Monday, June 23, 2008

Collect the Whole Set

Here is a question for the masses: what do people do with all the photos?

One of the odder elements of life as a poor, sad, heroic victim of terror was that of being turned into a tourist destination of sorts. People just loved taking photos with me. I was not alone. One of my physicians told me of another physician, a volunteer from the US, who insisted on being photographed with every last poor, sad, heroic victim of terror that came through his department. My doctor was not sure what was stronger, his horror or his embarrassment.

So again, what do people do with these photos? I mean, it is not as though the people being photographed are particularly attractive. (If you do not mind, we will save the "beautiful souls" and "brave spirits" and other similar claptrap for someone else's blog). Are they like trading cards? Can you collect the whole set? Do people swap them? "I will give you my brave widow and traumatized soldier for your orphan with a head injury"? Are there point values involved? Who sets them? I have a friend who was also injured in a bombing, but much more seriously than was I. She is now in a wheelchair where I have only minor signs of injury (though they are visible to Israeli men turned on by scars). Is she worth more points than I am?

As for me, I have long since entertained this mental image of folks going back to the States, downloading their photos to a DVD and regaling their friends with a slide presentation of their trips to Israel. "This is me at the Kotel. This is me in Tiberias. This is me with Gila, the Poor, Sad, Heroic Victim of Terror ®…. She's so brave."

It goes without saying, of course, that one cannot talk about Victims of Terror without proper attention being paid to our bravery. Random true story: someone once commented to my father, with no small amount of outrage, that it was terribly wrong that all of the newspapers were writing about me, and not about those who died. My Dad's response: it is kind of hard to interview the dead ones. Obnoxious, but oh-so-true.

Any thoughts?

14 comments:

Baila said...

I don't get it. Are these your friends who want photos with you? Why would a complete stranger want a photo with you (please don't take offense at that, you understand what I mean)? I am hoping to meet you some day (invitation is still open), but I don't think I would ask for a photo.

Or maybe I should, and then I could sell it for lots of money to the Star or National Enquirer....

Gila said...

No offense. I don't really get it either.

One explanation is that the pictures are used for fundraising. However I think a lot of it has more to do with creating trip memorabilia PLUS the added benefit of being able to show off to all and sundry what a mitzvah boy or girl you are--you visited a PSVOT.

I saw the same thing once when I joined in on a NBN project at Alyn. The hospital asked that everyone deposit their cameras with the guard, and the participants/organizers balked. Because, you know, if you cannot take a photo of yourself doing a good deed, how is the world supposed to know you did it? I was really impressed by Alyn's stance ("our kids deserve privacy and respect, go find some other way to get your ego-trip jollies") and that is one of the many reasons I am doing the Alyn ride despite the fact that I have no children and no connection with the hospital.

Mia said...

I am assuming your photos are gracing on the walls of peoples offices and in various charity organizations as a conversation piece and evidence of their good-doing of meeting with a poor, sad ...

lizarosenberg said...

Maybe they collect the whole set and sell it on ebay? Or maybe they sell them individually on ebay. I can almost imagine someone out there going, "ooooh! It's a Gila Weiss! I've been looking for one of those!"

I think I like your dad. What a great response!

TalTalK said...

I think I like your dad too! :-)

It is weird for random people to collect photos (maybe they're making a sticker album?)

But seriously, I have been volunteering at Beit Levinstein for 5 or 6 years (can't remember). BL is the biggest rehab hospital in the Middle East and we DO have pics there and all, but honestly, in all our fund raising activities, we have only ever showed the "after" photos and videos, that is showing what the hospital did for people, so I really don't get it either.

I SO love the way you write.

vedaal said...

" ... Here is a question for the masses: what do people do with all the photos?

One of the odder elements of life as a poor, sad, heroic victim of terror was that of being turned into a tourist destination of sorts. People just loved taking photos with me. ..."


it could be that they are an inspiration to the rest of us,

giving us a sense of perspective, and helping us not complain about silly, petty inconveniences in our day to day existence,

and show us a real example of how much more we can do ...

(i suspect that a fair amount would be quite happy to have a picture 'just' of you, but don't quite know how to ask that, and feel that it's more believable to ask for a picture of him/her with you)

then once they have the picture,
they can photoshop crop it so that it is only of you,
add the illuminating halo effect to your face,
and post it to those blogs who are more interested in the
"beautiful souls" and "brave spirits" ... ;-)

Ari said...

Hmmm. Maybe some stats on the reverse of photo, such as the number of:

- Puncture wounds
- Surgeries
- Limbs affected
- Days out of work or school
- Get-well cards
- Assistive devices required
- Funds spent for therapy
- Medications

Naturally, the one with the most impressive statistics is the most valuable. Sadly, you would be quite mediocre, Gila. Sorry about that :<(

Ahuva said...

"then once they have the picture,
they can photoshop crop it so that it is only of you, add the illuminating halo effect to your face, and post it to those blogs who are more interested in the
"beautiful souls" and "brave spirits" ... ;-)"

Ooohh. What a great idea for a new background image on my computer! Hey, when are you going to be in the States next so I can get my Gila-with-a-halo picture?

Gila said...

A halo????? Has v'halila! That is completely goyishe.

:)

As for my stats--damn, I am a low scorer. My friend totally whips my butt.

There goes MY ego!

She also has a much better attitude than I do....

kleine Maus said...

You are being used as a trophy, unlike the 50 million Americans who do have a picture of themselves shaking hands with Barack Obama a picture of you is worth more.
It is a kind of show where strangers do use your suffering to promote themselves as being people who do know all the ins and outs.
In my humble opinion earthworms do have more backbone than most of these "collectors".

By the way, where is written halo's to be goyish?

TalTalK said...

She also has a much better attitude than I do....

As someone who's known you online for a few months now, and offline for a few weeks, I can honestly say that I doubt anyone has a better attitude than you - regardless of whether or not "something" has happened to them (it's a personality thing).

BTW, you have my eternal adoration after our LOOOOOOOOOONG conversation the other day.

No cameras on Thursday, don't worry. :-)

George said...

Just one quick thought - your father has a great sense of humour!

RivkA with a capital A said...

it is kind of hard to interview the dead ones

LOL

I always though the opposite of that fellow.... as a society, we spend a lot of time memorializing the dead (every year, we do this as a country), whereas there is not much attention given to those who are "just" injured. There are thousands of "poor, sad, victims of terror" whose lives will never be the same, and they are, basically, forgotten.

And, don't take this the wrong way, but I am not talking about people like you, who have pretty much put their lives back together.

"WHAT??"

Oh yeah, the hearing thing. Well, I guess no one is ever quite the same, even people like you.

So, you see, I think it's great that people pay attention....

(no one ever asks to take my picture....)

Robert said...

Gila:

Hey, this is fab-u-lous.

I have pictures of you from a few years ago, several picture in fact, when you came to visit us in the King David Hotel.

1. You and yours truly.

2. You and Offspring #2 and #3.

Didn't realize how valuable they are.

I'm gonna sell them on e-Bay, we can split the profits.