The NYT is very disappointed in us. We’re Not Afraid, a moblog dedicated to showing solidarity with Londoners, came off without the dour depression and self-righteous piety of Sorry Everybody. And, how sad that is.
No, really, that’s the lead:
Every momentous occasion seems to have a moblog (read: mob log). But not every moblog is created equal. In 2004, there was Sorry Everybody (sorryeverybody.com), a Web site where hundreds of people posted pictures of themselves apologizing for the re-election of George W. Bush. Now there’s We’re Not Afraid (werenotafraid.com), a mass pictorial response to the terrorist bombings in London. We’re Not Afraid has exactly the same form as Sorry Everybody, but a wholly different tone and effect.
We’re Not Afraid has exactly the same form as Sorry Everybody, but a wholly different tone and effect.
Among the terrible transgressions on We’re Not Afraid:
Today, if you manage to get on the site at all (it’s so popular that the server can’t quite keep up), you may see among the thousand or so postings a picture of Yoda from "Star Wars" with the words, "Not afraid I am." Or you may see Eric from the animated series "South Park" saying: "I’m not afraid – I’m big boned!!!!!!!" Or you may find a picture of a pink handbag with the words, "Hey, terrorists, have a bag of bothered." Yes, frivolity has arrived.
Imagine that. Rampant photshoppism and a sense of humor on the Web. You’ll not find that kind of rot in the New York Times, that’s for sure. Instead, you’ll find a critique of this worldwide outpouring of support with the same stuffy, humorless, self-righteousness you’ve grown to expect from the Times.
Memo to the Times: This is how people act when they are not afraid. They tell jokes, they ridicule their enemies, they even go to the beach and drive their cars, which the NYT also finds detestable:
But more and more, there’s a brutish flaunting of wealth and leisure. Yesterday there were lots of pictures posted of smiling families at the beach and of people showing off their cars and vans. A picture from Italy shows a white sports car and comes with the caption: "Afraid? Why should we be afraid?"
A few days ago, We’re Not Afraid might have been a comfort. Today, there’s a hint of "What, me worry?" from Mad magazine days, but without the humor or the sarcasm. We’re Not Afraid, set up to show solidarity with London, seems to be turning into a place where the haves of the world can show that they’re not afraid of the have-nots.
Ugh, if I could roll my eyes anymore they’d get stuck up inside my noggin. You’ll notice that this family has the all-out gall to flaunt their superior sitting arrangements by sitting on their Westernized couch! Brutes!
One wonders how the Times would like us to say "we’re not afraid." This critic wants "We’re Not Afraid" to be the same as "Sorry Everybody," but conveniently overlooks the fact that the messages of the two pages are completely different. The "Sorry Everybody" message requires seriousness, compassionate head-tilts, and NYT-level gloominess.
"We’re Not Afraid" is a message that allows for some happiness, some toughness, some defiance, even a few (gasp!) middle fingers (though many of the images are not “frivolous”). And, what better message to send to a bunch of puritanical terrorists?
As for me, "I’m not afraid– I’m big-boned!!!"