Here’s the scandal:
My baby is three weeks old and the photo of my baby is still not all over the Internet, despite the fact that the most common reaction is
Of course as a healthy-grumpy-cynical philosopher I recognize how mindless this reflex is, and how we as members of a predominantly visual culture cannot really help it. What I miss of course is a degree of reflexivity, self-irony (for which, by the way, you can be sent to prison in the current protofascist Netherlands).
The reason I don’t ‘share’ photos with the wider public is that I don’t know her privacy preferences yet. And here we are. That reason will inevitably be mistaken for a joke. A baby with privacy preferences, are you kidding me? Do you see how this works? Do you see how the system disqualifies arguments that give a voice to the voiceless as jokes? The alleged privacy preferences of an infant, the human rights of refugees, the inherent value of natural beings – our culture structurally reduces all of this to jokes, which excludes them from the discourse proper, and it does so in a way that they can never be included again because they are never completely ignored. They are a sort of aura and precisely this aural quality is what prevents it from becoming part of the discourse.
So, if you know me personally, and you’re curious what my baby looks like (viz. if she has a big head to accommodate the next generation’s subversive thinking) – send me an e-mail and I’ll respond in due time.