Actually, these enterprising young ladies were standing near the Parisian posing for tips. Quite a few men posed with them, and had the lady they were with take pictures. I got them to pose by being charming, but gave them a tip anyway. At least they weren’t hassling people taking pictures, which leads me to my theme for today.
Officious police/rent-a-cops who think photography is a terrorist activity (or who just enjoy hassling people for no good reason).*
I have been asked at various places why I was taking pictures, and told, in some of them, not to do so. Others have had the same experience. I’m not sure how much of this post-dates 9/11, but I’m sure that the Patriot Act (i.e., the “yippee, the terrorists gave us a good opportunity to enact the Restrict Americans’ Freedom Act) encouraged this sort of police-state mentality. The minions of the king (or minions of the corporations) seem to think that terrorists cannot access any information they want, visual or otherwise, on the internet.
When I’m out and about taking photos, particularly shots of buildings/architecture, I fully expect these days to be accosted by some guy with a gut, a gun, and a grudge.
It’s gotten so bad, that some folks with cameras are hassled in tourist areas, like Downtown Disney. Like this guy. Scroll down a bit to read his letter to Disney, and a bit more to read of the encounter. I will say I have not been hassled by the Disney security folks, and some of them have been quite near to me when I was taking pictures, including in the House of Blues area where Mr. Beem ran into trouble.
What’s next? Are theme parks (which already have security checkpoints when one goes in) going to start forbidding bringing cameras?
I know that often those given a bit of authority, or semblance of authority, turn into petty martinets, and puff themselves up, and that many companies and police forces do not actually instruct their employees to hassle photographers (or at least I’d like to think so).
* I have no idea as to whether these young ladies were engaging in an “illegal” street performance or whether they got hassled. Apparently the “powers that be” in Las Vegas (including the Strip which may not technically be in Las Vegas but in unincorporated Clark County) have decided that street performers, buskers, and the like have no place there. They hassle and arrest these performers, although they sometimes apparently just hold them in jail for some hours and charge them with nothing at all. The ostensible “crimes” are operating a business without a license, begging/soliciting alms, obstructing the sidewalk, disorderly conduct, obscene materials (?), and being a public nuisance.
The ACLU has brought a legal action contending that the performers are being subjected to non-applicable and unconstitutional laws. I can testify that the guys who hand out flyers/cards for smut are allowed there (because of an ACLU lawsuit).
If it isn’t apparent, I think street performing and busking and the like are an important party of our culture, and many others. See my next post about this.
I am posting this old pic of the House of Blues in solidarity with Mr. Beem’s travails: