Miley Cyrus by Terry Richardson

Dear People Who Flip Off Cameras

May I ask: What are you so mad about?

Please help me understand why your inclination to someone politely saying “smile for the camera!” is to turn around, scrunch up your face and flick one or two middle fingers at them?

Did the sale end at Urban Outfitters the day your photo was taken? That sends me into an unbridled rage too. Where the hell are we going to buy Mom jeans that don’t actually look like Mom jeans for less than $100, am I right?

Did someone mention to you that your Native American headdress you wear at music festivals qualifies as cultural appropriation right before the photographer snapped the photograph? I know it sure pisses me off when some jackass tells me that I’m not being “culturally sensitive.” That makes me want to shoot five million middle fingers at the world. I’m culturally sensitive, dammit; I wear “tribal” patterns.

I think I know what it is. Your tattoo artist fucked up your taco tattoo that day, right? The taco ended up looking like a pita and now the banner above the drawing proclaiming “It’s taco time!” doesn’t make any friggin’ sense. Nobody wants “pita time.” Man, I’d be raging too. My tattoo artist totally put a mustache on Hall instead of Oates. Who does that?

Wait, it’s none of that stuff? Nobody checked your cultural appropriation, you totally scored a re-release of Purple Rain on vinyl at UO and your taco tattoo looks good enough to eat?

THEN HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHAT COMPELS YOU TO DO THIS.

James Franco by Terry Richardson

You’re not the Man in Black shooting the bird at the penal system, and you’re most definitely not a cantankerous elderly person taking a photo to be used on a greeting card for Spencer’s.

Please tell me this is just an ugly phase like business names with ampersands connecting a random animal with an old man’s name and man buns for men who don’t actually have long hair, and that you’ll be ashamed down the road. I mean, what do you say when one of your future kids finds a photograph of you looking all sleek at a party and you’re shooting the bird? Will you sit them down and say, “Son, I used to be ‘that asshole.’ When someone took a photo of me, I’d cock my head, stick out my tongue and let my middle fingers blaze.”

And what are you going to say to your son when he looks up at you with pleading eyes and asks, “Dad, what were you so mad about? Was it all the casualties from the Syrian Civil War? The fighting in Gaza? The rampant use of police brutality against people of color in America?” WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TELL HIM!? Are you going to look at your son, who is wiser than you due to using early development apps on his iPad, hang your head low and say, “Daft Punk tickets sold out that day?”

May I suggest using your hands for good and not evil? What the hell ever happened to the peace sign? Rabbit ears? Deuces? Goddammit, I’ll even take deuces.

You can read more of my writing at Hipstercrite.