Letter From the Editor

Gossip Girl And The Erosion of Memory

Invisibility has its own set of values, and we imbue our societal values on the invisible in specific and often indiscernible ways. Invisibility can be a longing, a want, or a burden; an ever present distraction or an imperceptible shift. Invisibility can be malicious and malevolent, but invisibility can also be a lonely child’s only friend, a welcomed distraction, or a comforting warmth. Invisibility may or may not be detectable to the naked eye, but it can be felt, tasted, listened to, inhaled, and experienced. Invisibility is both playful and somber. Invisibility may exist in the negative, as an absence, the experience of that which is unseen, unfelt, undone; or in the positive, as the existence of that which is very much there; the ethereal, the celestial, and the divine.

In the wake of the big Gossip Girl reveal, I find myself writing about invisibility. Finding out that (spoiler alert) “Lonely Boy” Dan Humphries was the one and only Gossip Girl, using the website as his arena to make his invisible Brooklyn self visible, had more of an effect on me than I thought possible. This may be because I too have spent my whole life obsessed with becoming visible: I have always wanted to see everything and be seen by everyone. My obsession with visibility extends far beyond sight; I am forever plagued by the notion that a feeling or an idea can maintain invisibility just as easily as an object, person, or place. Through the voice of Gossip Girl, Dan was able to make himself, his feelings, and his ideas known to the Manhattan social elites, while maintaining his character’s invisibility. By writing about himself from a distant third person narrator, Dan Humphries was able to become the master of his own visibility.

Invisibility has most recently presented itself to me as the notion of the existence of everything I’ve ever experienced and then forgotten. This can be explained through Plato’s dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus, in which Socrates asserts that “[men] will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder.” I understand this as the inscribing and subsequent reading leading to the dissolution of the memory, and thus leading to the forfeiture of the experience. The memory is no longer mine or yours, but it exists purely as record and is therefore no longer visible. Like Gossip Girl, once the experience has been imprinted, it ceases to exist in reality; for the characters on the television show, that non- reality exists in the form of gossip, or non-truth.

A memory is only visible as it exists in your mind, living in the little hole it has carved out and in which it has settled. Once a memory has been written, it has forfeited that settlement and now exists in word processing software or on a crumpled sheet of paper, not as a visible or livedexperience,justasarecordofthatexperience. GossipGirlusesthis method to derail and disconcert New York City’s celebutantes, whereas I write every experience to intentionally excise it from my memory, to create a Gossip Girl scenario in which the truth (the visible) no longer matters, because it now only exists as a representation.

I am able to better grasp invisibility through the lessons of both Plato and Dan Humphries’ “Lonely Boy”: as our memories are written, they become invisible. As the following issue unfolds, you may begin to understand it as a visual depiction of the invisible; memories eroding as they become text and image and object for our perusal. Like Brooklyn’s own Dan Humphries, I write myself into the narrative, if for no other reason than to make myself the master of my own invisibility.

Ella Gold
Editor in Chief