Displaying our failures

However hilarious it is (and it is hilarious), I cannot help but wonder how ethical the popular Web site FailBlog.org is.  It is a forum for people to post embarrassing, hilarious, awkward, uncomfortable situations.

I am guilty of viewing this Web site often and laughing, but since joining a media ethics class– I cannot help but wonder, is it ethical?  Not all of the posts on the FailBlog focus on people or even show people.  But some do.  They show people falling, hurting themselves or embarrassing themselves and then it is uploaded for a large audience to laugh at.

What are your thoughts?

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One thought on “Displaying our failures

  1. In my other communications ethics course we recently discussed a similar matter. I don’t know if you’re familiar with http://www.peopleofwalmart.com, but it relates to the issue at hand. The website offers various images of a stereotypical shopper of WalMart, who is perceived by the viewer as less than appealing and is intended to be humorous.

    Trying to stay on topic of *digital media ethics, I will only briefly touch on the fact that I think sites like these are degrading to human dignity. If anything, I believe they enhance the stereotypes of certain cultures, and create further division amongst classes, gender, race, and even sex.
    But I also know the American people are granted the right to freedom of speech and should be entitled to have their own opinion, both on and offline. So I guess the recurring theme ensues, how far is too far when posting pictures on the internet? Should the photographer have permission from his or her subjects? Is Alex Firmani right when he claims that the Vancouver protesters were in a public place when vandalizing and his subjects were aware that pictures were being taken? I know that’s a little off hand considering some of the pictures on sites like Failblog and PeopleofWalmart include situations where the people didn’t know their picture was being taken.

    We all for the most part agreed in class that if it’s in a public place it was suitable for this blog, why would it be any different when we are critiquing here? Is WalMart not a public place? I’m torn because while I think a photographer should utilize the public world as a palate for passion, I don’t think a picture of someones buttcrack hanging out of their jeans is what that subject intended for the world to see.

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