Facebook Made Me Stand in the Corner, Echoing Michael Druks’ Prophetic Artwork

Punishment, Stand in the Corner by Michael Druks

Last week, I received an admonishment from Facebook an Improvised Life article I reposted about the funny, playful, risqué-though-rather-unrevealing merkins —  pubic wigs—  created by artist Sinnae Choi. FB’s message in essence said: You did something bad. We’re banning you from posting anything, anywhere on Facebook for 24 hours. 

It may well have been an algorithm that caused Facebook to identify an artwork as out-of-bounds for the platform. Fair enough.

No doubt it was human beings who decided how they would respond to what they considered inappropriate behavior by a long-time publisher on their site. (Where many people read Improvised Life’s three-times-a-day postings.)

I felt like a child being made to stand in the corner — in effect take a “time out” — a strikingly infantilizing message by a massive digital institution.

Punishment, Stand in the Corner (detail) by Michael Druks

My search for an image to describe this experience led me to the work of Israeli visual artist Michael Druks. In 1973, well before the World Wide Web took hold, and 30 years before Facebook launched, he created Punishment, Stand in the Corner, a collage of four images mounted on plywood:

Recreating the experience of standing in the corner at Israeli sites charged with personal, religious, cultural, and national significance raises questions about the relationship between the individual and authority (the instructions in authoritative institutions)…
Life: A User’s Manual, an exhibition at the Israel Museum 


Facebook could have sent me a friendly message saying Sorry, you may think this is great but it won’t work on our platform. We know you’ve been publishing for many years, and no doubt meant no harm. Please read our policies so you’ll understand where we’re coming from…

Instead, their response was eerily, scarily Big Brother.





4 Responses to Facebook Made Me Stand in the Corner, Echoing Michael Druks’ Prophetic Artwork

  1. gallagher 02.28.2018 at 7:44am #

    hey Sally,
    I’m GLAD they did it!
    ,…otherwise, i would have NEVER
    heard,..or seen(!) Micheal Druks’ work.
    Thanks FB!

    *don’t see this as an encouragment to continue your ‘bad behavior’.

  2. Masha 02.28.2018 at 8:21am #

    Hey, Sally,
    Way to go! Both postings are great, about Micheal Druks’ work and about merkins!!

    Are you still going to use the Big Brothr Fakebook ??

    At least for me, it’s one more of many reasons not to become part of it.

    And I am cringing from FOMO 🙂

  3. Sally Schneider 02.28.2018 at 10:24am #

    I only use FB Big Brother to post Improvised Life content on its FB page as there are many readers who like to find it there. I almost never post on my personal FB page (which has hardly any personal info), which I need to have in order to have the Improvised Life page.

    Me, I’m not a fan of Facebook. That said, I hadn’t considered the power this giant technological organism has…until I experienced its negative side.

  4. Sally Schneider 02.28.2018 at 10:25am #

    My thoughts completely Gallagher. Thanks FB.

    My bad behavior seems to be hardwired (:

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