“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”  — William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

New Media and the saturation of cameras in our society has diluted our privacy for cheap entertainment.  Here is one example.

On Monday, February 15, 2010 at approx. 3pm an older white man and a younger black man started arguing on an Oakland (CA) bus.  As the argument progressed, the older man retreated to the front of the bus while still arguing with the increasingly aggressive younger man.  The younger man then walked up to the front of the buss and threw a punch at the older man.  The older man fought back hitting the younger man a few times and breaking the younger man’s nose.  The older man was then kicked off the bus, the police showed up and both men were treated at a local hospital.  It was later determined that the older man was on prescribed medication but was not on his meds when the altercation took place.

This is not a big story nor should it be.  It has become sort of a big story on the internet.  A person at the back of the bus was videoing the events and posted it to YouTube.  The video and several renditions of it have been viewed more than 600,000 times.   In the comments on YouTube the racial divide is very clearly seen and it is apparent that many people find the event highly entertaining.

What should have been a minor and forgettable incident has also spread to social media sites.  The older gentleman who has not yet been positively identified in the traditional media has been dubbed “Epic Beard Man” or EBM.  Facebook has dozens of fan pages and groups dedicated to him with thousands of members who have joined.  The older man has been held up as some kind of hero of the many people who put up with aggressive jerks on public transportation and other places.  He is not a hero, he is an unfortunate victim of New Media.  He appeared to just want to be left alone for the remainder of the bus ride but was instead drawn into a fight which he won.  The fight is now available for everyone to see who wants to.  Privacy be damned, we want to be entertained.

This was an unfortunate event where a younger man let his temper get the best of him and got a sound beating.  After suffering a broken nose he was still verbally threatening the older man who by then had exited the bus.  It was embarrassing to the younger man and now several hundred thousand people know about the event.  From the video the older man was willing to take the insults but only actually fight if contact was made.  The amount of distress after the fight makes it seem that the older man did not want to do it but only started swinging to defend himself.  The older man may just want to forget about it too.  The internet has now immortalized this incident such as it is.

All of the videos, re-mixes, fan pages, and other tellings and re-telling of the story add nothing to the incident and are just noise.

Let the man have his privacy and leave him alone.

Comments Welcome

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