take Kate Moss for example. We all know what she looks like; a very few people know what she sounds like (although the Virgin and Agent Provocateur adverts have dispelled this somewhat) and even fewer people know what she actually thinks about (most) things. And, I would imagine, therefore, very few people would claim to 'know' her. Do we need to experience ‘everything’ before we can ‘know’?


Lain said...

An interesting thought, this. I can see where you're coming from when you say you need to see someone to really know them. However I have, on numerous occasions, been disappointed when I have met people in the flesh as their appearance has been so far off what I was expecting that after that point, I could no longer relate to them in the same way.

My take is that each person has their own, highly personal, threshold that, once crossed, makes them feel like they truly know somebody. For some, like yourself, this means you need to see what they look like to complete the mental picture. For others, like me, the sight element is not necessary or indeed always desired - I think for me I prefer the anonymity and comfort afforded by not knowing what someone looks like and therefore not being able to imagine the disapproving faces they might be pulling when they read your blog/have a conversation with you. I am sure this reflects some deep-rooted self confidence issues on my part, but it seems to sum me up pretty accurately I think.

Rachel said...

oh, I just found this!

thank you for watching, I'll be on again next week I think and am going to be regular guest.

I do need to lose weight, you're right: I am one of those people who comfort eats when stressed and I put on a stone since last year


Rachel said...

I look forward to watching you again Rachel - which night are you going to be on?

(and for the record, I don't think you need to lose weight. You look lovely, just not as I had imagined you)


Praguetory said...

I didn't know about Rachel being raped, but did watch 18DS with her on. I certainly don't agree with a lot that she said, but she put in a very strong performance. Maybe she wouldn't like it, but she seems to be something of a role model.