Trophy Boys
February 3, 2003 10:12 AM   Subscribe

It's kind of weird how people in East Texas seem to have to "pose" with the debris, like it's a dead deer or a fishing trophy...
posted by sparky (53 comments total)
I imagine people are doing this for the same reason my grandfather took photos of his house covered in ash after Mt. Saint Helens erupted. It is history, and we want to remember how it affected us.
posted by whatnot at 10:19 AM on February 3, 2003

Not so weird, I think. It's part of the use of photography in our culture to establish "I was there." Why, for instance, have your picture taken in front of the Capitol or the Eiffel Tower, rather than just take a picture of the place itself? Does your presence lend a monument dignity? No, but it does establish your juxtaposition.

Also, the presence of a human figure gives these images of debris a scale. Is that widget the size of a hand, or of a boxcar? Without something identifiable in the picture, there's no way of telling.

(Still, your trophy analogy is apt, sparky, especially if these were objects discovered by the people in the photos.
posted by SealWyf at 10:23 AM on February 3, 2003

A piece of History lands in your backyard, that the government is going to take away at some point. What else would you do? They could have just as easilly hid it, not told any authorities, and sold it to collectors years down the road. Be happy they just snagged a snapsot.
posted by stifford at 10:24 AM on February 3, 2003

It's kind of weird how photographers like to take pictures with people in them.
posted by davidfg at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2003

It looks like most of the pictures linked are news photos...a common rule of news photography is to have a person in the picture. People respond better to that than to a picture of a piece of metal. Try to think of a picture in your local newspaper that doesn't have a person in it.
posted by byort at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2003

Most of these people don't look like they're posing to me.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2003

People respond better to that than to a picture of a piece of metal.

Of course, I responded to these photos with my off-hand, Texas-bashing, "Hey, look at them darn Rednecks, Ma!" remarks.

I'll burn in hell, don't worry.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:29 AM on February 3, 2003

this is nothing like the huge chunk of texas debris that crashed into the constitution after 9/11 and severely damaged it, but nobody cares about that.
posted by quonsar at 10:29 AM on February 3, 2003

That actually happened about 10 months before 9/11, quons.
posted by jpoulos at 10:31 AM on February 3, 2003

Derail much, quonsar? Oh, wait, I get it. It's because Bush is from Texas! Right? That's it, right?
posted by Gilbert at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2003

I don't think it's weird at all -- space-travelling gods and their chariots don't fall from the sky every day. Standing next to the debris is as close as 99.99999% of us are ever going to get to going into space. This is stuff that I can barely believe exists, even after seeing it on vacations to Florida and in documentaries; it's like a piece of science fiction has suddenly materialized in someone's backyard.

Selling the debris on eBay is an entirely different matter ;^)
posted by krunk at 10:35 AM on February 3, 2003

Well, if you can't pose with the Texan President who's from Connecticut, you might as well pose beside a product of his budget cuts.
posted by the fire you left me at 10:39 AM on February 3, 2003

But what happens if you actually touch it?

That's right:

posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:41 AM on February 3, 2003 the huge chunk of texas debris...
It's because Bush is from Texas! Right?

Derail much, quonsar?
like casey jones with a nose full of bolivian flake at the helm of a texas bound amtrak.
posted by quonsar at 10:48 AM on February 3, 2003

"but nobody cares about that."

Which makes it all the more important that you derail every thread with it.

I think it would be weirder if people didn't pose with the debris. Like they were scared of it? Or it would be disrespectful to be seen near it?

On preview - This thread has become ass. Good job people. Real cool. You win.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:49 AM on February 3, 2003

Every |Ev'er*y|, a. & a. pron. [OE. everich, everilk; AS. ?fre ever + [ae]lc each. See {Ever}, {each}.] 1. each and all of the members of a group considered singly and without exception;

posted by quonsar at 10:57 AM on February 3, 2003

i second the bandwagon here, but good compilation nonetheless...
posted by Big_B at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2003

From a geologist's point of view, we like to have pictures with people next to rock formations to get a sense of size. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to judge size without a familiar object in the frame.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:59 AM on February 3, 2003

wow i definetely was in preview waaay too long - missed the derail completely - disregard previous post

and thanks q
posted by Big_B at 11:00 AM on February 3, 2003

Ok... quonsy. We got it. Now go outside and play in the sandbox.

What is that one woman holding in her hand... a zip-tie or something? "Look a Coke can... FROM THE SPACE SHUTTLE no doubt."
posted by Witty at 11:02 AM on February 3, 2003

Now go outside and play in the sandbox
only if i can pose next to the cat debris.
posted by quonsar at 11:09 AM on February 3, 2003

Please. I'm sure that's not the first or only picture they took. Besides establishing a sense of scale, they personalize the moment. Otherwise, wouldn't it be likely that in a couple of decades that it'll be easily recognizable without the person there, would it?

My chief question is in the photograph linked to the "pose" above, I cannot believe that piece hasn't been manipulated. It couldn't have rolled up to that tree without knocking it down.

As for criticising these guys, I'd be a hypocrite. I've got a number of pictures of 9/11 from my roof, thorughout the whole thing, and there is one picture with me in front of the two burning towers.

It was instinctive, I don't know...
Then again, I'm not (and didn't then) posting my pics on the internet, either.
posted by Busithoth at 11:16 AM on February 3, 2003

Ten tons of talk on a two ounce subject, perhaps?

I don't think it is a big deal with the photographs. But if they start doing this with any human remains, then I will have a problem.
posted by konolia at 11:18 AM on February 3, 2003

I'm waiting for someone to find a piece that they had a hand in creating.

Thankfully it did come down in a BFE part of America. I'm still surprised by the fact no one on the ground was injured especially after seeing the damage done to cars and buildings by the debris. This will be a big event in these parts of America as these astronauts lives crossed the very paths of the debris field. Not sure what to think of that though, good or bad?

Sparky very good post as this: Growing up, my brothers & I would often have to pose with various parts of the Space Shuttle our father made. Now looking back I'm glad he had us do it since it gave us more than a memory of a piece of titanium made to go in outer space. At the time I only wanted the parts in the pictures not me but now they are pictures of my family when we were kids.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:23 AM on February 3, 2003

I live in the town where most of those pictures were taken. It's part of the local photography style to take pictures (esp. journalistic photos) with people next to the "main object". I never noticed it before, but it's simply how people take photos here.
posted by yangwar at 11:39 AM on February 3, 2003

"I think it would be weirder if people didn't pose with the debris. Like they were scared of it? "

But they should be scared of it.

These are probably the same people that think environmentalists are all "extremists".
posted by 2sheets at 11:43 AM on February 3, 2003

2sheets is probably the same person that thinks glib, trollish generalizations are "cool".
posted by turbodog at 11:56 AM on February 3, 2003

Then again, I'm not (and didn't then) posting my pics on the internet, either.

But perhaps you would have had you been the only witness to two burning sky-scrapers in your back yard.

I get the feeling that some people in this thread think the people in these pictures are somehow expoiting the event. I don't that sense at all. Some of the pictures look as though the poeple in them are just a consequence of people just being there.
posted by Witty at 11:56 AM on February 3, 2003

Well, if you can't pose with the Texan President who's from Connecticut, you might as well pose beside a product of his budget cuts.

So the Columbia disaster was Bush's fault? Really? I'm glad that's settled.
posted by Durwood at 11:56 AM on February 3, 2003

I am really suprised no one has posted this yet.

Ten tons of talk on a two ounce subject

A new Metafilter tag-line!
posted by internal at 12:04 PM on February 3, 2003

Thankfully it did come down in a BFE part of America.

posted by gottabefunky at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2003

bumfuck, egypt
posted by quonsar at 12:11 PM on February 3, 2003

Most of those do seem to be just a consequence of people being around the objects when the pictures were taken, but this one does make me feel a tad creepy.
posted by snarkywench at 12:29 PM on February 3, 2003

Yeah, Lisa does look a little too happy. Prozac, perhaps?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:34 PM on February 3, 2003

None of those people in the photos linked were posing...

But gee, all those people from Texas sure are dumb hicks! Good thing none of those sophisticated type people from New York City had photos taken with them by Ground Zero!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:00 PM on February 3, 2003

Regardless of the rubbernecking pros and cons vis-a-vis this particular issue, speaking as a Texan I can honestly aver that most East Texans are, in fact, inbred rednecks. I'm even related to some of them, although thankfully, only by marriage . . .
posted by vraxoin at 1:11 PM on February 3, 2003

vraxoin - thanks for confirming what some of us already knew.

As a southern-born former resident of Texas, it always cracks me up to see all the huffing and puffing that goes on when somebody points out the obvious.
posted by 2sheets at 1:23 PM on February 3, 2003

Let me clarify what I mean -- as someone a little too familiar with East Texas, these photos seem a little bit... well, proud, in the same way as these photos that you see everywhere:

Like... "Look at me, I got me a piece'ah that ole Shuttle, Ma".
posted by sparky at 1:32 PM on February 3, 2003

There's also the realization that in the more rural parts of Texas, there is a percentage of the population (not all, I'm not insinuating they're all hicks but there is a percentage of them) that is into Tall Tales, or have heard a Tall Tale or two in their time. Fish Stories. The One That Got Away. And exagerration is often par for the course in such stories, so many have grown accustomed to gathering evidence that they can show others when they boast at the nearby truckstop or community gathering place (q.v. "watering hole"). And they will. And when they do people will call them on it, and the photograph, with them in it, will be proof that they're not making up the story. They actually were in presence of falling debris from the Space Shuttle. Sometimes a photograph is the only proof one can have when people dispute your claims. Then of course after showing the photograph, people will just claim you doctored it. There's really no way to prove or disprove tall tales in East Texas.

Being a Dallas resident, and a "cityfolk" from the perspective of those in rural Texan areas but from BFE in theory according to some people reading this thread, I find myself uniquely in the grey zone of this argument. I was born in "Aggie Country" and at least some of this debris has apparently landed there. At one time Aggie Country was the butt of many jokes worldwide, but the last Aggie joke I ever heard was, "what do you call an Aggie in your work environment? You call him SIR." In most recent years Aggies have been seen as 1) metalurgical engineers, rocket scientists or otherwise painfully intelligent and spooky powerful people, and 2) members of some really eerie secret society that make the mormons look normal, where they cling a bit too much to tradition, even to the point of wanting to continue bonfire ceremonies after so many have died. For better or for worse, Aggies aren't stupid rural butts of people's jokes. Aggies are maybe kinda freaky scary weirdo eerie podpeople who are taking over the leadership positions of the world and may one day turn on us normal people and suck out our brains, but they're just not funny anymore.

The ironies of the Columbia tragedy never cease to amaze me. Though the government & the media made a point not to jump to conclusions about terrorism, this was the first shuttle flight for a member of the Israeli Air Force, and Palestine Texas is one of the cities where alleged debris has fallen. The event occurred the same weekend that was the anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Two of the seven astronauts were Texas natives. A third, though from India by birth, spent several years of collegiate study here at UT Arlington. They all lived here extensively in their final years, and of course Crawford Texas is the place Shrub calls home. There's just way too many coincidences for me to just shrug all this off as random chance.

I mean it IS random chance without a doubt, but it just gives me the heebie jeebies.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2003

We know what you're trying to point out... I just don't see it in the pictures you presented. I don't see much, if any posing. I don't smiles or obvious glee. But whatever...
posted by Witty at 1:47 PM on February 3, 2003

The pictures don't bother me, however, what I did find disturbing was the crowd gathered around a cordoned off piece of debris. And they weren't just taking a look and moving on, most of them were sitting down on the ground like they were at an outdoor jazz concert or a picnic. I mean seriously, how many hours of fascination can a piece of debris provide?
posted by Devils Slide at 1:57 PM on February 3, 2003

Devils, we're talking about rural areas where, for a percentage now not stereotypically everybody, a pastime such as "watching cars rust and the grass grow" is considered high quality entertainment.

Could be worse. At least this keeps'm off Jerry Springer reruns and out inna th' sunshine. It's healthy for'm to go outside n' watch DAYbree fallin'. Collectin' flies. Course if'n we start hearin' about yoofoh landin's & crop circles, ah'm gonna haveta move north ta Philly y'all.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2003

I tend to agree that the photos don't quite support the post but I did see another shot of this fellow with his foot up on the corner of wreckage, which did look a hunting photo and a tad disrepectful--the hat doesn't help either. Ofttimes it's the photographer telling the subjects how to pose that creates the problem...
posted by xiffix at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2003

Good post sparky, creative and original.

My thought was it looked like a 1950s SciFi movie with people standing around alien spacecraft kind of like moths drawn to flame.
posted by stbalbach at 2:07 PM on February 3, 2003

I dunno. I'm thinking I might be overly fascinated and freaked out, taking pictures, calling friends and family, etc. if a piece of the famed Space Shuttle fell from 40 miles up and landed in my driveway.
posted by Witty at 2:13 PM on February 3, 2003

Witty, check out the photo snarkywench linked to. It's kind of creepy.
posted by hyperizer at 4:31 PM on February 3, 2003

I like this thread, and if I was in Texas I would be at my friend's ranch where many pieces came down...since I'm not there I'm just going to photoshop myself into a picture so I can impress the grandkids someday. Maybe I'll be inhaling the fumes off a piece of hot metal, which will explain the lung cancer I'm going to get if I don't quit smoking (again).
posted by Mack Twain at 6:25 PM on February 3, 2003

hyperizer: Agreed. That picture is a bit odd, and would have been a better example in support of the original poster's premise.
posted by Witty at 10:10 PM on February 3, 2003

quonsar, you make me laugh :)

i needed that today....
posted by shadow45 at 5:03 AM on February 4, 2003

You know, I noticed that too. Odd.
posted by adampsyche at 5:45 AM on February 4, 2003

xiffix - the photo you're referring to is the one that started it all for me... but it seems to have disappeared.
stbalbach - thanks for being nice. Sometimes I think I might not post on MeFi any more. I always get eaten alive by the critics. Dang.
posted by sparky at 6:56 AM on February 4, 2003

I never considered it from that perspective Zach :).
posted by Devils Slide at 7:23 AM on February 4, 2003

Sparky, this was a great observation and a well-supported argument. Fuck the critics :)
posted by elphTeq at 8:38 PM on February 4, 2003

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