Authenticity has been a big buzz word for a few years now. These days, calling a product or person “authentic” is high praise.
But I have a problem with it.
Now, I’ve got nothing wrong with being authentic in itself, but when you’re trying to be authentic or when your authentic appearance is part of some ulterior motive, that’s another thing altogether.
This quote sums it up pretty well:
“Sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made.”
― George Burns
There’s another side to that coin. If something is practiced and performed, does that make it dishonest? I expect all manner of content creators have asked this of themselves.
As a side note, I felt like the movie Galaxy Quest was a pretty enjoyable little exploration of that issue.
In my very brief experience recording for a podcast, this is something that has come up frequently. Even though I’m talking off the cuff for most of it, the whole thing still feels like a performance in a way. Knowing I’m being recorded and that the recording will be freely available online has a very heavy influence on how I think and what I say.
I don’t expect that will ever change, but I also don’t believe it’s necessarily a bad thing.
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was a scripted show, but it felt as genuine as anything I’ve seen. On the other hand, many ”reality” shows feel completely fake.
To be authentic is to be true to form, the real you. But what does that mean exactly? It seems to me a performance can be more revealing, more vulnerable, than a candid recording. Not always though.
This is still pretty fresh for me and I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, but I’ll leave you with these last few thoughts:
When you pour yourself into your artwork, whatever form that may take, it’s impossible to hide the real you. On the other hand, if you’re trying hard to be yourself, you’re probably failing at it.