The picture of Michael Phelps together with his bong surfaced in the old fashioned way: The News of the World, Rupert Murdoch's weekly scandal chronicle in London, bought it.
The picture of Miley Cyrus in her make-fun-of-Asians, slanty-eyed thing surfaced in a more modern way. It just rose up out of the ether of the Internet.
It's become something of a term of art in the news business, the pictures have surfaced. Even, pictures are surfacing, as though in some ecological mishap.
This happens because pictures are not only everywhere, but because they are published, or posted, almost contemporaneously with the picture having been created. Everybody takes them, and everybody posts them. Ubiquity achieved. Not too long ago -- like maybe a year -- adults would say to young people, do you want these pictures to show up when you're applying to college or going to a job interview? That seemed, briefly, worrisome. But that concern seems lame now. The existence of pictures -- infinite, hokey, silly, ridiculous pictures -- is so commonplace now that it has become the very opposite of questionable behavior. Rather, it is how people behave -- how well-behaved people behave.