I. Where Salvation Lies
Upon discovering that I had relatively poor vision in the seventh grade—difficulties seeing the whiteboard and anything from afar—it was understood that I would need to get glasses. Not just any glasses though, the specific style that I wanted were those worn by the front man of the rock group Linkin Park, Chester Bennington; they were thick-framed, black glasses, and in my mind, they looked amazing—on him. As it would turn out, the glasses looked less than stellar on me and I got a completely different pair.
Back then, I was an adamant fan of Linkin Park. In desiring to align characteristics of their identity with my own, the thought of looking like Bennington and wearing his glasses seemed like a logical expression of self.
I knew all the lyrics, saw every music video, and owned all of the albums.
Members of Linkin Park were not aware of my existence—camped out on a farm in the backwoods of North Dakota—but I felt a compelling bond towards them and their music. Social scientists characterize this kind of one-sided relationship as “parasocial” in nature. I knew everything about Linkin Park, but they were not privy in the slightest way to the particulars of my life. Much of my relationship with the group slanted more towards the illusion of interaction than of actual social interaction. Mass media outlets served as intermediaries between us.