The Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

The Internet is Terrible
June 11, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lately, I’ve taken to browsing Pinterest. Although probably a major factor in why I don’t ever update this blog, Pinterest is one of them new-fangled social bookmarking sites, like if Tumblr and had a baby. Incidentally, this means that Pinterest is, above all, a vapid “Oh, look how pretttyyyyyy” wall of image-vomit. Given that, let me be the first to say: shit’s addicting. Pinterest is like an endless bite-size novelty dispenser, and that novelty is composed of almost entirely pretty things and baked goods. Pinterest has an “everything,” board, which is a random, unfiltered amalgamation of other pins. Naturally, there’s some stuff that shows up which I take issue with –  people pin as many photos of cupcake recipes as they do photos labelled “thinspiration,” for example, but of course, if I ever say anything, I am a big Pinterest Party Pooper and I should take my critical thinking back to, like, school or something because, like, we are just saying, you know? And this is Pinterest, so, like, butt out of my business, okay?

But the following photo caught my eye:

  It was captioned, “Kiss,” posted on somebody’s “Photography,” pinboard. The clickthrough led to another person’s pin (also on their photography pinboard), and their clickthrough led to a random photography tumblr, where the caption was, a little more appropriately, “the kiss of life.”

Now, I will contend that this is an excellent photo. So excellent, in fact, that the photographer, Georgina Cranston, won the Photography Master’s Cup in Photojournalism for it. Of course, none of the people who posted this photo credited the photographer, even though on both Tumblr and Pinterest one has the full capability to do so if via nothing more than a clickback. But, hey, they probably didn’t do that because they didn’t know where it came from – they just reposted a pretty image they saw of a little boy giving a kiss.

A little Sudanese boy, giving a kiss.

A little Sudanese boy, not giving a kiss, rather, but taking a drink. From the very obviously unclean and very likely unsafe water of the Aquem river. Because unless you live with your head under a fucking rock, you would know that the Sudan, along with being plagued by seemingly endless civil war, genocide, and poverty, has a severe lack of safe drinking water. Multiple charities exist that travel to Sudan to drill wells – without them, millions of Sudanese (usually women and children) must walk for hours to a nearby river, pond, or hand-dug well (often under threat of violent attack and rape), every day, carrying home a heavy jug full of water that is often contaminated with parasites and bacteria.

Perhaps, then, you can understand why the pinning of this photo with the pithy caption, “Kiss,” by a middle-aged white woman holding a flute of champagne in her profile picture might piss me off a little. The photo was taken with the goal of informing others about what Sudan looks like – showing it off simply for its compositional beauty is akin to talking about the writing style of The Diary of Anne Frank: it completely misses the point.


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