Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Loss Of Social Decency, Nell..?

Nell Frizzell has a problem with the Internet:
There is a rule when it comes to the internet: if you can think of it, then it probably already exists. There are thousands of strange and brilliant blogs and Facebook groups to prove the theory.
She then lists some of the ones she personally likes. They are OK, clearly. They don’t do much for me, but, well, horses for courses, and all that.

But there’s one she does have problems with:
Women Who Eat On Tubes has 15,400 members and counting on Facebook. The David Bailey fan page has, by contrast, just 1,782.
For those of you who haven't seen this latest example of public transport trolling, allow me to explain.
Well, I don’t think you’re going to be very informative, since you clearly believe this to be ‘trolling’ and so haven’t the faintest clue about…well, anything .
Women Who Eat On Tubes is an open Facebook group where people post full-frontal pictures of women eating on the London underground. So far, so invasive.
Because scoffing a greasy dripping burger on public transport (or a box of fried chicken) isn't at all ‘invasive’ of others' personal space?
What tips the balance just that little bit further is that the photographers also upload the time the photo was taken, the food the woman was eating and the tube line that she was travelling on.
I have huge reservations about people taking photos of strangers on trains in the first place. Particularly when those people are made easily identifiable and the subject of anonymous, derisive, malicious humour. But this group sticks in my gullet for other reasons.
And, of course, it’s the ‘Is it ‘cos I is a woman?’ excuse:
Firstly, Women Who Eat On Tubes highlights, once again, that age-old, tiresome comparison between sex and food. I hate that plus-size models are so often photographed chewing on bloody steaks or drizzled in honey.
*sigh* Sometimes, Nell, a cigar is just a cigar…
I don't think we should follow Hungary's model and make it illegal to take a photograph without gaining the permission of everyone in frame…
Well, that would be unenforceable. Which is, I suspect, the only reason you aren't calling for it.
… but the trend towards photographing strangers feels like a loss of social decency. We are losing our grip on what it is to be human. We are forgetting that other people have feelings too.
Except those people who might object to you stuffing your face on public transport, I suppose?
Finally, as someone who relishes eating whatever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want, I hugely dislike the fact that women eating on the tube is even seen as noteworthy. To enjoy food alone and to eat without shame are vital parts of becoming self-sufficient. And self-sufficiency is the surest path to unshakable happiness.
Yes, people objecting to your gustatory habits are oppressing you! How dare they not celebrate your freedom to shove a kebab in your capacious maw on a packed Northern Line train!
So, what is the answer? Sophie Wilkinson, a journalist, discovered a photo of herself uploaded to Women Who Eat On Tubes last week. After emailing the photographer, complaining to Facebook and approaching Transport For London, Wilkinson's attempts to address the situation were frustrated by the fact that to take photos of strangers on the tube is not illegal.
So, there’s no answer. Other than to wait until you get home.

Oh, you could try a ‘sit in’ if you want, but you won’t affect anyone other than your fellow commuters who will just view you as even more of a nuisance than if you were shovelling fries into your mouth...

Update: The Facebook page has now been pulled. Are they happy now that the company has rolled over to appease them?
Speaking to the Standard later, Ms McKay said she was still planning to hold Monday's protest as she said the original group "reflected a wider issue".
She said: "I am really glad that it's been taken down. I am quite surprised. But I think it reflects a wider issue. There were still 20,000 people who loved that group. There is still a message to be sent out."
Clearly not. And they won’t be happy until they’ve punished the thoughtcrime of liking a Facebook page.

Or perhaps they’ll never be happy? They seem the types, after all…


Barman said...

Demetrius said...

This is certainly something to chew over.

Curmudgeon said...

Is it illegal to take a tourist photo in the street in Hungary? Really?

andy5759 said...

I do not like my photograph to be taken. I know that their is nothing I can do about it other than live with it. As for me eating in public, I always avoid it where possible.

The Jannie said...

Yes, you may photograph or video who or what you like in or from a place to which the public has free and unfettered access. Sorry, nothing to complain about here, move along, move along . . .

I'm surprised that the tube is regarded as such, given that shopping centres are private property and enforced as such; often to ludicrous lengths, of course.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Not only Hungary (Is there not a bit of irony there? Eating on tubes and Hungry... sorry Hungary?)

Germany you can photograph people without their permission, BUT(!) if it is then used for commercial purposes, or, via Facefuck, or similar, made public, you can be arrested/prosecuted for "invasion of the private space, which carries a possible fine or even imprisonment up to three years (Stand to be corrected, it COULD be five years....?)There is also the possibility to sue in civil court for the same "offence." (So, basically, you can be prosecuted twice!)

Furor Teutonicus said...

Oh! AND eating on the Berlin S/U Bahn is banned any way. Also in other citys, but each has their own rules.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX I'm surprised that the tube is regarded as such, given that shopping centres are private property and enforced as such;XX

The difference could lay in the fact that the tube is publicly funded, the shopping center not?

Rickie said...

Yeah name and shame and photo those the eat on the tube...especially KFC.

Knawing at a KFC chicken bone like a dog on a packed tube just aint nice, nor is wandering around and slobbering over a fucking gigantic burger with ketchup dripping like blood from it acceptable at Lincoln christmas market too.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

Thank heavens it's not in Smell-O-Vision, as the usual suspects gorge themselves on greasy fried chicken or a slimy kebab.

I didn't live in London before the Third World invasion. Was it ever seen in, say, the Sixties or early Seventies?

JuliaM said...

"This is certainly something to chew over."


"As for me eating in public, I always avoid it where possible."

Me too. What happened to self-control?

"I didn't live in London before the Third World invasion. Was it ever seen in, say, the Sixties or early Seventies?"

Rarely. Back then, people still had manners (in general).