Maybe the title of this post oversimplifies things.
The topic is embarrassing photos. People with integrity won’t snap pictures of someone’s most humiliating moments and post them online, and I wish we could get that message across to the juvenile types who haven’t grasped the concept.
When a man gets an inopportune erection or a woman has a menstrual bleed-through, the best people (of any age) will either pretend not to notice or do something to protect the unfortunate person. It isn’t unheard of for two women to be seen walking, one close behind the other, to the restroom. Don’t ask what’s going on, and don’t even think about making history on Instagram.
Recently, a former Playboy centerfold model posted an illicit photo she took of an older woman inside a gym locker room, and the woman she photographed is pressing charges. Fortunately, the apologists aren’t out in force. Only creepy clowns would approve of what she did.
Then there are those pictures of Donald Trump that we’re being discouraged from sharing.
There’s a good reason the pictures of Trump are the exception, and not just because he’s a public figure. Celebrities should be safe during their accidental erections, menstrual bleed-throughs and moments in the locker room just the way the rest of us should be safe.
The real issue with the photos Donald Trump finds embarrassing is they reflect who he is. True, some might be photoshopped. Others are not, and some of us remember exactly what he was doing when they were taken. The image in the lower lefthand corner was taken when he ridiculed a journalist’s physical disability (see Facebook screenshot below).
As amoral as the President-elect, his family and his sycophants are, we should object if someone posts photos (or, heaven forbid, videos) of them under conditions that demand privacy*. There’s a distinction between a picture which reflects on a person’s character, and one which causes unnecessary embarrassment. Standards apply to all of us, and those standards are especially important now that nearly everyone carries a camera phone. Until recently, public figures worried mainly about freelancers with telephoto lenses, but the threat is bigger now. Now anyone is at risk, and without empathy anyone is a potential predator.
A person with a sense of decency would engage in introspection if his or her bad public behavior resulted in pictures like the ones below. Donald Trump and his supporters just want the photos to disappear. If the rest of us have the right sensitivity for the millions who will be harmed by a hateful Administration, we’ll keep the pictures (specifically the lower left, center and top center) right where everyone can see them.
* An asterisk is used because the impression has been given that Melania Trump is okay with nude photos from her past. Those pictures weren’t taken surreptitiously, though. She agreed to them, and evidently signed a release.