Catching something completely out of context in public.
It’s the trope that has spawned a thousand episodes of a thousand sitcoms. The Live-Action T.V. section of this fan-driven tropes wiki for out-of-context eavesdropping even suggests that the narrative device “was the plot of roughly 2/3s of the episodes of Three’s Company.”
But much like any cliché or stereotype, it is sometimes easy to forget that they exist in entertainment because they’re circumstances people see in real life.
I’ve found myself glancing over my shoulder on occasion when playing Fire Emblem Heroes, for example.
Looking at you Summer Noire.
The excuse of playing a video game somewhat mitigates that particular fear. We all know the Japanese are a special breed in that regard.
But today I had a slightly different experience in that vein, where the concern was being perceived as some kind of sociopath out of context.
So let me provide context that way you all don’t think I’m a sociopath.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time writing my novel. So much so that I skipped out on doing a blog post.
To make up for it I tried doing a silly gif thing:
Figured I should keep practicing that stuff I learned a few weeks back.
Even though I kept throughout today, I needed a change of scenery. Wound up dragging my Dad out to get coffee at a Coffee Bean in Torrance for a couple of hours.
While we were there I checked my school portal and saw the last two Comm Law assignments we needed to complete over Spring Break were finally uploaded.
I would have preferred to work on them at the beginning of the break… But I can’t force my professors to do things just for my convenience.
Luckily the assignments were quick enough to blow through that I can’t complain.
One of them just happened to come with some bizarre imagery.
For our section on copyright and trademark, a case we went over was Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions. In which Utah artist Tom Forsythe created a number of images using frazzled Barbie dolls in domestic appliances and common food items to comment on the brand’s effect on society’s treatment of women and gender roles.
All that fun stuff.
Forsythe won the case as fair use for commentary and was later compensated for the legal fees.
A very interesting case, but one that required me to watch videos zooming in on pictures of mangled Barbie pieces in enchiladas and stir fry.
Obviously the “school assignment” excuse would have saved me from any dirty looks. Especially given my ability to at least partially explain why the court case is important in First Amendment studies.
But I definitely would have gotten some dirty looks out of context, and I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder to make sure nobody was peering over the hedges.
Even though I would have more things to worry about if a total stranger was watching me from behind a hedge in a public space, I suppose.