I was trying to take a photo of a flowering tree, which I think is called pink flowering magnolia, the most popular kind of flower tree in New Jersey. Then it suddenly struck me that probably I was infringing on the privacy of this neighbor. I could of course shoot the picture from a deliberate angle that doesn’t show the distinctness of the tree. This way nobody could tell which tree this picture is from, but… I thought about this for a minute and then gave it up.
I remember a piece of news a while ago. Somebody posted a dog’s video online and it turned out it’s her neighbor’s dog. The dog owner was not amused and thought that permissions should be sought before the video was posted.
Since most of the things we encounter every day are privately owned, I wonder if we have the right to shoot pictures and post them. I mean a shopping mall, a restaurant, the trees by the road side, and even a big fish pond by the roadside with colorful fish inside–they are all owned by somebody and the owners may not be happy when their ownership is not consulted first.
So I came back home and shot photos with the flowers I bought. I still have a wooden rectangular flower pot from Trader Joe’s that I have saved. It looks nice on photos. Still it is much less exciting than the flower tree outside. My interest in photo shooting sudden drops significantly. The spirit is dampened by the ownership question and the infringement possibilities. Well, I guess a budding photographer no more. I am no good with color or shape anyway and I wonder why I got this photo shooting idea in the first place.
Actually writing about somebody can be viewed as an infringement too unless one wants to praise this person indiscriminately. Well, English has a strange way of looking at a praise and a praise can be considered ironical, which doesn’t happen so often in other languages. So writing about a person, even in praise, can be looked at unfavorably. I’ve tried very hard to weave my stories in a way to hide the real identity of the person. Considering all my stories are based on real persons and real events–I have to admit my imagination is quite limited–this is a little hard to do sometimes. Still I’ve tried. I have to say I am very lucky that most of the people I’ve portrayed try to avoid English in their leisure time. It’s understandable. They’ve already been stressed with their dealing with English in their work and they don’t want the added strain of reading English after work.
Sometimes I saw people posting jokes online and I really like those posts. I also try to post jokes and I am reading joke books to pick out those that I can mold with some Asian twists. I just have one question, do jokes have copyrights? I mean those jokes that are commonly known of course don’t have copyright issues, but other jokes that are definitely created by a known comedian or included in a book, can we retell them online? For example, I am reading this 5000 one-liner joke book and it has a joke like this, “In Paris, they just stared at me when I spoke French to them. I never did manage to make those idiots understand their own language.” This can be retold as an Asian immigrant joke very easily by changing the place, the language, and tweak the situation a little bit. However it’s still the same joke despite the modification. Well, I don’t know how people think about these things.
My friend R always say that I worry too much and overthink until I lose my enthusiasm. I know what she means. And I know why she says this because she’s a person who believes in what she is brought up to believe and she will never change it no matter what life’s circumstances are, no matter how many times her life experiences prove that her long-held opinions are no longer suitable. I wish I have her stubbornness and contentment. I don’t. I am not her and I end up with a lot more anxiety than she has. She lives a happy life indeed with utmost certainties of her own thoughts and actions while I am overwhelmed by my doubts.