this machine kills fascists
i was extremely annoyed to learn from gothamist that the mta is once again proposing a ban on subway photography. reading over the specific sections that deal with this change, i fail to understand how banning photography will "improve police officer enforcement capability" or "enhance customer security and safety."
the proposed ban is not outright; it allows for members of the press with badges or "others duly authorized in writing to engage in such activity by the authority" to take photographs. but where does that leave the average snapshot photographers, tourists, photobloggers and artists? we need permission in writing to pull out a little digital and take some random shots? what exactly is the point of making such activities difficult?
if someone seriously answers "terrorism," i will scream. terrorists need to do a lot more than snap a picture to do any damage. photos of anything accessible by ordinary people in the subway would not be useful in causing harm, and if that's not the case, then the mta needs to hide their goodies a little better. and if terrorists really want to snap a picture, they'll find a way to do it anyway. just like ordinary citizens will. but making it a crime to do so is ridiculous.
several months back, while kneeling down shooting the train link closeup shown above, a woman approached me suspiciously and asked what i was doing. i said "just taking some pictures." she looked worried and moved away. a few minutes later, two cops showed up and asked me about it. i told them it was an art thing, and they said "that's what we figured, but we have to check it out if someone asks us to."
a few months later, i was near the edge of a platform shooting into a tunnel, when a transit worker started asking me what i was doing. i pointed out i wasn't beyond the line i was supposed to be, and asked if there was a law in effect yet. he then switched tactics, acting as though he was on my side and just warning me the cops upstairs would probably arrest me, what with "all this terrorist stuff going on."
terrorism is the all-purpose excuse to destroy civil liberties in the new millennium. are we supposed to not live our lives, flinching at shadows and stifling every little freedom until someday, miraculously, the terrorists are all gone, and we can breathe easier? as blisteringly funny comedian david cross said about terrorism, "at no point in time, ever are we gonna go, whew got 'em all. everybody loves us again."
the title of this post comes from woody guthrie, who wrote the phrase on his guitar.