Archive for December 8th, 2022

Many of you are probably familiar with the WWII era “Kilroy Was Here” meme, in which the phrase – usually accompanied by this drawing – was written on walls by American GIs virtually everywhere they ended up.

Recently, the plummeting standards for photographs in the US news media have reached a new nadir.  For years now, an increasing number of photos on the internet have been taken by people who apparently don’t comprehend why a photo framed as a vertical rectangle is called “portrait” style; these pictures are done as landscapes, but rarely feature any interesting detail in the wide swaths of space which appear to one or both sides of the human subject.  Worse still, they’re often headshots which cut off the top of the subject’s head and/or the bottom of his chin, like bad amateur photographers used to do with cheap cameras in the days before digital image capture became ubiquitous.  But all too often there’s still plenty of space to the sides of the face, as though the photographer was too stupid to understand that a cell phone can take pictures when held vertically.  Given that many of these cutoff photos are mug shots, you can find many examples in my news columns; I crop the extraneous space from the sides, but there’s nothing I can do to restore missing crowns or necks, resulting in crap like this or this.  But though those pictures are bad, they’re fine portraiture in comparison with the new fashion, which appear to have been inspired by Kilroy.  The first was taken by cops of one of their gang, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it would be useless as a means of identifying this rapist:

But given that the second is from Getty Images and appeared in the New York Times, I can only conclude that this is becoming A Thing among the stupid, vulgar and tasteless:

I encountered these within days of one another, so it seems unlikely to be a mere coincidence.  And the widely-separated sources point to their both being influenced by some original specimen of cloddishness I haven’t yet encountered.  I truly hope I’m wrong, because for this kind of aesthetic idiocy to gain any traction at all would indicate that the Muses have entirely abandoned us to the tender mercies of some horde of cross-eyed imps of the perverse.  But only time…and perhaps the Times…will tell.

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