Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday January 02 2009

One of the best things to happen recently in the moral history of homo sapiens is the way that people have switched, at least somewhat, from killing exotic and rare animals for fun to photo-ing exotic and rare animals for fun.  Fictional romantic heroes who used to kill wild animals now shoot them in a more benign way.

image

Some right wingers of the more belligerent sort probably regard this switch as evidence of the feminisation (equals decadence) of modern society, of the unwillingness of me to be Real Men.  But Real Men only fight when they really have to.  They don’t practice on defenceless and rare animals.  They practice with human-shaped dummies and with guns filled with paint or blanks.

We should still be allowed to own real guns, though, because that would scare criminals and reduce crime.  Defending guns as just being for sport is stupid and doomed.  We should hang on to our guns to defend ourselves, not against amoral and endangered tigers but against immoral humans who ought to be more endangered than they now are.

That picture is partly a small bit of evidence that the rise of the fun camera and the fall of the fun gun are indeed related, in that both cater to the same human instincts.  It is also evidence of how, when something relatively new comes along, the designers and users of the new technology reach for something familiar that the new gadget seems to resemble.  The first cars looked more like horse-drawn carriages than really made sense.  The first skyscrapers looked like regular houses, only with more layers.  And I seem to recall early guns that looked rather like crossbows.

Within camera design, it is noticeable how digital cameras tend, perhaps more than is necessary, to look like old-fashioned cameras, because that is what people are used to.

My possible next camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, is now selling in Tottenham Court Road for £450 and falling.  It has been heavily advertised, so presumably heavily manufactured, which means that the price surely has quite a bit further to go, down.  This is certainly a chance I am willing to take.

image

One thing though.  I definitely want one that’s red or blue (preferably blue) rather than black, because I want it to be clearly understood that I am a jumped up Billion Monkey and I don’t care who knows it.  I will not pretending to be a Real Photographer, which I would be if I insisted on getting a black one.  Sadly however, most of the cameras piled up in the shops that I saw were black ones, and they may only have black ones going cheap in a couple of months time, having overestimated the demand among Real Photographer Impersonators for this particular camera.  Real Photographers themselves wouldn’t be seen dead with this camera, because it has no optical viewfinder, and I suspect that the Real Photographer Impersonators know that they’d be fooling nobody if they had one, of any colour, so they aren’t bothering with it either.  So, I may end up getting a black one after all, if the coloured ones end up costing more, as well they might.