15 Sep 2010

Human rights.

I heard a screech like monkeys warning of a snake close by, and stood on tip toe to peak over the heads in front of me - there were at least 50 people between me and the chimps, all of us sandwiched on the narrow platform between 2 sets of train tracks. A young man – younger than me at least – was inches from the face of a small middle aged gay man who was in turn, backed against a wall; ‘GIMME THE PHONE. GIMME THE FUCKIN PHONE...’

The smaller one just stood there, looking away and muttering something I couldn’t make out over the chattering masses. The chimps screamed again ‘WHAY YOU TAYKE ‘IS PICTURE FOR!?’ I moved in closer as some of the crowd moved reluctantly to board their train. Still looking into the middle distance the man replied matter-of-factly ‘I took his photo because I find him attractive.’ At this point you would be forgiven for thinking his response was something along the lines of ‘I took his photo because I want to cut him into small pieces and fry his lower intestine in butter for my dinner.’ Such was the abject horror in which it was received.

Instantly and as usual, I disassociated myself from any empathetic feeling toward this fracas and – analysing the subjects involved, began to notice the differences in appearance between them; The gay man was small, older, and though slim looked sort of like a little potato. The younger man was obviously a labourer of some kind, scaffolder, roofer, chippy, and after a long day hauling crap had removed his shirt to reveal a tanned, rather stocky and worked-out torso – covered in sweat.

‘UURRR, WHAAAA!?’ The incredulous screeching continued from what I now saw to be 3 young blond girls on their way home from whichever branch of Burger King they worked in (there was no indication of fast food chain employment but from their actions and lack of language skills I could only assume that ‘meat warmer’ was their one collective talent).

This went on.
And on.

Then after several minutes of screaming and nobody intervening on anyone else’s behalf, the young man stopped simply demanding that the pictures of his glistening torso be deleted – and stated that in fact, the whole situation was ‘...against my human rights.’ This made me snap back into the moment and think, does he have a point? Is he afforded the fundamental right to demand his image not be held by a stranger for his own selfish sexual gratification?

It took me a sum total of half a minute to arrive at the certainty that everyone involved – and even those who weren’t, were morons and not worth another nanosecond of contemplation. The picture taker should have been more subtle had he wanted some new and stolen masturbatory material, the roofer should be more aware of the origins of his style choices (along side being sculpted he also had what could be considered a super-gay haircut) before unveiling his body to the world. And the crowd, almost baying at the minor spectacle like dogs about to fight over scraps of bone... they would go home and relay the funny story to their wives and husbands.

Human rights. That made me smile. Maybe it’s my human right that I should be able to buy myself lunch every day without freaking out about not having made another batch of brown pasta instead of spending what would amount to £20 a week on what we peasants regularly refer to as ‘fancy food’. And that I should be capable of standing in public without being subjected to the inherent retardation of most of the sub-human beings next to – in front of and behind me during my daily commute. But we can’t always have what we want now,
can we.