Are you…my avatar?

Maybe…we all have an avatar inside, waiting to get out. A different self with a limited social filter and maybe a pair of wings, or true biceps. The self that has the tattoos we don’t want to suffer for, the haircut that would never fly at work, the eyes that are more animal than human.

Snapshot_011copyright design, Sienna Haines via Teen Second Life

The Beatles are avatars now, Kurt Cobain—he’s got one. Some of my best friends are avatars. Not…really, but I’d like to think so. There’s a service I’ve seen advertised on Facebook that can turn your photo into a virtual self. And the online games where you can power through the landscape as a hover board-riding maniac, and that new movie: AVATAR. I’d like to live in that movie for a month, and I’ve only seen the previews.

The thing is, much as I get psyched about this avatar business, I can’t help think there’s little new here. Dostoyevsky had an alter ego–a mean little beaurocrat who appeared in that long story, The Double. Peter Pan, I think he was Wendy’s double. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, they were Carroll’s twice times double. Tim O’Brien owns one. You could spend weeks and months going through movies and books and even that four-handed piece, The Rite of Spring, picking out the mirrored images. The Talmud, dream time, Cane and Abel, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, that split that runs so neatly down the middle of our brains….

You know, after a while, the whole thing just makes my head hurt.


Casandra Nova

To watch a clip from Avatar, click on this link:


copyright essay, lise haines

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  1. Hi Cassandra Nova– I love your name; my favorite online Avatar belongs to ‘Litotes,’ whose image is of a snake eating itself and whose name means a double negative along the lines of ‘i was not unhappy to hear…’ Litotes is a tricky fellow;
    Cassandra Nova sounds cool; I don’t have an image to go with mine, but my avatar on Twitter is StarWrit and I did pick Twitter’s purple starry background to match that– Will have to check out the Avatar Preview; I want to live in the cheerful buttery Preview for Julia & Julie– xx– E.

    • Lise Haines says:

      Thanks, E.
      I’m actually kind of famous. I know that sounds egotistical, but you should look me up sometime–I mean online. Oh, I loved that movie too. Even though…I’m just not that good with my hands.
      I love your website!