Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for May 25th, 2022

Two flies from the side of the road

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Here are two flies from May 10th on the north side of RM (Ranch-to-Market) 2222 just west of the Capital of Texas Highway (the same location that provided the pictures for the posts on Monday, Sunday, and Saturday). The critter above is a tachinid fly in the genus Cylindromyia on a firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella). I believe the tiny fly on a Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) below belongs to the genus Poecilognathus (which was the subject of my most seen and commented-on post ever, thanks to WordPress’s Freshly Pressed feature).


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Face blindness, technically known as prosopagnosia, is a condition in which a person has trouble recognizing other people’s faces. According to a 2006 article in the Harvard Gazette: “The condition can be embarrassing and lead to social isolation: Severe prosopagnosics may mistake complete strangers for acquaintances even as they fail to recognize family members, close friends, spouses, and even themselves. Many report difficulty watching television shows and movies because they cannot keep track of characters. Face-blind individuals often compensate for their prosopagnosia using nonfacial traits, such as hair, gait, clothing, voice, and context.”

The same article gave an estimate of the disorder’s frequency: “Testing of 1,600 individuals found that 2 percent of the general public may have face-blindness and a German group has recently made a similar estimate. It’s conceivable that millions of people may have symptoms consistent with prosopagnosia, without even realizing it.” I’ve sometimes had difficulty keeping track of characters in movies and people that I’ve met, so I’m apparently on the spectrum for prosopagnosia.

Being facially challenged is yet another kind of differently-abled-ness that our hyper-enlightened society should be shame-faced about for not “doing the work” to ameliorate the plight of all the suffering prosopagnosics in our midst. The current sorry situation is prima facie evidence that we need to envisage solutions! In the United States we must face up to the problem by invoking the Adults with Disabilities Act to demand accommodation. From now on, every movie and television show must be made not only with closed captioning (CC) but also with facial facilitation (FF). A viewer watching a film or television show who turns on the built-in FF will see written in clear letters under each character’s face on the screen the name of the person whose face it is. Those names, of course, will follow the characters as they move about on the screen.

But wait! Even implementing that technology wouldn’t be enough of an about-face in our country’s wretchedly problematic history of systemic prosopagnosicism. Didn’t Shakespeare tell us (before he got canceled as a dead white male) that all the world’s a stage? What about the much greater number of prosopagnosia-triggering encounters outside of movies and television shows? Until electronic identification chips are perfected to the point that they can be surgically embedded in people to make facial facilitation technology operate in the world as a whole and not just in movies and television shows, Congress must pass a law requiring everyone who leaves home to wear a name tag so that prosopagnosics can recognize them. And of course to accommodate the visually impaired, those name tags must be large, with letters at least four inches high. The name tags must also be battery-powered so they’ll light up when it’s dark and would otherwise be hard or impossible to read.

Now, you may be among the people who protest that it’s unreasonable to burden the whole world with measures meant to accommodate the less than 2% of the population who suffer from an unusual condition. Oh, you hate-filled individualistic white supremacist enforcers of the cisheteronormative patriarchy!

Satire aside, consider the extreme policies some ideologues are already enforcing as they reconfigure the world to promote transgenderism, which the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law says affects 1.4 million people, or less than 0.5% of America’s 330 million people. Take our legal system: Fully intact biologically male prisoners who claim to be women can now demand to get moved to women’s prisons and share cells with women. Take education: Middle school officials have gone so far as to accuse eighth-graders of sexual harassment for not using the pronouns another child demands. If such extreme measures are already being inflicted on the population for the supposed sake of less than one-half of one percent of its members, then why wouldn’t ideologues insist on measures like those I made up for the much larger number of prosopagnosics? Better start getting your glow-in-the-dark name tags ready.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 25, 2022 at 4:31 AM

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