I’ve seen this picture by Pawel Kuczynski on Facebook a few times recently, he’s an amazing artist and I really love the concepts that he covers. It’s part of a series of images drawn as a satire on the modern world. Satire’s great, and to be honest it’s one of the things that has helped me through the complete shit-storm that has been 2016.
But satire is a form of comedy, it’s supposed to be a mirror on the world that makes you think. And I think that this does. But do you know what I don’t think Mr Kuczynski was trying to do was to create art that people would use to make themselves seem or feel better than others. I have seen people posting this because they’re not one of the “sheeple” that have joined in with the worldwide phenomenon that has been Pokemon Go!, the people who think that they’re somehow better than others because they’re not following the herd.
This series of pictures have a lot of references to mobile tech, tablets, computers and social media – in particular how it divorces us from the real world. The subtext that I read when people post this sort of thing is that they’re unhappy with the move towards a connected society that no longer requires the need for physical meeting to be able to develop and maintain friendships. That’s fine, some people need that physical companionship. In fact, I’d guess that most people do at some point. But those people who use social media to keep in touch aren’t in any way lesser people because of it. (Oh, and by the way, does anyone see the irony of the way that I found the image?) Social media really helps many of my friends who have social anxiety, as well as those with physical or mental disabilities that restrict their ability to travel. Hell, even the financial constraints of keeping in touch with a globally connected world.
That specific picture however really got to me. Probably because it’s very close to home. As I talked about last year, I’m bent. Friends and loved ones will tell me that they don’t really see it, that it’s not that noticeable, or that it doesn’t matter. Let me tell you something, it does matter. It matters a lot. I know people who feel that they are overweight or fat, I don’t really see it and still think that they look great. But they see it, and it’s the main thing that they’ll focus on when thinking about their appearance. A kyphosis is very similar. People who are used to it might not notice it anymore, but it’s still very pronounced. And it makes me very self conscious.
Anyone who read my post about the kyphosis might remember that I provided an explanation of what I do to disguise it. I regularly walk around looking into my mobile, because strangers only look twice at someone who’s bent over a phone because they think that they’re rude or anti-social. They don’t think “there’s someone who has a screwed up spine”. There are loads of stories flying around the web about people who are using it to fight depression, PTSD, connect with others and lose weight. It’s helping people (and especially kids) on the autism spectrum meet and communicate with people in a way that they haven’t been able to before.
And it’s giving those of us who look like Quasimodo a disguise that we can use, while having fun and exercising*. So – to all those supercilious folk who think that they’re so much better than the rest of us because they’re not joining in with the game. That’s fine, we’re not a cult, we don’t want to force you to play. But how about you take a good look at what you’re remonstrating against and weigh up the positives and negatives?
In the meantime, I’m off to find MewTwo!
*IMPORTANT NOTE FOR FELLOW ANKYLOSAURS* – If you don’t have a kyphosis, or if yours isn’t as pronounced, be aware of your posture when going to catch them all. If possible stand as straight as you can while walking to avoid making your hunch worse. (And, as always, speak to your specialist if you’re making changes to your routine. Walking’s great exercise but it’s always better to be safe.)