Cultural Commentator

An Important Update on Taking Candid Photos of People In Public: Don’t

Cultural Commentator

An Important Update on Taking Candid Photos of People In Public: Don’t

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For years now, people have been operating under the assumption that spotting a humorous-looking or otherwise remarkable person in public makes them fair game for a surreptitious photograph. These are often taken while the person is not looking, or through some sort of elaborate chicanery in which the photographer takes pains to disguise their behavior. They are then posted on our social media feeds where we all gather round to laugh at the freak, and thereby declare ourselves, unlike this obvious outlier, to be good and normal. Behold the other, we say. Is his or her visage not grotesque? A cottage industry of websites has grown around just this sort of behavior, collecting the funniest examples, which we then share further into our social circles.

When governments and police departments secretly record citizens‘ movements and behavior in public, we justly call this an outrage. When voyeurs snap creepshots of women in public for their own masturbatory purposes, we arrest them, and decry their vile behavior. And yet, for some reason, otherwise reasonable people, many of who are likely posting in your Facebook or Twitter feeds as we speak, see nothing troubling about taking a photo of an overweight person, or a drunk person, or a homeless person, or a tall, short, ugly, nerdy looking, or otherwise easily mockable person, with the intent of humiliating them in public.

Similarly, a more recent trend has cropped up, largely based around dating apps like Tinder, in which people interact with potential matches, judge them to be lacking in some capacity, then take screenshots of the interactions to share with the world. “Look at this creep,” the sharer says, violating the privacy of a person who presumed their correspondence would remain between them. Unless the person in question has said or done something truly outrageous, the creep in this scenario is not who people seem to think it is.

Both of these are fucked up and should stop. Kindly update your internal settings to reflect these changes, effective today.

@lukeoneil47