February 26, 2007

People have amused me for years. I’m an observer more than a participator. I’m introverted (albeit not shy). My preference is to be on the outside of a situation as a mere observer rather than to be within the situation. This is the obvious source for the title of my blog. The other source is slightly more obscure, but I’ll leave that as a game for you, gentle readers.

Whatever the rationale behind my stance on other people, they certainly amuse me. What amuses me the most is the way that some basic drives take over otherwise totally rational people. We are all totally rational until the possibility of nudity, or nudity itself, presents itself.

Take, for example thopper23, a good photographer and clearly a little bit of an exhibitionist. That’s fair. The web is a great place for exhibitionism, if that’s your game. I found her profile in a friend-of-a-friend sort of manner. I don’t normally think of Flickr as a place for titillating content such as this.

One of her more popular pictures is this one, which to my untrained eye is a fairly atmospheric image with a slightly unusual pose … that could certainly use a good crop to cut out some of the barren top third of the image. Perhaps cutting to just above the nipple would have served to tease a little more effectively. But, hey, I’m not the creator of this work.

What amuses me here is not that somebody would take a picture of themselves and put it up online. No, lots of people do that, and most aren’t brave enough to be so open about it. Thopper23 is certainly not the focus of my criticism here. What amuses me is, quite simply, the automatonistic nature of the people who reply.

The picture has upwards of 20 comments, plus some by the creator herself. 51 people have favourited the image. Over 3,000 people have viewed the image. Yet she has many other images on which there are no comments, and no favourite tags. So what’s the difference?

The difference, generally, is that the other pictures don’t include nipples, or naked breasts at all. And yet everybody remains so polite that they can’t bring themselves to say anything about why they’ve been driven to leave a comment. Most comments are of the standard “nice shot” or “one of my favs” variety, with the odd “I think that…” or “love the necklace” thrown in for good measure. It’s been “nominated” three times for various user-generated awards, although two of those were by the one poor guy who didn’t have the balls to say what it was he actually liked about the image. I’d be interested in seeing how he’s distributed his other award nominations.

The comments attached to this image amused me further. Perhaps this guy didn’t read her profile long enough to find out that she’s taken. Fortunately, she shot him down in the most polite way she could have done.

Clearly the people who comment on Flickr are the middle-classes of the Web-2.0 world. The lower classes would have been more open about their reason for posting; “nice tits!!”, they would have cried. En-masse. Not so with the middle class. The citizens in the middle classes are intelligent enough to know that they must restrain themselves, for the creator of the image would clearly not appreciate anything so brash as to state outright why you like the image. Indeed, to do so might make her stop creating new images at all.

In other words, the middle classes use their superior intellect to acquire more images of breasts by encouraging the creators to make more, while not talking about breasts at all. Smart.

But at the end of the day, it’s still boob-hunting.

I’m not denying that we’re all sexual creatures. We are, and we should embrace it. But I hope that some day we do progress just a little.


2 Responses to “Titillation.”

  1. thopper23 said

    Hello, anonymous blogger.

    It really makes me wonder how I could be the subject of this post.

    Granted, I have posted a handful of photos of my breasts. Nothing of course, that hasn’t been displayed for thousands of years by thousands of artists in thousands of formats. Go to any museum.

    And while, I can’t compare myself to the masters, I can somehow distinguish my work and experimentation with photography, photoshop and lighting. As opposed to some of the users on the web that do psuedo-pornography in their bedroom while their parents are sleeping.

    This post mildly, yet clearly, exposes a puritanical side to your nature. I take some bruised feelings away from this single encounter with your online persona. And I sincerely hope that one day, you might consider dropping someone an email to let them know that you are going to politely ridicule them.


  2. That you were the subject of the post in question was mere chance; it could have been anybody. Perhaps I should have mailed first; if you wish after reading this, I will gladly remove the post or rewrite it in more general terms.

    Contrary to your interpretation of my post, my intention was rather the opposite. I was not criticising you in any way (nay, I was applauding).

    I was, however, being critical of the (predominantly male) responses to *some* of your pictures. At the same time, I was amused at how differently people respond to images on Flickr compared to, say, your average swinger’s site. I get tired of men being so childish, and the desire to respond in each setting is the same, though the wordings are different.

    I’m certainly no puritan. I’m sure the topic will bubble up to the front of my mind in some way or another in the future. Feel free to take a look around, there’s much more to read.

    For the record, a more recent shot than that blog post, “set the controls”, does benefit from the Floyd reference. Subtle things like that make any photostream worthwhile.

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