This Tumblr launched on August 27. I am writing this two days later, after hundreds of thousands of people have seen it.
The guy above wrote me this morning: “I’m one of the people on your tumblr blog, and I have to say you made me realize how much of an idiot I made myself look. I’ve had people messaging me and calling me stuff, all of which I obviously deserve. I know you probably think I’m just an idiot who is willing to put pictures like that on the internet, and you’re not too wrong. You’ve really made me think about it, and I’d like to thank you for that. Now I’m going to beg that you remove the picture, and I doubt you would, because you will gain absolutely no benefit from doing so, but from one severely regretful person to another person, please, do so. Sorry for being such a dick.”
This was big of him, I thought, and no one photo—even a thumbs-up selfie at the Holocaust Memorial—defines a person. We agreed on the solution you see: a blocked-out face and blurred-out Twitter handle, and his apology. A reporter recently asked me if I thought these selfie-takers defined a spoiled generation, and I replied that no, absolutely, they did not. There’s a lot of youthful stupidity on display here, but every prior generation would have embarrassed themselves publicly, were they equipped with the technology to do so. This Tumblr captures people in moments they haven’t fully thought through, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of thinking further.
And so, although this wasn’t the reason I launched this Tumblr, let’s make it a conversation. To all the other people whose photos appear here: If you’d like to speak to the viewers of this site, you’re welcome to reach out. I’ll post your words, and block out your face.