Smile kids!
March 6, 2008 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Kids on Aciiiiid! In order to protect her pupils from internet pervs a British headmistress has censored photos on the school's website by slapping smileys all over them. The result is like some combined fever dream of Chris Morris and Banksy.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (46 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
At least someone's thinking of the children.
posted by Scoo at 12:26 PM on March 6, 2008

Holy shit that's hot!
posted by Mister_A at 12:27 PM on March 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

For some reason, I'm reminded of the movie version of Pink Floyd: The Wall...
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:30 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

As a pervert for smiley faces, this only encourages me.
posted by mrnutty at 12:31 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

Halloween Jack: For some reason, I'm reminded of the movie version of Pink Floyd: The Wall...
That reason would be "because it looks exactly like the movie version of Pink Floyd: The Wall"
posted by hincandenza at 12:35 PM on March 6, 2008

So many smiling white faces. Hurm.

Also: Damn you, mrnutty!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:35 PM on March 6, 2008

They never explained what that one kid is frowning about;(
posted by Hugonaut at 12:37 PM on March 6, 2008

However, some parents at the school said they supported the decision.

One said: "I wouldn't want my child's face on a disgusting site.'

Because pedophiles run websites collecting photos of unremarkable children in unremarkable, modestly-dressed poses. And there's such a shortage that they'll snap 'em up whenever they see them, so long as the faces are visible.

The acid reference is funny on MeFi, but a pathetic stretch for a newspaper trying to report a story with some credibility.

I especially like the unobscured face of the coach in the third photo, who appears to be ogling the students in front of him.

And what's up with the sad face? How humiliating for that student to be singled out like that. The rest of the team knows who it is.

For those unfamiliar with the Web: scroll down for more...
posted by lostburner at 12:38 PM on March 6, 2008

Missing the 'paedogeddon' tag, surely?!
posted by jack_mo at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

a) The Daily Mail is calling someone alarmist?!?

b) Outrage: Parents have mixed feelings about the school's 'irrational' decision. So not so outrageous then?

c) The Daily Mail is calling someone alarmist?!?
posted by i_cola at 12:47 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The blurred out pictures on their site are also pretty creepy.
posted by puke & cry at 12:51 PM on March 6, 2008

Oh my god, there's a girl without her face totally obscured in that first picture. SOMEBODY PROTECT HER!!!!
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:53 PM on March 6, 2008

Can someone please explain to me how a sexual pervert would use these photos in an offensive manner? I'm coming up empty. What is the danger that is being addressed? Seriously. Anything? With the amount of porn free for the taking, isn't there exactly zero chance any of these would be misused? The Disney is more revealing than this stuff.

I'm reminded of something I read years ago about prudes in the Elizabethian era putting covers on table legs to prevent improper thoughts about naked legs. That seemed insane to me. But isn't this the same thing?
posted by Ragma at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

After they find troves of smiley-faced pornography on that teacher's computer, we'll have to give the children hideous animal bodies to protect them from her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2008

This would be so much hotter if someone was taking hard core pornography and putting emoticon faces over the actors.

And by hotter, I mean way more disturbing.

And by more disturbing, I mean way hotter.
posted by quin at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2008 [8 favorites]

Thinking more about it, becomes clear that the best protection would not be to doctor the photos, but rather to place pornography next to the photos in question, so as to sate the perverts while at the same time letting the children be free.

Like when lizards break off their tails to satisfy predators. I suggest this headmistress does the same.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:19 PM on March 6, 2008

Victorian era......
posted by Ragma at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2008

Statistically speaking, if they want to protect their children from pedophiles, they'd do well to keep a very close eye on their staff, and not worry what some imagined web-crawling perv might do with anonymous and uninteresting photographs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2008

Communists drug pushers Satanic cults pedophiles are after your children! Be afraid! Wait, what do you mean this is ridiculous? Are you ONE OF THEM?

I'm only 27. What convenient demon preying on our precious children was used to distract people from things that actually mattered before drug pushers dosing Mickey Mouse stickers with LSD/Satanic ritual abusers/pedophiles/Communists? Werewolves, maybe?

You know those crazy pedophiles, always beating off until they chafe to fully clothed school pictures of dumpy English kids. But wait! What if one of them has a fetish for face-obscuring? HOW DEEP DOES THE RABBIT HOLE GO?!?
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:33 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Evidently, that's what they'd like to find out.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:46 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

A better idea would have been to ask the kids to step out of the shot before taking the picture.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:08 PM on March 6, 2008 [7 favorites]

Is there any explanation of why, if they are that paranoid, the pictures are not simply taken down, rather than doing all this creepy weird stuff to them?
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Perhaps these kids have something horrible on their faces the school feels they need to cover up. I'll let you decide what that horrible thing is.
posted by LoopyG at 2:15 PM on March 6, 2008

Pastabagel gives the response that most absurdly parodies the absurd actions of the school.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:24 PM on March 6, 2008

Like so many other of our problems these days this was caused by someone missing a fundamental point, in this case, someone apparently ignorant of the purpose of photographs.
posted by JHarris at 2:25 PM on March 6, 2008

(On second look, Pastabagel said it a lot better.)
posted by JHarris at 2:27 PM on March 6, 2008

Fucking... the... what...

I don't even know what to say anymore. Bravo, you've confused me into silence, U.K..
posted by tehloki at 2:31 PM on March 6, 2008

Utterly bizarre.

At least someone's thinking of the children.

You just kinda wish they'd think a little bit harder for 'em.
posted by cortex at 2:50 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Baffling. Weirdly brilliant, and I'm not sure why or how.
posted by WPW at 2:55 PM on March 6, 2008

Reminds me of the newspapers I saw in the Bahamas, if they didn't have a picture they ran a generic black person icon, but they captioned it with the subject's name.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:07 PM on March 6, 2008

Pardon me for not joining in your reactionary group-think, MetaWhiner - but I honestly don't see what the problem with this is. All but one of these kids look really happy to be portrayed in this way.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:19 PM on March 6, 2008 [5 favorites]

I want to see this with the laughing man image instead.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:35 PM on March 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

Moral Panic. Clearly. Running pediatricians out of town and burning their offices, because it sounded similar, hurts children.

Web sites like this can't protect themselves with smileys. Evil is fortunately rare, and as has been said, is banal. The regular looking guy who comments on blogs.

But to protect the vulnerable from this we overreact and hurt people. When it's all over we'll probably discover that Dateline has destroyed far more lives than it's protected.

It's like not understanding the difference between being against the war and supporting the troops.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:38 PM on March 6, 2008

But Michaela Day, 35, whose eight-year-old son, Connor, attends the school, said: "If they are covering the children's faces, what is the point of using the photographs? It's a waste of time."

What she said.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:59 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

More fun:
* give everyone Groucho classes, with the mustaches
* hats & beards
* put Richard D. James faces on them
posted by Pronoiac at 4:01 PM on March 6, 2008

It's silly, yes.

But the one frownie in the lot makes it strangely surreal on a whole new level.
It means that they are not simply using smilies to obscure the identities, but they are somehow using them to convey something else.

Was the one frownie a kid who was upset? Was he being targeted by the site admin? Was it a strange tongue-in-cheek manifestation of a realization of how bizarre this all is?

posted by darkstar at 4:03 PM on March 6, 2008

When, again is the lab-grown deadly virus being released? I feel like we need to make room for something more intelligent to arise from the ruins of our "civilization."
posted by maxwelton at 4:06 PM on March 6, 2008

This creeps me out... it looks like all of my family pictures.
posted by not_on_display at 4:12 PM on March 6, 2008

And what's up with the sad face? How humiliating for that student to be singled out like that.

Ah, but that's the genius part. Since his face is covered, he doesn't know it's him!
posted by dirigibleman at 5:00 PM on March 6, 2008

You can actually see one little girl's face in this photo, near the back row center. Obviously, they are giving her to the pedophiles as some sort of primitive sacrifice.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:37 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I just want to know the rationale behind the obscuring of faces. I mean... where's the missing step here:

1. Pedophile navigates to middle school website, sees a child's exposed face
2. ????
3. A Rapin'
posted by tehloki at 8:10 PM on March 6, 2008

Come on, the obvious solution is just to get them all into a nice comfy burkha when photo time comes about.

Plus, you can see their hands, and their clothed bodies, and their hair! And shoes! It's like some sort of sick paedophilic porno site.
posted by tomble at 9:59 PM on March 6, 2008

I'm almost with Quin on this. What we need is a website full of nasty (but adult) porn in which all the actors are wearing paper-and-elastic smiley faces. Pass the link around as "the weirdest new thing all the perverts like" and wait for either Mail or mob to pick it up and put 1+1 together.

Whoever had the genius idea to edit those photos could even be persecuted, deliciously, for "doctoring our children's photos to make them look like sicko whores" or somesuch.

(should this be posted to projects?)
posted by rokusan at 11:13 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Maybe she's trying to save them from the indignity of being photoshopped into a pornographic image.* Imagine the irony of a 30-year-old kiddie-porn fanatic discovering a picture of his own boyhood face superimposed over say, a nude Kirk Cameron.

I was going to link to a Wikipedia article on so-called "pasties" but the term has apparently not reached sufficient critical mass to merit a disambiguation page (vs. the delicious "pastry-dough enclosed pastie / pasty."

*Not that this doesn't make this any less creepy / bizarre / insane.

posted by lordaych at 10:55 AM on March 7, 2008

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