The anonymity factor

On TV we have personalities with nothing to say; the internet has people with something to say, but no public persona

"Do you know who I am?"

In the event, the waiter didn't, but he knew his interlocutor's game.

"Can anyone help?" he said, confidently undercutting the shrill tones that accompany the imminent implosion of self-importance, "I've got a man here who doesn't know who he is?"

When I write here on Cif, of course, you can see who I am. The rise of the byline photograph has been one of the most creeping and insidious developments in newspapers over the last 20 years. Once upon a time, the occasional badly-reproduced columnist's face used to grace the "op-ed" pages of newspapers. But now, newspaper publishing is almost as much about personality as, well, politics. It won't be long before the photographs accompanying interviews represent the journalist rather than the person they're interviewing.

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