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.