Have you ever wondered what is wrong with people? Why they have to blow things totally out of proportion? Or why they choose to say things that make barely any sense? And how social media (yes, I get it’s funny I’m using a blog to say all this) facilitates this kind of idiocy because it is easy to go on the offensive. Read below to get an idea of what I’m talking about if you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid it (so far).
There she sat, totally innocent of anything except being a night owl. Playing some game (I swear it wasn’t solitaire), when all of a sudden a strange request pops up. She has never encountered such a message before. It tells her there is someone with a message for her. She reads the message and is mildly perturbed at who this person was, disturbing her at 1am. She had seen his name before, but did not know him. It read (some information withheld for obvious reasons):
It has come to my notice that you have used some of my photos for an XXXXXXXX article on the XXXXX play. I’d be happy if the creator of the photo is also mentioned (although the copyright belongs to the XXXXXXXXX). As a journalism student, you must follow and practice fundamental and good journalism ethics. This is very upsetting.
I replied immediately, in spite of the fact that he clearly has some big ideas and little actual experience with journalism.
“Hi, I wasn’t the one who uploaded the piece, and I’m sorry that the image credits weren’t given. Will fix it ASAP.”
I also checked the website to be sure. Here’s what I added to that message:
“It is copyrighted to you though.”
Let me be clear at this point, that I meant that the alternative text which appears in case the image doesn’t load is what shows his copyright, with the All Rights Reserved, etc. It was not visible to the public unless they couldn’t load the image for some reason. As he is very clearly aware, we are journalism STUDENTS and occasionally some mistakes are made. I made the required edit. I made the edit as soon as it was brought to my attention. I admitted to the error, fixed it, and tried to get on with my life.
In spite of my sincere attempt to handle the situation like an adult and a professional person, I got this gem as a reward:
“As the author of the content, you should ensure it is not published incomplete. Whether it’s Reuters, NYT, Guardian, even Times, everyone mentions the photographer. This happened even with the XXXXX photos, where nothing was even mentioned.”
This particular XXXXX refers to a fest my department at college hosts every year. It is not in any way related to the piece he cried about. I had to make this evident to him, since apparently, that distinction is not obvious to some people.
“Please address those issues to someone in the XXXXXX Dep. I can only fix what is my responsibility.”
His reply was just as condescending as the earlier ones, “I am aware. But make it a habit in future, cool?” If you’re aware, why bring it up with me? He had to cap it off with the “habit in future” helpful hint. Please insert choice word describing this person. I replied with a brush-off “Yes yes”. And naive little me thought that would be the end of it. Though I did forward the messages to one of my professors, since he had complained about the department’s lack of respect for him, or whatever it was he was trying to say. Which was really not a fair or sensible thing for him to say, since,
A) He only got to take the photographs of that play because the department got permission for photographs to be taken.
B) The XXXXX fest my department hosts uploads hundreds of photos in various albums during and after the fest. And we have all seen the albums are titled with the additional statement under it: “Photo or creds XXXXXX”. If he wants each photo to have his name, he should sit and look through each and every one of the hundreds we use and comment “This is mine!” Doesn’t have enough time to do it? Well, neither does anyone else.
Now, whilst I was being a normal person, guess what he did. He started making a thinly veiled attack on me. He claimed later this wasn’t directed at me (keep reading), but he made the comment with a link to my piece on the play, on a completely separate website. I only saw this when I was in college, and friends of mine who also happen to be his on Facebook showed me. It didn’t really bother me (much) at the time, because I’ve done stupid things while upset, and then tried to make amends. This was his holier-than-thou post: “I really enjoy when someone adds words and context to my photographs. However, little do I get to know about such events as we never believe in crediting the photographer. This culture is practised extensively by majority of people. Well, grow a pair”.
I’m not sure if this last part was directed at me. If it was, here’s what I’d say in a perfectly beautiful and articulate world, which I think this post could exist in: “Why would I do that, I like my body as a woman, and also, how would that make me supposedly braver (if that’s your faulty logic)? It doesn’t seem to have done you any good.” I mean, hiding behind a screen in the middle of the night and taking pot-shots. Why not come to the department and take up this cultural issue in a sensible discussion in the place you seem to think is the hub of all evil toward people who take their profession seriously.
Then, a day later, a professor familiar with the situation responded to this guy’s post. My professor tried to clear up the confusion and burst this guy’s self-righteous little bubble. I laughed, I read the comments off a friend’s phone, and got through my day quite happily. I thought I had moved on from this small tangle he seems to be intentionally trying to make into a ball of wool that cannot be unraveled. I got home and saw this, “So the credits were added now and I am supposed to believe they were always there?”
Reining in my sailor side, I replied, “Please do not involve me in your battles with the XXXXXXXX Dep. As I told you earlier, the images were copyrighted to you in the alternative text which appears (it is visible to the admins of the website). No one was trying to deny you took the pictures. If it is such a big problem for you, do what any sensible photographer does and put a watermark on it.”
Does that seem the least bit rude or angry? Apparently it does if you are hoping for such a reaction. He replied in a long and rather pointless way about the department and the fest, and the website on which my piece appeared (my explanatory comments),
“Such rage. Much misinterpretations. I have always been associated with the XXXXXX (my)department and worked for XXXXXX(the fest) purely out of the love of the XXXXX(my) department. It is however interesting to see that a simple thing like not mentioning the photographer (which isn’t visible to public) took such a turn of thought by one few comments by XXXXX sir. I made a general remark not at the XXXXXX(the website where the piece was published) but blogs and publishing sites in general. Since it’s the XXXX(website run by students of the department), he took a blunt jab at me. I never meant it out of arrogance but simply because I like knowing where my photos are used along stories. I am sorry if this still doesn’t make sense to you. Damage done is damage done, on my part.
PS. I intentionally do not use a watermark for any of the photos with the department as these are high resolution files, and putting a watermark makes it little difficult, if say needed to crop. I give the same amount of attention to the work here as my real clients. *takes a step back*”
“Damage done is damage done on my part,” I don’t know what he meant. Was he trying to weasel an apology in without actually saying it? Or is he saying he is the injured party? Let me be as clear as he has been, Je ne sais pas.
I didn’t reply, so naturally he felt obliged to force me to ask him to stop harassing me “Also, arrogance and cheap remarks is easy and looks fun. Making witty and twisted insults instead of understanding my point is upsetting and just not my thing.”
You’ve heard it all, including the things I didn’t choose to publicise on Facebook. He’s clearly referring to the things my professor said. So why refer to me? Because he seems to think I am an easy target. Politeness apparently didn’t work. Maybe asking for what I wanted directly was the only option.
“Seriously, leave me alone. I fixed what I had to.
Go take up any other issue with people in the XXXX dep.”
And I typed one more thing, “The situation with the XXXX piece was the only one you get to talk to me about. I fixed it.” While I was typing this and hit send, I saw his brilliant reply to my earlier comment, “You fucked up. Stop being a coward about it. Own up.”
And this is the point where the cursing angel inside me had to be suppressed by the decency devil. I merely said “I already did you little piece of shit”.
To which he could only say, “Insults. Lovely.”
Yes, I happen to think it is beautiful when people use a good curse. I am not narrow-minded like that. I had enough. “If you message me again I will definitely report you.”
(I had already blocked him briefly, but had to unblock him in order to see the comments my professor and he had exchanged regarding this whole thing, into which I was dragged for no apparent reason. And apparently Facebook has some rule about waiting 48 hours before you can re-block someone.)
His response to my genuine warning about reporting him: “Mature people.”
Well, I like to think so. It took a lot to make me use “little piece of shit”. You’ve been hurling mud with little accuracy and the mistaken idea that it’s actually mud for more than a day.
The ultimate line to shut him up, if I do say so myself, “And using fucked up is so polite.”
Sometime after this messaging ended, he deleted his post about the play, which linked to my article. Seriously, thanks man, I didn’t want his kind of publicity.
And that is hopefully the end of this saga, at least as far as it involves me.