Culture

Man too busy texting to notice a whale?

Technically Incorrect: It isn't every day you see a humpback whale. You won't see one at all if you've always got your nose in your phone.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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The image as presented on Eric Smith's Instagram feed. Eric Smith/Instagram screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

For those attuned to certain values, it's an image that defies belief and defines how far modern culture has sunk.

There is a man on the deck of a sailboat. Just feet below is a humpback whale. Perhaps the whale is saying hello. Perhaps the whale can smell some nice fish the man has grilling. It's less likely that the whale wants to phone home.

The glory of the story, you see, is that the man can't see the whale, because he's too busy texting on his phone.

The image was taken by photographer Eric Smith and posted to his Instagram feed, where some are suggesting that the shot is faked.


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Smith, though, told ABC News that he took the shot during a whale watch at Redondo Beach, Calif.

He said: "A small private sailboat maneuvered really close to the whales, and this guy on it was literally sitting in that position and never moved."

Though it's easy to suggest that the man must have been a sad slave to his screen, even Smith admitted that there could be other possibilities. He said: "He could have been texting his mom in the hospital for all I know."

Quite. Or he could have been dumped by his callous lover and was composing a last, languorous haiku in order to win her back. He could have been texting about a job, a debt or a coming fortune.

He might have seen the whale earlier and they'd had a nice chat before he had to explain that he had to get on, as his girlfriend was wondering where he was.

He might even have already taken his own picture of it and was now posting it to his Instagram account.

The camera never lies. Oh, but it tells fibs all the time.

Clearly, many people are so deeply embedded in their phones that they seem barely to notice real life at all. They fall into fountains while texting. They fall into Lake Michigan too. It's even been known for a texter to fall off a cliff.

Perhaps, when this man sees the picture all over the world, he might come forward to tell us what was really happening.