Over at B&W, there has been a bit of a kerfuffle over a photo taken earlier today. Last I checked, I am barred from commenting over there, but I do feel that Jacques Rousseau deserves a response:
Chas – you and Damion (the fellow on the right, for those who don’t know) are surely being needlessly provocative here? Even if you believe you’re on the side of the right (which I’m not conceding), this is a simple playground barb. And it’s too soon to be ironic about either the Slymepit, or Elevatorgate, though I don’t think that’s what you were intending. In short, there’s no chance that this can raise the level of discourse, and there’s no chance that – if your interpretation of history, or position on how people should respond to it, is correct – that this will result in changing anyone’s mind in favour of your view.
The t-shirts may indeed have been needlessly provocative, in that context, and I would be happy to hash that question out at some length. If you care to make the case that posting at the Pit (or admitting to doing so in public) is somehow inherently provocative or otherwise morally valanced, I’d be quite happy to hear you out. That said, the shirts are totally incidental to the photo. What happened here was that we wanted to have a picture taken with some of our friends from Tulsa before we all went our separate ways. We posed against the nearest available wall, because we didn’t want a confusing background featuring people milling about. Smile. Click. That’s it. That is all that happened.
No one in that photo was talking about elevators, Elevatorgate, or any of the usual hot topics. No one even noticed that we were standing directly beneath what turned out to be the largest elevator notice sign in the Midwest. This may have been, in retrospect, an unfortunate coincidence, but it is what it is.
As to raising the level of discourse, I agree that this is a worthy goal. How is blogging and commenting about a tweeted photo going to do that? I have no idea. Would it not be far better to simply allow people to take whatever photographs they like with their friends and avoid rage-blogging about it?