You know how a feature of big cities is the ubiquity of people who protest to all passersby their delusions and supernatural ideas? They create signs and pack them with information. They shout at the top of their lungs or they roll a portable speaker connected to a microphone. They aren’t out there to be liked. They are out to share the “love”. The love of “truth”. The love of damnation. The love of steering the flock to their ideas.
As a photographer, I’m fascinated by all people, but these in particular have a special place in my heart. How liberating to care less if they are perceived as odd. Their message is propagating, albeit, to closed ears. Their success has to be in the .001 percent levels.
They are in big cities, because the likelihood of marginalized people have a statistically better chance of surfacing. And if you look closely, they share a network of similar attitudes toward whether they are liked or not. They care more for their message than their appearance, or so they claim. They look in the mirror and the reflection staring back is the smartest, best looking, lover of truth they could ever imagine.
People exist in rural settings, but their street corners aren’t as populated. And just like the debate falling trees in the forest, rarely do we hear their voices or read their signs.
Then came along the burgeoning city of Facebook. It first populated by adolescents wanting to judge people aesthetically. Then families and adults migrated into the suburbs of Facebook City as it became a sprawling metropolis. They came also to judge and be judged. It became a place to share, to be jealous, and to writhe with envy when you discover that friend from kindergarten owns a gorgeous million dollar home, a gated mile long driveway, drives 10 really nice cars, has a perfectly gorgeous spouse, and three perfect children. They have 100s of friends who share funny stories and anecdotes.
Then people friended people with oppositional ideologies as theirs. In real life, they would bypass engaging in politics, science or religion conversations. And if they did engage in controversy, common ground was easier to find. But in Facebook City, those social mores vanished. The culture of armchair theologians, wannabe scientists and know-it-better-than-the politicians grew in numbers networked and cultivated likemindedness.
Then people with hard-to-read signs emerged. Holding their signs higher and higher. Longer and longer. In Facebook City, the size of one’s sign can be as large as he or she wanted. They claimed they don’t care if they’re liked. They, and they alone, hold the truth. Their information is the right information. Their minds are the ones that matter. The sheep follow the rules. But they aren’t sheep. They are the shepherds. Hear their voices and heed their guidance.
And the populations of sheep-y people glance over at them, and they walk on. Just like in every city. Because, you know, coo-coo.
And the hustle bustle continues.
And I stand there, fascinated by them. Staring. Thank you, Facebook City, for finally allowing me to approach them and talk. It’s kind of fun.