Thomas Beller stalks the Google car

Event: Mar 28, 2011


I flipped off the Google Street View car the other day when I was riding my bike to work, but upon inspection I can’t find myself online—perhaps the section of Central City I was riding through hasn’t been updated on Street View yet.

Thomas Beller—Tulane professor, Open City editor, author, and Room 220 interview subject—had an encounter of his own with a Google Street View car in New Orleans, but instead of vulgar gestures he chose to respond by chasing the car down on his Vespa and snapping photos of it on his iPhone. He writes about the weird encounter in the New York Times ‘Lives’ section:

I imagined that the random citizens of New Orleans would look especially strange, caught in midlife amid their unique physical environment. There has always been something about New Orleans, but particularly these days — after the storm and all the talk about what should and shouldn’t be rebuilt and why — that gives locals the feeling that outsiders are destined to misapprehend the essence of the city, the texture of life at street level. The Google Street View guy didn’t make me feel threatened physically; he wasn’t breaking any laws. But there was an antagonism to what he was doing. If he was going to capture the image of my city, and maybe me, no amount of bright colors on that car could cover the essentially surreptitious nature of the enterprise.

Google was having its photo shoot. I would have mine.

Full text here.

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