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free hugs. by theMODEL-misfit free hugs. by theMODEL-misfit
model: juan mann & anonymous huggee.

free hugs priceless in a culture of violence
by karen brooks; october fourth

did you know that in new south wales, monday (a public holiday there) was declared a day of hugging? this wasn't an official pronouncement; rather, it was made by an advocate of the Free Hug movement.

last week, the creator of this movement, a young man going by the pseudonym juan mann, was elevated to the dizzying heights of global celebrity.

video footage of mann pacing sydney's pitt street mall about a year ago, holding aloft a sign stating 'free hugs' & set to the poignant 'all the same' by the australian los angeles-based band, sick puppies, was uploaded on to the video-share website youtube.

in cyberspace, every second counts. it took only nanoseconds for news of the video of mann's campaign to spread. appealing to the inner child in us, the video was shown on good morning america last week. now, the site is registering close to 1.5 million hits and many thousands of positive comments.

so, what was at the heart of this young man's campaign to brighten the day of city slickers those so preoccupied with work and the fast, heady pace of contemporary life, they forget to stop and smell the roses?

according to mann, after returning from a trip overseas, he noticed how sad everyone looked and basically wanted to brighten their day. to him, a hug was the natural antidote to the stress and alienation that burdens urban workers.

although people were reluctant at first to approach this tall, lanky man with a promise, it wasn't long before his invitation caught on. casting suspicion to the wind, young and old threw themselves into his arms, keen for what we so often forget we need in this hi-tech day and age human touch. either we forget or, for fear of being thought our actions will be misconstrued, we avoid.

but mann didn't think about how his intentions might be interpreted, he embraced his fellow humans. and they thanked him for it.

then, sydney city council decided that this generous young man could cause irreparable damage. insisting that he buy $25 million in public liability insurance, the council demanded he stop. undeterred, mann collected 10,000 signatures on a petition and now his hugging movement is free to continue to bring smiles to those drawn, harried faces of the city.

there's something uplifting about this story. along with the video, you get the "warm & fuzzies" and find yourself cheering this guy who reminds us of the simpler pleasures; of the sweetness that life and letting others fill it can bring.

the past few weeks have been defined by memorials, tragedies and death. steve irwin's life so swiftly taken; peter brock, gone. the beloved colin thiele, passed away. september eleventh & those agonising images replayed again & again.

we live in a world where violence and violent acts are becoming normalised. the producers of the new james bond film see fit to cut the superspy smoking a cigar but not images of him killing people with a smoking gun. we are shocked and appalled at sexual imagery and intimacy, but take death, pain and the destruction of human life in our stride.

what sort of society are we devolving into?

we've become so desensitised to aggression we no longer think twice about letting young children play computer games that encourage them to shoot, maim and kill. i watched a seven-year-old boy i know approach his mother with a gruesome game under his arm, rated MA. he asked her permission to play it. she gave it willingly, disinterestedly even.

when i pointed out its rating, his mother said: "oh, it's all right. he's only killing aliens."

"i thought it was the killing that mattered," i responded.

apparently not.

i'm reminded of the movie 'true lies', when a. schwarzenegger's character, who's been hiding his identity as a spy from his wife of many years, admits he has killed in his line of work, then hastily adds, "yeah, but they were all bad." when they don't look, talk, act or worship like us, then, it seems, they're deemed to be bad (different) and their life is not so important.

for a culture that doesn't cope well with death, we seem to hold life so cheaply.

but just as you begin to despair, along comes a young man with a big heart and youtube, technology that spreads goodwill like a virus and gives us what we need in these dark times a hug and a smile.

all it took was juan mann, which just proves, hugs aren't for free, they're priceless.
Add a Comment:
Heather-Chrysalis Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016
I read through your artist's comments and I just wanted to say that I agree with you 100% all the way! This is how I feel too...

and I love what Juan Mann is doing, it's a great gift he's giving to strangers who may go through their day without any other human touch. Hugs are priceless. :hug:
I wish I could get a free hug from him, but I live pretty far away in Canada from him.
XylenneIsNotAmazing Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Awwww <3
pearwood Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent.  Saw it in tanikel's journal.
bikipop Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2014
so cute story
DorotejaC Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This is fantastic photo. Emotionally. Perfect.
sruo Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can just imagine that person who asked for hugs pinning a post-it on the other persons back saying 'kick me'... Lol
gaboogleblinghead Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
XylenneIsNotAmazing Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Why lol?
erosarizona Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
awwww haha wonderful <3
SallySamson Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I want a free hug! :3 Everybody! Here you go, a free hug from ME!<3 :D
DarknessPanthera Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
i lik the story... thats one different but cool dude
troloalone Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Ameran2010 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Student Artist
forever alone detected:iconforeveraloneplz:
GartorEonyane Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
XxMondayMorningxX Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I used your photo in my journal here: [link] !!! :hug:
marshmallowsgonewild Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
the video and this photo inspired me
free hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :hug:
RATHS-JCv Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011
I wanna meet a free hugs guy :3
SuzyDrawz Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Go to the Elf Fantasy Fair in Arsen in half a year, you'll love it, I promise! :D
RATHS-JCv Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
Arsen? Where's that?
SuzyDrawz Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
In the Netherlands... ^^'
RATHS-JCv Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
... Kinda a way out XD
but thanks :3

Will be sure to visit if im ever over there :L
Asrath Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011  Student General Artist
Or go larping ;)
those people hug every stranger they can get. When I first joined and walked on the terrain, immediately five people gave me a warming group hug, and many others came around to hug the new face...! ;) those people are hug addicts, lol!
SuzyDrawz Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yosha! :D
freeflying93 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011   Photographer
the concept is great
Toneiko Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2010  Student General Artist
Xinsoluble-wandererX Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010
oh man i really love this!!= D my friend and i just held free hugs signs at the fair for about 6 hours haha and got tons of hugs... yay for hugs<3
Noeliux Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010
Yei!!! Free Hugs!!! I've been standing in a main avenue here in my country giving free hugs!!!!

Luv it
Izzy-Kusanagi Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
That's actually pretty neat. There are so many people could have their day change for the best with a simple hug. :3
YellowVuvuzela Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2010   Digital Artist
They are, indeed, priceless.
one-red-butterfly Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
SOORY i meant THIS commercial ----> [link]
one-red-butterfly Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
this SO reminds me of this commercial -----> [link]
valentinwinkelmann Featured By Owner May 12, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
very sweet:)
Rune1234 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010
Kinda looks like John Lennon...
BittersOfLife Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010 the movement :) :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug:
DarkFenomena Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2010
nice, I made a 'Free hug' bord 2 on my DA
myedarling Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2010
soundtrackofsorrows Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2009
I love the emotion in this. (:
lina92 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2009
i saw the video and what had been a bad day for me,turned into a smile!
ObscureThought Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009
cute but what video are ya'll talking about!?
IxlHelenaIxl Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2009
I always do the Free Hug campaign at the mall, at school dances, and at the beach. people seem alot happier after the hugs :)
one person actually came up to me crying and they stopped after the hug and said "thank you"
jayxxbe Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer

your lovely work has been featured here: [link]

I hope you enjoy it :heart:
(fave if you wish!)
kiki-in-wonderland Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
this picture is so beautiful, listen to the song by sick puppies composed for it.. so beautiful!
Coronadofwb Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What a wonderfully touching photo (:
xXchocolat Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2009
LipsOfRain Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2009
Inspirational :) NyaCat is so right- it really does take a kind heart. Massive supporter, and such a lovely photo!
Jessoso Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2009
This is amazing- I plan on making a shirt that says "Free hugs" and a sign- because i think its just great! this photo is beautiful, great lighting and beautiful capture of the emotion with the sign
MelloCaramellDancer Featured By Owner May 6, 2009
ooooh D: i wanna hug!
hamsterpaj Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2009
Spreading the message on another swedish metal forum ( with a link to this picture and to the original movie. Hope it's ok :)
wanderinginthestars Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I saw this video with the Sick Puppies song a long time ago. What this man is doing is so amazing. Such a great shot, too! :D
hightinybrainz Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009
awww i LOVe thiis
it makes me smile
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