Media Personas

The Duplass brothers are two indie filmmakers who recently made their first feature film entitled THE PUFFY CHAIR. The film was screened at last weekend's Boston Independent Film Festival and will be released into theaters this June.


I saw PUFFY CHAIR at the Boston IFF and was amazed. I immediately went home, watched all three of their shorts that are posted on the web and was even more amazed. The following is a short message I sent to the Duplass brothers in response to one short entitled "This is John." The film consists of a man trying to perfect the message greeting on his answering machine. To watch this short, go to


Duplass Brothers: I saw Puffy Chair at the Boston IFF last night and loved it. I went home and immediately checked out your shorts. Love those, too. In fact, I've never seen shorts that are so deep-layered, with the exception of Jay Rosenblatt's work. And what I mean by "deep layered" is that they kind of suck you in with humor and then pull you down to more serious, uncomfortable and unamusing roots. In such a short amount of time, too, which is very difficult to pull off.


"This is John," for example, is very funny, but also says something very interesting about how we try to consciously manipulate the way in which others perceive us, especially in today's post-industrial world. Whether it be through message greetings on answering machines, IM away messages, emails, Myspace profiles, soundbites and images, we now possess the ability to create ideal (but unreal) identities of ourselves in the outside world without ever having to leave the house and engage in one-on-one human interaction. In fact, having such tools of technology on hand makes us prefer NOT to engage in direct human interaction, lest people discover our less ideal (but more real) identities. The problem is that we can literally drive ourselves crazy in our attempt to create such perfect images of ourselves, as we see with John in the film.


One lesson I learned: The ideal appearances that impersonal technology has enabled us to create of our selves are incompatible with our true selves and replacing truth with appearance leads to self-destruction.


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