I can't decide what I love the most about the Unbaby Me app for Facebook that cock-blocks baby photos for the baby-averse among us: That someone out there actually thinks there are fine-haired distinctions to be made about the pap everybody posts on Facebook, or that the inventors of the app — Millennials, no less — are making value judgments about self-absorption.
Picture this: Two people get dropped into an Olympic-sized swimming pool filled with shit. One of them turns to the other and yells, "OMG you smell SO much worse." This is what I envision when I hear the argument that somehow posting baby photos is the ultimate egregious Facebook move that Must Be Stopped. (That, and babies wuz robbed by LOLcats.)
Hey there kids, lissen, lemme make sure I got this straight, though: Posting a picture every couple weeks of my kid is unbearable, but 87 photos of your home-brewing phase is totally coolzville? Don't get me started on Mustache May, the facial hair equivalent of a baby.
If I've understood the anti-baby photo arguments correctly, they go a little something like this:
"It's just that babies are less interesting than all the other stuff people post."
You have a picture of your composting heap on your Facebook page. Oh, and thanks for posting a status update that the movie you're watching just started.
"It's that you don't want to see that your friends are all having babies when you aren't yet/don't plan to/don't care."
You have over 600 photos of you getting drunk spanning the last 15 years. With the same haircut. And what's with the baby hang-up, anyway? I'm cool with your constant Pinterest cross-posting of every piece of chocolate you've ever thought about wanting to eat in spite of not being anywhere close to my pre-baby weight. So if there's some mutual trigger warning we're supposed to be honoring here, it's not in the FAQ.
"A few would be OK - it's that parents post TOO MANY baby pictures."
You just uploaded 300 photos up of a WEEKLONG trip to Thailand.
"It's like you've lost your identity to your baby."
You have six photo albums devoted to your Farmville art.
Naw, naw, bro, it's cool, Farmville is something you've been working at FOR-ever, so it totally makes sense why it would be so well documented. I wouldn't want to put that kind of value and attention on something like, you know, a person.
See, I think the problem I'm having here is that I've been operating under the apparently idiotic assumption that we all agree that social media is, by definition, a narcissistic pool of shameless self-promotion, a horrible tidal wave of drab solipsism where each person's pathetic post about their life ("Look at me! I matter! I am drinking a soy latte with a foam leaf imprint!") is only marginally redeemed by the very next, arguably more navel-gazing item in the newsfeed, exclaiming "No really! I matter, too, and I just ordered brunch at a new locally sourced organic restaurant!" Also, please, please, please note my new lipstick shade and how it makes me seem daring.
The following things are in my news feed on FB right now: Someone eating a carrot they ostensibly grew and picked right out of Whole Foods, someone else who still thinks the duck face pose at a bar counts as a life, someone else is crowdsourcing help on where to park in Los Angeles and - oh, look! - someone thinks standing next to a waterfall with friends warrants a six-photo set. And, well wouldn't you know it, there's another photo of someone's dogs - these lucky pups just finished training school. Pardon me for not seeing how a baby photo crushes these on the spectrum of "Oh No You Didn't, You Self-Absorbed Fuck." Really. School me. I like learning.
Also, I'm not really clear on the liking of the person with the baby but hating seeing their photos. I'm old school. If I hate someone, it's full-fledged, thorough hatred that covers all possible bases. None of this partial hating going on here. And if I'm "friends" with someone JUST SO I can see their life and hate it, then why would I block the one good thing to fuel the fire - photographic proof of their horribleness via their offspring documenting habits?
Seriously, am I really doing it all wrong here? Social networks are just comparison life shopping with the occasional tossing of a raw piece of meat in the ring. Is he gross? Is she married yet? Does her nose look weird when she wears an orange dress? Is he still wearing that fucking fedora? Hey, by the way, if you look close enough at my latest pic you'll see I lost five pounds. (Um, if it's more than that and the connections are meaningful and important, my apologies to everyone, but my argument still stands.)
The point is, we are all curating and tending our own tiny little bullshit online version of a life because there's literally nothing else to do (that any of us feels like doing, obvs), and most of us I'm willing to wager are not the staggeringly interesting people we think we are just because we, you know, "like" cupcakes or went to Munich once. Yeah, sure, I had a fucking baby, and I'm taking some fucking pictures. I see you still enjoy a drinking problem and make no bones about documenting every second of that noise. Hats off, "friend."
I hope that didn't seem like a value judgment that could be turned into an app. If so, perhaps it could block out haircuts, sunglasses, feet, swimming pools, illusions of wealth or access to famous people, trees, photos of people reading badly written but commercially viable novels, family pics of anyone who looks TOO happy - happy police! - lunches, dinners, craft beers at outdoor picnic tables, skylines at night, landscapes by day, and oh yeah. Dogs.
It could block out all those weird pictures of dogs where the people who took the picture obviously thinks the dog is doing something really cute and/or interesting, but it's totally not and like the person obviously doesn't get it? I can't explain it. It's literally not JUST LIKE anything else people want to block on Facebook.
And yet, I beg you. Please continue to put as many of your vacation photos (to, duh - Prague) up as possible, keep your feelings about your new haircut (bangs) coming loud and clear, your request for help sussing out whether that thing on your foot is a spider bite or not. As a fellow human I'm really invested to see how all that turns out for you. Oh, and count me in on the vote for which of the three pairs of sunglasses you're considering looks best on your face. Hint: It's the goddamn wayfarers.
Why? Because that's what I'm in it for. Life porn. Like everybody else. You can't block that crap, even if you're offended. Especially if you're offended. It's the rich shitty fabric of our online lives, and every gloriously awful circle jerk of it is worth every last extra load of laundry.
Oh, but hey, I've gotta go answer your informal poll about whether I think that bearclaw you photographed at breakfast this morning looks like just your ex-boyfriend. Looks like you decided to "like" Amazon.com while you were online too, right after you went to Target. Man, if it weren't for you, how else would I know what constitutes a valid, intrinsically superior way to live?