Any tragic world event is an opportunity to convey meaning for profit — personally, politically, fiscally or morally — and the instant rise of the “Peace for Paris” logo designed by Jean Jullien “one minute” after the tragedy, and then immediately posting the image to Facebook and Twitter, begs a larger human question of “selfieness” and cynicism: Is an Artist trying to give hope against trafficking in evil, or is it all a rather cunning ploy to “make the meme” for a tragedy by propagating self-interest-as-a-logo over the perils of human interest?
When I first saw the “Peace for Paris” logo, I was instantly slam-smacked back to the international icon for Anarchy — I still don’t see a “Peace” sign in the Paris logo — and, frankly, echoing the Anarchy icon is actually more appropriately brilliant on a brutally human level than an icon from the Hippie Peace movement of 1960s USA.
The superficiality of pretend participation isn’t limited to Artists designing exploitative logos for t-shirts and social media, you can see it in the Midlands as well, as office buildings are bathed in the red, white and blue colors of the French flag. For what purpose this serves — other than, “Hey, look at us! We can shine lights on a building!” — is beyond me.
Omaha isn’t alone in its cynical, soulless, wandering.
The Washington Square Monument in New York City’s Greenwich Village was also, similarly, bathed in the colors of France — not the USA — to somehow express unity or support or understanding of something.
While those public expressions in color may appear to appeal to our nation of Selfieness, they are really nothing more than the public extension of clicking a “LIKE” button online.
Those social media clicks-to-feel-better don’t do anything, and neither does bathing our Avatars in the colors of the day’s latest tragic event.
In the end, we’re still left to wonder what’s really going on here.
Why do people appear to want to care when they really do not? For if they truly were invested in the betterment of others, at all times, and not just when the fires strike, they would be actively involved in something beyond colors and liking.
Even Facebook gets in on the tragedy action with their “Safety Check” system — appearing to make them the cynical, de facto, 911 check-in system for the world:
Except — there’s a major problem missing in that effort: A third choice!
“I need help!”
With the Facebook Safety check, you’re either marked safe or you’re not in the area. If you’re in the midst of terror and need rescuing, there’s no button for that.
I guess that providing a button saying you are in danger and in need of emergency assistance would convey responsibility for actually doing something help you to Facebook — and they’re not interested in acting beyond the clicking of a status button that you’re either “safe” or “not in the area.”
In the past, I have cynically joined the generic “LIKE ME” effort for some of our Social Media efforts, the superficiality game changes when terror and human tragedies are in full, national, force — and just raising your hand just to say, “Aye! I’m over here, supporting you with colors and a logo!” are now no longer never enough to justify yourself as a caring and involved human being.
We must, at some point of irrevocable convergence, start to make a tipping point difference beyond passive selfieness. We need to make a permanent change, a determined effort to modify the message in the meme, and force the creation of a lasting impact on how the world must spin forward.
We don’t begin to get there with LIKEs or setting ourselves awash in Avatar colors or by asking people to make a Hobson’s Choice for their Facebook Safety Check.