My brother-in-law sent me this one today: PostSecret. The idea is to send an unsigned postcard with a secret on it. It’s an art project, and the cards the artist has put up so far are impressive little pieces of art in themselves. I have to guess he’s filtering out all the boring postcards on which someone has scrawled “I never flush public toilets.” In fact, the cards are so nice in some cases I start to wonder if the secrets are somewhat manufactured for effect. Still, there are some nice ones that have the ring of truth. I like the one that says
I miss feeling close to God.
… sounds like someone should consider moving back home to that Red State they grew up in. All this is reminiscent of the Apology Project, an installation by artist Allan Bridge that started in 1980 as an answering machine and an ad that encouraged people to call in and apologize for something bad they had done. That project grew and flourished for 15 years before the Bridge died. Here are some sample calls, including this dandy tit-for-tat tale from a Vietnam vet.
We all need to be absolved from time to time. Even so, nobody believes in the old cultural mechanisms that used to carry the load. These days, how many people would trust a priest with their secrets? It’s good to see innovation at work on the guilt frontier.