I think that we all remember our parents asking us with a lot of reproach at some point in our childhood or teenhood that annoying and well-worn question “If (s)he jumped off a bridge would you?” – usually as a reaction to our pitiable excuse for doing that silly something that that friend did too (and before us).
Now, many years later, I noticed a social trend (ha!) that has become even so obvious with the wide-spread use of social media. I called it doing it for not not doing it. It is a bit like doing what our peers are doing. Only his time we are not following a silly friend, but we are doing what others in our physical, social, industry or virtual surrounding – and, importantly, very often those we do not know – are doing not for the thrill, but for the fear of being labeled as “those who are not doing it“. It is rather interesting, nowadays we hear from everywhere that we should be original and not be afraid to step out or think outside the box (anyone else hates these buzzphrases?), yet the fear of not being a member of the herd is real.
For example several weeks before the Helsinki Pride, random companies, organisations, associations, political parties, restaurants, probably even daycare centres and post offices, well, everybody was turning all rainbow and sexual minorities aware and friendly (errr… I don’t know how a company of tens of thousands employees can “be” anything in the first place, but let’s leave this aside for now), and of course, there is nothing wrong with it when you actually mean it, feel for the rights of minorities and your (organisation’s) values are somehow connected to those of the minorities – but at some points, the number of fans and supporters reached a critical mass and the support became and issue of who is not with us.
And that is wrong.
It forces peoples and organisations to hypocrisy and soulless trend following, and dishonour the original thought or cause.
Surely, trends spread and once they have reached enough people and have lingered about for a while, they are replaced by another one. Yet one thing is the way trends emerge and spread, yet whole another is how we are forced to submit to the trend in order not to be associated with its opposite.
So no, just because I’m not not Charlie or I do not associate myself openly with Helsinki Pride, it does not mean that I do not feel with the editorial staff of Charlie Hedbo or that I’m a homophobe. I just don’t want to be a part of this.
And now time for a batch of completely unrelated pictures: Warsaw. On analog camera. I liked the city and I’m satisfied with the way the pictures turned out.
… and a picture everyone who has ever been to Warsaw has: