We take a few pictures with the Kodak we got last year. The students keep a serious pose, because this is the Guilded Age, very serious times and all. What with the rise of industry, might as well look industrious.
"Mr. Johnson, do you think people will confuse us when we're gone?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, when we're all dead, will people look at the pictures and get the wrong picture?" Kids say some of the most confusing and morbid things.
"I'm still not seeing your point."
"I mean, after we're dead and our children are dead. Not that we should be having children since we're children. But generations from now, will people look back at the scowls on our faces and think that things were more serious back in the day? I mean, will they think kids never through a paper or slammed a slate down or smiled when they hit a home run or told a joke? Will the picture be telling a lie?"
"Like Jesus," another girl adds. "It never says he smiled, but I don't know, I guess . . . I guess I just always pictured him smiling when the kids ran up to him."
I stop the class at this point as we discuss what we record, the artifacts we leave behind and the huge gaps that are missing in history as a result. Sometimes it seems that technology itself creates a narrative of a whole people group and its an image, but a very incomplete image. It's what society wants people to think of itself rather than who the people actually are. It has me thinking that maybe that's the tragedy of technology and the pitfall of posterity. It always leads to selective memory.