One of the most important things that ever happened to me as an impressionable 20-summat was a book that I was told to read as part of my University degree. I never realised that it was also a TV show in the 1970’s:
John Berger pretty much redefined a generation’s view of themselves and everything else with Ways of Seeing. If you have never read it I cannot urge you enough to go and do so, because what this book does is redefine a basic tenet: ‘the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.’ It is a very significant point to make, now and always, that when presented with an image, it is not a truth. It can be defined in so many different ways, depending on the context in which you present it. I have a brilliant example of this: it’s my Giant Blue Cock:
Yes, it’s a sculpture, but in my Twitter feed it is male genitalia that I couldn’t put there but people know exist in my head, my world view and therefore they accept the interpretation of that ‘image’ into theirs. It’s like pictures of Spotted Dick and Richard Nixon, you get the joke. It is the acceptance of your audience of how visual association works. That means by definition that if you present a certain set of images in a particular fashion, you’re making a point.
I have a perfect example of this right here.
This came from Rosie O’Donnell’s Twitter account. This is, I assume, a Democratic, Hillary Clinton supporting woman’s conscious decision, based on a very depressing point that wants to be made, and the disbelief in my head when I saw this was considerable, as it comes from someone who should really grasp the power of image when misused… and that’s what this is. I could google Mr Trump’s wife and find many, many pictures of her looking as all those other First Ladies do, but then what was would be the point of that Tweet to begin with? Mrs Trump was a nude model before she married her husband: isn’t the USA supposed to be the place where it doesn’t matter about your past, you can still be a success? I can only assume that this was posted to make a point, that somehow posing nude in ‘public’ makes you less worthy than other women, and certainly not worthy enough to be the First Lady.
This is, like it or not, the reality of my existence. It’s not just the images either: I doubt this article on the potential horrors that climate change could be bringing wouldn’t have ended up in my feed were Trump not now President-elect. If your job is to sell advertising and not educate people, how can you really tell what’s truth or what’s well-placed scaremongering? How do you make a distinction, when even the people you know will put their particular spin on your world view?
Everybody colours the World in their own way to survive. You gravitate towards people who you feel safe with and can trust. You view ‘the enemy’ with revulsion and terror, but if you were on the other side of the fence…? That’s exactly what you’d still be doing. My mate Vitt just took me at my word when I asked: here’s five First Ladies, all together, without a prejudicial bias. That’s just what they are. If you have no desire to make a point, and all you want is to help, does it really matter one iota which side of the fence you happen to be on? Nope, you just help each other. If all you’re here to do is be angry and cause trouble?
However much you hate the Orange Man right now, for whatever reason, the fact remains he is only one part of a far more complex set of variables, a lot of which you really can do something about. Sitting there and throwing shit at those who won because you think this will make you feel better? Well, it might, but if you choose to do that in public, it is likely to do you far more harm than good. I’ve lost respect for someone today who I thought would know better, and am grateful to someone else for being a decent person. Your experience of life may vary, but one thing remains: we are all the same. Deep down, our basic DNA structures mean that, like it or not, everybody is human.
How you choose to demonstrate that is, of course, entirely up to you.