Simon Griffee Design Photography Writing Illustration

Handcuffing the Cat-Walker

2009 February 6

Michael Johnston:

“It might be funny when a mild-mannered guy who walks his cat on a leash gets arrested for taking pictures of trains, especially when the people who run the trains have explicitly encouraged the activity. Humor helps, because ridicule can be influential. We laugh. But it ought to be a laughter tinged with nervousness. The current rise of authoritarianism (I’ve called it ”the totalitarian dawn“) in America, England, and the democracies of the West is something to be taken with the utmost seriousness, in principle. Authoritanism has got its toehold, and the current climate of persecution against photographers is a good illustration of how it goes about gaining momentum. We can only oppose authoritarianism so long as it stays small and its power remains limited: once it gets free rein and power, it will usurp our protections, abrogate our rights, and, most likely, make life miserable for the greater mass of us. That, anyway, is authoritarianism’s usual course.”

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