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May 25, 2006

No Photos Please

You've probably seen this picture:


Allegedly, this image is from a women's soccer hazing ritual that went down at Northwestern University. Hazing is a divisive issue in college athletics, and I believe that each side of the debate has a valid...

Oh, fuck it, I don't care. If you want to read serious opinions about this incident, go somewhere else. I don't care about hazing for the same reason I don't care about ethno-political violence in Darfur: BECAUSE IT DOESN'T SPECIFICALLY AND IMMEDIATELY AFFECT ME. Anyway, it's a tough issue. Hazing is certainly abusive and unnecessary, but if it allows me to see drunk college girls in their underwear, who am I to bite the hand that feeds?

However, I must admit that these images do disturb me. Not because those poor Northwestern girls have been humiliated, but because the circumstances surrounding their humiliation could easily lead to my own.

You see, I'm the sort of person who tends to do offensive and embarrassing things. In public. CONSTANTLY. Hardly a week goes by that I don't do something that brings shame upon myself and my family. Fortunately, that shame generally has a limited shelf-life. When I do something stupid, a few people see me do it, they tell their friends what an ass I am... and eventually people forget about it.

That last part is critical: eventually people forget. But they won't forget those Northwestern girls -- because someone decided it would be a good idea to take photos. People on the cable news networks argue about NSA wiretaps and CIA surveillance, but no one wants to talk about the real threat to our privacy: cheap digital cameras and the assholes who carry them EVERYWHERE. Every social event I attend, someone is taking photos. Maybe they send them to their friends, perhaps they post them on their blogs. They might even be saving them for future blackmail schemes. Ultimately, it doesn't matter why they take the photos... the mere presence of the cameras could have a terrible chilling effect on my tendency toward disgraceful and lewd public acts.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I am one of those camera wielding assholes -- but NOT WILLINGLY. I recently discovered that my mobile phone has a camera on it! Obviously, I don't know how to use it -- not because because I'm stupid but because I'm lazy. I don't bother learning to use technology I don't need. If my toaster-oven had a built in electron microscope, I wouldn't learn to use it just so I could see what my bagel looks like at x10,000 magnification.

Why can't they add features to cell phones that are actually useful?

Posted by Joey at May 25, 2006 05:57 AM

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