Front Porch: Summer 1998

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Front Porch: Summer 1998

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 2: Summer 1998

"A quick check of the Internet reveals three categories and 540 separate Web sites containing the keyword 'identity.'"

“Identity” is a big deal these days. A quick check of the Internet reveals three categories and 540 separate Web sites containing the keyword “identity.” Contrary to what university-based identity watchers might think, most of them have to do with corporate identity. It seems there are lots of unidentified businesses out there, all in need of other businesses who can set them up with corporate logos, Web sites, direct mail, print advertising, product design, and everything else an up-to-date identity requires. And if you need to change your business identity, the corporate identifiers can fix you right up with the necessary changes to all of the above. If anyone ever doubted the constructed nature of identity, here’s the proof. The rest of the Internet’s “identity” entries are a good deal more earnest. The obvious assortment of ethnic identities are up for discussion: Indian American (not the same as Native American), Jewish, Australian, Asian American, African American female, biracial, “Mexican—Not Latino—Not Hispanic,” even Breton. There are discussions of gender identity, sexual identity, dissociative identity disorder, and die real identities ofJesus and Shakespeare. There is also one Website described as “the only page ever needed for a man struggling to find his true identity,” which takes its philosophical cue from the teachings of Conan the Barbarian. Really.