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August 18, 2011

Random Thought

When you say "That's a good picture of you," isn't that an insult?

You're not saying "You look good." You are instead saying "This artificial, limited representation of you makes you look good, or, at least, better than you actually do in reality."

You have just established that that picture either 1, is misleading in making the subject appear more attractive than in reality, or 2, even if not misleading per se, establishes the upper bound of the subject's possible attractiveness.

If a picture is "good," or, worse yet, "really good," that essentially fixes the uppermost possible level of attractiveness for a subject at that moment and in that light. It's all downhill from there.

You might as well hold up the picture and say, "For good or ill, this is as good as it conceivably gets for you. Deal with it."

This occurred to me because I noticed Joan Walsh's picture on Twitter makes her look average and not awful, as she actually is in reality, and I thought, "That's a good picture of her" in the bad way I mean above.

But it's always actually meant in a bad way.

"That's a horrible picture of you" is, counterintuitively, a more complimentary statement. If I'm in a contest between me myself an a picture, any statement that puts me above the picture is a positive statement. Any statement that puts me below that picture is negative.


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posted by Ace at 06:32 PM

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