Archive for soapbox

Chompoo Baritone: The Truth Behind Instagram

Posted in photography, satire, soapbox with tags , , on June 13, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

I remember applauding teenage social media supermodel Essena O’neill for coming out about the staged (and often miserable) truth behind her “candid” shots. In a gesture few 19 years olds in our likes-obsessed society could muster, she quit social media so as not to define her worth by superficial standards.

Chompoo Baritone’s photo series about the truth behind Instagram is decidedly less poignant and depressing than the heavier themes evoked by O’Neill’s re-editing her own captions to reflect the truth of spray tans, boosted bosoms, stomach suck-ins and hours of strategic posing.

These photos are rather humorous to look at because they show how much better even the most mundane crap can appear on social media.




This is a great example of why we can never compare our lives to others…but we can certainly enjoy the beauty of the mundane in these tiny snapshots.

Chompoo Baritone


The SWS Facebook Page is Moving! (Plus Rant)

Posted in announcement, cats, soapbox, vintage with tags , , , on March 11, 2016 by shewalkssoftly

Allow me to step on my soapbox and let loose a rant that’s been brewing for quite sometime…*ahem*…

If you don’t want to read the whole post, I’ll lead with the end point:

I’m shutting down the SWS Facebook “page” and keeping it personal, the way I originally intended, by inviting you all to my regular profile. Click “follow” and you’ll get the daily blog post (as well as some bonus content).

Be sure to click “follow” and not “add friend” so you see the artsy content and avoid clogging up your own feed with my name tagged in various memes and medical articles. Follow HERE.

Now the reason…

A couple of months ago, Facebook notified me that they were going to shut down my blog profile unless I submitted legal documentation proving my name is She Walks Softly. So I converted the profile to a “page,” lost all my data, and now my blog posts are listed as reaching about 7 people instead of 500+ per day via Facebook specifically. Since I had barely touched the site for 5 years, I didn’t realize that Facebook wants us to buy ad space so they limit the post audience and don’t let us add anyone or communicate from a “page.”

I take issue with this because Facebook frequently makes announcements regarding its perpetual quest to target the user’s experience to his or her own interests, as if we should be grateful. It appears this is largely a veil for self-serving data mining and manipulation of visibility for financial gain.

I’m an extremely pronounced introvert. And while I adore and admire my extrovert friends who cast a wide social net, due to my own wiring I cannot…even where it would serve me…muster the faintest interest in non-substantive popularity. This quality is simultaneously a gift that ensures a high concentration of quality personal interactions in my life, and a curse in our market-saturated society that requires copious self-promotion for any independent project (an endeavor at which I’m not only miserable, but wholly inept). I’ve never promoted my blog anywhere nor have I taken any measures to grow the Facebook page. Whoever ended up on these sites found them of their own accord and wanted to be there.

The plummeting numbers themselves didn’t bother me. It bothers me that many people who went out of their way to tell me they appreciated the blog content and followed daily through Facebook no longer see the posts, and I have no recourse to make them aware of the shift. Even if I could remember all the strangers who have expressed gratitude and write to them from my regular profile, I would get temporarily banned for “spamming.” And, if I were able to write to these kind strangers, the messages would be relegated to the recipients’ “other/request” folder, most likely remaining unseen. I didn’t even know an “other” folder existed until there were hundreds of messages in it…and I still never check it.

In short: people who expressed genuine interest have been shut out. This hardly reflects the site’s purported benevolent preoccupation with targeting user interests. Apparently, there is a penalty for valuing quality over quantity, for wanting followers who actually give a damn about the material as opposed to page views that can be bought.

This blog is a fun hobby that has nothing to do with my career. I will never earn money off it, and that was a conscious choice I made so as not to alter my content for search engine optimization, feel tempted to post shameless clickbait, bombard people with pop-up ads and other flagrant marketing tools…or do anything other than share my love of art, absurdity, and the darker side of life with fellow enthusiasts.


100 Days of Rainbows (#lovewins)

Posted in art, craft, food, photography, sea, soapbox with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by shewalkssoftly

You won’t find too many standard rainbows on this blog, simply because I gravitate toward the darker side of art. But the recent US Supreme Court decision for nationwide marriage equality warrants a special celebration.


Julie Seabrook Ream, a dedicated mother and artist who could never pick a favorite color, has endeavored to make a rainbow collage every day for 100 days.

These collections newly frame the most mundane household objects. Anything can be art in the right hands.


Julie Seabrook Ream

Soapbox side note:
While I’m ashamed to live in a world where race, gender, sexual orientation (or other arbitrary factors determined by the dominant power structure) has any bearing on an individual’s rights or happiness, I’m heartened to see that human beings are evolving enough to begin dissolving our self-created boundaries. Congratulations to the LGBTQ community on an embarrassingly long overdue victory!

Fast Food Photoshop

Posted in advertising, food, soapbox, vintage with tags , , , on June 11, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

What you see below is an actual ad for a Burger Chef hamburger (Mad Men fans, Burger Chef is a real company!). I think this is excellent; what you see is what you get. I’m pretty damn sure this is an accurate representation of the item. They didn’t even bother to strategically place the onions in a relatively even distribution. The burger is smaller than the bun. A lone pickle slice graces the nucleus of the burger structure.

Over 50 years later, fast food recipes have not changed all that much (save for much larger portions). But we DO have one secret ingredient that makes a monumental difference: PHOTOSHOP.

Enter the Burger King Whopper. Look at that flame broiled, juicy patty extending past the bun, residing under a veritable tower of fresh, shiny, crunchy produce. The edge of the tomato slice even has perfect little water droplets on it (has anyone EVER seen that in real life?)!

I find it fascinating that even FOOD is subject to the unrealistic ideals increasingly created/perpetuated by the media. It’s startling to view pictures of what was considered “attractive” just half a century ago, human or otherwise. There is an ever-widening rift between what actual humans and products look like and the fabricated hyperrealistic “paintings” that have taken the place of photographs (I was going to post some human examples, but you get the idea!).

I Don’t Get Fashion: A.P.C. Store’s Hip Hop T-Shirt

Posted in absurd, clothing, fashion, humor, soapbox with tags , , , , on September 30, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

Now, this had to have started as a joke; overinflated egos toying with masses for fun. I could launch into a massive sociological tirade, but lucky for the folks at A.P.C. and the rash of gullible humans who forked over $120 for this thing…my typing abilities are currently restricted.


I don’t know what’s more discouraging: the fact that this shirt took a COLLABORATION to design (as if it were groundbreaking and not the most common, standard piece of clothing ever sold on this planet, and for under 10 bucks)…or the fact that it actually sold out.

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.


Posted in politics, soapbox with tags , on January 18, 2012 by shewalkssoftly

I’ve been educating myself as much as possible about SOPA. The consequences for truly valuable and well-meaning information sources could be staggering. As an information junkie, I’m terrified at the thought of this act passing.

If your favorites sites have gone dark today, consider watching this informative video:

I got that video from a wonderful post on Open Culture, which nicely sums up the problem for those who haven’t heard about it:

Backed by the Motion Picture Association of America, SOPA is designed to debilitate and effectively shut down foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other goods. That all sounds fine on the face of things. But the legislation, if enacted, would carry with it a series of unexpected consequences that could change the internet as we know it. Among other things, the law could be used to shut down American sites that unwittingly host or link to illegal content — and without giving the sites due process, a real day in court. Big sites like YouTube and Twitter could fall under pressure, and so could countless small sites. Needless to say, that could have a serious chilling effect on the openness of the web and free speech.

Please take a moment to sign this petition.

Kudos to Wikipedia and the other major sites going dark today in protest (I wish facebook had taken action and gone offline with an informative message about the issue…sadly, that probably would have gotten FAR more people to pay attention).

Where Congress Members Stand on SOPA

Jewish Marriage Contracts

Posted in antiques, art, politics, soapbox, vintage with tags , , , , on June 26, 2011 by shewalkssoftly

In honor of my home state now allowing gay marriage (a measure that brings us one small yet much-needed step closer to honoring the basic rights of every human being), I give you a beautiful series of antique Jewish marriage contracts from around the world.

For those who think marriage is “just a piece of paper,” this tradition certainly makes the most of it! The artistry is incredible. I don’t know what the contract states, but I’m going to pretend it’s something amazing and sublimely meaningful to the particular partnership it commemorates.

Think about it. You could immortalize your own vows and promises in calligraphic glory on parchment, whether you wish to say that you are two halves of a single soul…or that you won’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.

My dear roommate and I were recently talking about how various friendships could even benefit from some sort of formalized written understanding.

In all seriousness, everyone should be allowed to pursue love and happiness, and to have it recognized in the eyes of whatever government, God or Flying Spaghetti Monster they choose. NY…may your actions be the first of MANY steps in a global effort to honor humanity without judgment.


The Facebook Cartoon Meme

Posted in politics, satire with tags , , on December 6, 2010 by shewalkssoftly

I rarely step on my soapbox and get personal here, but I feel the need to comment on the recent facebook trend of posting cartoon characters as profile pictures to “fight child abuse.”

Let me make this clear: if you posted a cartoon, I’m NOT insulting you. I have no problem with anyone taking part in the trend.

My beef is with the trend itself and what it says about our culture; the unprecedented distance between one’s public dedication to a cause, and any actual measure of reflection or helpful behavior.

Symbols have been iconic representations of various social causes for decades (red ribbons, pink ribbons, rubber bracelets). At least the proceeds from these culturally fabricated products went toward the cause they represented. A small step, but a step nonetheless.

In the social networking world, trends like the cartoon character meme are devoid of ANY direct connection to or impact on the cause itself. No profit, no research, no inquiry, no time volunteered, no outreach program, no benefit.

These trends are yet another reflection of the narcissism that now pervades our technologically advanced society. Only in an extremely egocentric, disconnected population could one believe that posting a favorite character or listing the color of their bra (in the recent “breast cancer awareness” meme) has ANY influence over the true misfortune at stake. Yet I’ve seen an alarming degree of smug self-satisfaction from those who comply.

Sadly, I’d wager that upon the spread of the cartoon character meme, most people briefly thought “Yes, child abuse is wrong.”…and then spent half an hour googling the perfect ironically retro cartoon image to post, enraptured in their own nostalgia. I’ve seen plenty of “Dude, I loved Thundercats!,” but ZERO comments about child abuse itself.

Suddenly, awareness of a good cause becomes about ME, ME, ME! MY favorite things! MY pictures! What do I like? What am I wearing?

How does a call for charity become self-centered and completely divorced from charitable behavior?

I am wholeheartedly grateful for the role technology plays in my life (including online networking), yet I find myself missing the days when people didn’t think what they had for breakfast was newsworthy enough to be shared with everyone they’ve ever known on three different sites. I miss when caring about a cause meant volunteering time and sharing valuable information.

The closer we get, the more disconnected we become.

99% of the time, I ignore solipsistic social networking trends, even when they involve causes very close to my heart.

Here is a cartoon I liked as a kid:

Are children still being abused now? Wait…Really? Are you sure?

I’m afraid I agree with Gossamer here: