I’ve thought about this for a while now, and I haven’t decided what I’d say to photojournalist Brandon Stanton, the man behind the prominent photo blog Humans of New York.
Imagine if Brandon caught me on the same day I hired a dwarf to be my personal assistant. What would I say if he asked me what my favorite thing about my dwarf is? I’d either go blank or just blurt out the truth. Which is seemingly borderline offensive and, admittedly unhealthy, considering that my bizarre infatuation for dwarves has grown over the last few years. (I catch myself watching pornographic movies with male dwarves having sex with average-sized women. It doesn’t turn me on. In fact, I find its irreverence entertaining. I purposely play the movies backwards, being that I find it amusing that it looks like the act of a difficult birth. I think I need help.)
While I believe that I’d be displaying a whimsical union with my dwarf, by sharing a moment with him as we pose for a picture on Humans of New York with a caption that reads, “I like him because an iPhone looks like an iPad in his hands,” I know I’d receive some backlash in the comment section. No one finds political incorrectness to be humorous or, dare I say, progressive. It’s like everyone walks around with a stick up their ass. That’s why I have to think of something cliché to say or, at least, provide some pseudo-philosophical commentary in an attempt to sound wise.
Admit it. You’ve thought about what you’d say to Brandon, too. Perhaps, there’s a chance that you might already have a little dialogue prepared. You might even notice yourself apprehensively roaming the neighborhoods he most frequents, hoping to encounter the photographer with the bestselling book. I know this because people are already doing it.
“Check it out. I’ve got your book on my iPad!” said a recent on-duty officer. “I thought you might be around here. A few minutes ago, some old guy reported that some guy was trying to take his picture for some website.”
Not only has HONY’s notoriety brought New Yorkers together and gotten our attention, but in its attempt to document our authenticity it has etched out an egocentric platform that gives celebrity status — akin to reality show stars — to those who appear on the famous blog. Ultimately, this makes most stories, words of wisdom, a person’s character, and even their identity questionable.
And that’s my struggle, folks. I can’t help but browse through the HONY pictures and read the blurbs without my intuitive taste buds savoring the flavor of a spoonful of cynicism. The more content I come across, the more I feel that a lot of these people are full of shit.
“This is our first date. We met on the bus.” Balderdash! You hooked up on Tinder.
One day, I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw that one of my managers was the latest occupant of Brandon’s eye. He wasn’t alone, either. My manager was photographed with his wife and his child. To my surprise, he masqueraded himself as an exceptional husband. The caption even suggested that he could be father of the year.
The comments, which rained down in a flurry of naïve assumptions, were flawless in their inaccuracy. “That little boy is going to grow up in a happy household.” Hilarious, I thought. Here’s a man who has been skimming money from event organizers to co-workers. He’s been shamelessly cheating on his wife with undergraduates from NYU, 10 years his junior, and all while getting shitfaced on the job and puking all over the place. Hey, if he doesn’t take his work home with him then I’m sure it’s a happy household.
So what’s my greatest struggle right now? I’m struggling with proper grammar, mental health issues, emotional vulnerability, job stability, a lack of tactful social skills, an unhealthy infatuation with dwarf pornography — it’s just an overflow of problems over here.
However, it’s the few Humans of New York who enthusiastically shroud the benighted bank of their sadistic achievements, in favor of a flawless image, who are my greatest struggle. Their self-centeredness has tainted this beautiful blog and it continues to taint the world.
If I had to give a large group of people one piece of advice, I would tell them to spit the truth out, even if it’s ugly. Those people who do tend to exhibit the most heartwarming stories and a though-provoking idea or perspective. The truth, even if it’s only seen as the truth in your eyes, can only help unite us.
All in all, I still like staying updated with the day’s micro fashion — for my dwarf, of course.