Pictures at an Exhibition

I have to confess that my fellow man doth perplex me, oftenly. Take the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco Supreme. That’s it – just think about this for a minute – no, just thirty seconds. And ask yourself – why? Alright, now that you’ve wrapped your head around that brain tickler, let’s try this question on for size.  Why do people take photos of paintings in a museum?

We see this repeatedly, especially in galleries with large signs saying – NO PHOTOGRAPHY, AND, YES, THAT MEANS YOU, MR. AMERICAN TOURIST. People ignore this stuff all the time. And for that I have to fall back on the simple explanation that they assume that since they’re in a foreign country, the signs are going to be in some foreign language that they won’t understand, so ipso facto, the signs can be safely ignored. And this is in London! I, for one, think that if we’re ever going to elevate the opinion of the rest of the world about American tourists, we need to form a corps of nuns, and send them out to prowl around tourist attractions and whack people’s knuckles with long super-springy yardsticks. Even if the whackees haven’t done anything yet. Because, it’s nuns and they just know. It’s their superpower.

So I wonder about the people taking pictures of pictures. Are they going to put together a slide show for their friends about the wonders of Uffizi Gallery? Will couples page through the pictures in years from now and say, “Ah, yes, the Hermitage. Remember, after the museum, we found that little streetwalk café, where you got roaring drunk on cheap vodka? And later, when you were passed out in a pool of your own vomit, I was approached by that fascinating young man who desired nothing more than to practice his English, and in return show me that male prostitution doesn’t have to be cheap and tawdry? Oh, what good times those were, such good times.”

I’ve been tempted more than once to walk up to someone who’s standing in front of some famous painting, trying to photograph it, and then saying, sotto voce, “Psst, buddy. No, don’t look around. Just keep looking at the nice painting there. What’re you doing, trying to case the joint? This is our turf, pal, and we already have our eyes on that particular piece of canvas, and we don’t appreciate the competition, if you know what I mean. So if you know what’s good for you you’ll be on the next train outta town. Now scram.” And I’d use a James Cagney kind of intonation, cause that would be just awesome.

Mary is kind of a killjoy about things like that. Which is probably a good thing for yours truly, since I almost never end up in Polícia or Gendarmerie stations, anymore.

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