Every schoolboy knows the infamous words above many of the Nazi Concentration Camps, "Arbeit Macht Frei" of which the most famous is the text with a backward letter above the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Interestingly, the actual death camp is in Birkenau whereas the administration block was in Auschwitz as a friend discovered on a trip through the area. Had he taken the same history classes that I took in university, he would not have made the mistake of looking for the death camp in Auschwitz.
Needless to say, this is not about work making anybody free which is the meaning of "Arbeit macht frei" but rather about "Wahrheit macht frei" which is totally different. This means "Truth sets us free". Now while there was a Nazi slogan that did mention truth setting one free, it's applied in a different context here.
Truth and the internet can be strangers and nowhere more so than on internet forums. Quite often it's possible to read entries on this blog about the failings of internet forums and their users. Sadly the users of forums seem incapable of stepping back and viewing a wider picture. Were they able to do so then they would doubtless see how ludicrous adherence to some of the stranger viewpoints held would appear. Even more unfortunate is that when reality is introduced to such groups, the denial of reality is so strong that often the person that introduces reality and questions the strange and unrealistic views gets ostracised.
As many regular readers will realize, this blog often casts severe doubt over whether a "professional photographer" actually exists and argues that such a beast never has existed. Without requoting the case against the alleged profession (which is very strong), regular readers might be interested in a recent message on such an internet forum that was received by this author.
Quoting word for word: "Jun 2, 2014 10:49:36 Moderator Note: Do not troll other members. Continued trolling may result in a ban. There is no need to respond to this message. Thank you." This was pretty strange as no "trolling" had ever taken place. Injection of reality was the only offence this author is ever likely to do. It seems trolling and reality are the same thing on forums. Needless to say, the strange message was responded to with the question: "Jun 2, 2014 11:53:41 Where and when did I do something you consider to be trolling? " No response was ever received.
Today, another cryptic message was received, despite not having posted anything on the forum for a week and more. "Sep 29, 2014 12:49:11 Moderator Note: We're done with the trolling of professional photographers. Next time I see it it will be a week ban. After that, it may be made permanent. We have many respected professional photographers on these forums. There is no need to respond to this message. Thank you. " My question is - putting reality to one side for just a moment and dipping into the most fevered imagination - assuming that a "professional photographer" actually existed, why would somebody whose job was to take photographs want to spend their free time playing around on an amateur's internet forum? It just doesn't make any sense. Do bankers spend their free time on Banker chat groups? Do policemen spend their free time on police chat groups? No - none of them do. Work is work and free time is for something different.
As far as being threatened with a "ban" from some little "forum", can I just say that I'm shaking in my boots? (from laughing so hard) Really - how childish! This is just saying "you're telling us something we don't like so we're going to call it something inane with a lot of syllables and blame you for being wicked and then we'll stick our fingers in our ears and shout la-la-la". If only the people on these daft little forums could step back and see how ludicrous they all looked.... I just find the idea of being banned from forums for speaking the truth to be hugely entertaining and a damning indictment of the lack of intelligence of the vast majority of internet forum users. Perhaps the internet has now become the opiate of the masses? Do I even care if somebody sticks their fingers in their ears and screams la-la-la? Not in the slightest. It's hugely entertaining to watch.