East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"

What have camera phones wrought?



Lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend from friends on social media sites-they have begun covertly snapping photos and making videos of strangers. They then upload them to Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter to poke fun for all the world- well, all their friends and possibly friends of friends and/or assorted followers- to see.


I've been "treated" to pictures of women in ill fitting jeans, leggings and tops, or fat people riding in mobilized scooters at Wal-Mart. There have been photos of feet looking ashy, full of corns and bunions. Children running wild in stores, and oh-so-many bad weaves, haircuts, dye jobs and split ends. In fact, hair (or lack of) may just be the most popular subject to capture for social network scorn. Wigs slightly off-kilter, gray-wite roots, and of course, the "horror" that is natural afro-textured hair.


I've gotten downright pissed when babies, children, the disabled and the elderly are targeted. Why do this? How is this okay? And if it is so okay, why not ask for consent first? Why turn off the flash and then snap away? Who says these people want to play viral video star for you and your friends' enjoyment? Why did a quick run to Walgreens for Allegra turn into a photo shoot? How does being in your line of vision equal out to being center stage in some stranger's Newsfeed?


Perhaps, you are one of these people who have done it and see nothing wrong. Would you be okay with someone else turning their iPhone on you, your kids, parents or property? 


What's the big deal, you may ask. You're just sharing with your friends the way you would if they were standing right there being little mean girls with you, right? Well, no, you're not. You're taking a picture, capturing the moment. You're holding on to it permanently, as opposed to having a fleeting moment to mock the 500 pound scooter-rider holding up the checkout line at Wal-Mart. Yes, you're holding on for posterity and future nastiness some random person's physical or verbal failings. And then playing 21st century circus ringleader to get others to marvel at the freaks. 


At least the Bearded Lady knew what she was getting as she was being gawked at on stage.


But I suppose, in the era of continual streaming and omnipresent wifi, the old saying, "All the world is a stage", has never been more true. 


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