That Was Then and This Is Now

Remember when people used to hate getting their picture taken? In the days of film. I guess it was because people used to keep pictures of you, no matter how bad they were. Now, you just delete them. This is not news to you. But it is hard for kids today to understand.

I was trying to explain this to some kids at school the other day.

Now, I'm 39 years old. When I was a kid, if you were 39 years old, it was just a given that if you were female, you didn't let anyone take your picture. There are exactly 3 pictures in existence of my stepmother between 1980 and 1995. And none of my mother.

I don't care any more about pictures of me. Even if I look hideous, it seems like pictures don't have the permanence they used to have. They say they internet is forever, but I don't believe it. Thus the blog. This blog will disappear into oblivion. Actually, this is oblivion. Already. Which is sort of nice.

It's quiet here...

Nowadays, I take pictures constantly. And throw out everything. I must have 2,000 pictures of my daughter. There are about 200 pictures of me as a child, taken by my grandparents, and that was considered really weird. Really weird.

What is all of this obsessive picture taking doing to us?

I guess it depends on what you do with the pictures.

The teenagers I work with post ratings of one another on facebook. The boys especially rate the girls, on how they look. "You're an 8 out of 10," one boy posts on the girl's timeline. One boy I teach does this more than once a day to one of the girls I teach. She was complaining about it. He rated her before school and after school. As far as I can tell, she doesn't even like him. Why does she pay attention?

Awful as that may sound, they at least do non-superficial things, too: they have posts which begin, "The truth is..." and they say wonderful things sometimes. "The truth is, you're the kindest person I know..." "The truth is, you helped me when I was down..." "The truth is, you're very smart."

As if it weren't difficult enough to be fourteen years old!

Going back to then, I didn't enjoy getting my picture taken. This is the only picture the yearbook staff got of me:

I still have that tote bag. The photo didn't make the yearbook, but it made facebook twenty years later. Facebook is forever. Sort of. Is there a word that mean eternally in the past? Jason saved the negatives. On a scale of one to ten, I give me a three. The truth is, I probably had something stuck in my teeth.


  1. "It's quiet here..."


    (Just to liven things up a little..)

  2. The cover article of May 20th Time might be an interesting read for you, C_d. "The Me Me Me Generation". Also, check out Jaron Lanier (

  3. Oroboros-I'd never heard of Jaron Lanier before. Definitely worth taking a closer look. And it's funny that Time is writing about the same thing I am?

    Professor Batty, maybe I just need some Icelandic music around here.