Living near Stanford University means I can zoom over for any number of lectures or readings or performances, and I do. Monday's presentation on image manipulation presented examples of image manipulation--"fakes" created so long ago that the fakes were not photographs, but paintings created from a mosaic of separate images. The artists who created them were rejected as scoundrels at the time, whereas today's media manipulators are admired as photoshop wizards. The wizards are changing the way the world views beauty, art, women, and sports, to name a few, and are therefore changing culture, even if that was far from the wizard's intent in creating an enhanced image. Guess again. No after-the-fact correction explaining that the legs of one woman were substituted for those of the woman pictured. Teenage boys and girls see the images and internalize the impossible proportions as our culture's embodiment of beauty. The culture is running backward toward Barbie dolls and idealized versions of the human form that are unrelated to actual human bodies. As the former director of Associated Press photo services told the audience, we don't need the FCC to regulate photos shared for news value, we need the photo services themselves to self-regulate and hold themselves to high ethical standards.
I agree, but as my grandmother would say, where are the teeth in that? Who will bite the photographer who violates the high standards and does whatever it takes to get a photograph he can sell to the National Enquirer for several thousand dollars? He will use the words of Gordon Gecko to claim that greed is good for capitalism. Let us bow our heads in a moment of silence for the many middle-class people who have taken financial and emotional hits for the few wild-ass capitalists who plunged the country into recession. You know, Lehman Brothers and friends. I want to see THEM pay personally! Why should we pay for their freakish sense of abandon with other people's money?
I've gone off-topic here, and yet, manipulating the stock market is an advanced version of manipulating an image. The disastrous results should not be shared by everyone--they should be shouldered by those who caused them. No stock trader should ever be immune from the risks they take with other people's money, and once again my grandmother has words for those who hide behind their deeds: go peddle your papers! Quit screwing things up for the rest of us, and our children. Get real. Look around. Enhance this moment by being here now. Do it agin in a minute. Practice, already.