If you watch any sports, you know that one way broadcasters and arenas fill time during the boring bits is to aim a camera at an apparent couple in the stands (boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, Luke and Leia, whatever) and put the image on a giant screen with the words “Kiss Cam” superimposed. On seeing themselves so honored, the man and woman are expected to kiss passionately for the entertainment and edification of all.
In some countries this practice must seem a shocking demonstration of Western decadence. Indian movies, for example, long avoided showing romantic kisses at all, and even now only a very limited amount of it is tolerated. One popular Bollywood actress was widely denounced, and even received death threats, when some audience members judged an on-screen kiss too passionate. (On the other hand, it’s fairly common for a song-and-dance number to take place in a heavy rain, under a waterfall, or the like in order to get the lead actress soaking wet. The excellent film 3 Idiots (see my review at this link) has fun with that convention by showing the male lead Aamir Khan in a shirt that’s been wet down to the point of transparency. (The scene is on YouTube here.)
Some other cultures, of course, are even more sensitive, judging a woman’s hair, or even anything at all about a woman, to be to exciting for public exhibition, hence the almost complete concealment of women required in some Muslim countries. Another example came up just a few days ago in connection with a widely published photograph of world leaders in Paris, their arms linked together to take part in a huge demonstration against the Charlie Weekly murders. An ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel (HaMevaser) published the photograph on its front page, but Photoshopped to remove all the women, making it look as if only men had been present. (See the original and edited photos here.) Editor Binyamin Lipkin explained that including women in the picture could “desecrate the memory of the martyrs” and that he worried what children might think. Apparently Angela Merkel is considered just dang too sexy for young lads to see. (It should be noted that other ultra-Orthodox leaders called the photo doctoring ridiculous.)
Anyway, what I’m leading up to is an example of a Kiss Cam gone wrong, but with a last-minute save. The male half of the couple appears not to notice what’s going on, being too occupied with his smart phone, but fortunately someone else comes to the rescue. This illustrates that we Americans still have the same sort of volunteerism and mutual aid praised by Alexis de Toqueville in De la démocratie en Amérique.