Friday, September 15, 2017

Enough with the selfies already

Walking out after a Cirque du Soleil show the other night, I was struck by the sheer number of selfies being taken, with, or often without, the back-drop of the Grand Chapiteau.
A plurality of young people, most of them apparently of Asian heritage (which may or may not have been coincidental), were trapped in their own little bubble, completely unaware of the world around them, completely un-selfconscious or unaware of how they looked to the people around them, so caught up were they in the imperative to document the moment with yet another picture (or three) of ... themselves.
It has got to the stage where I just feel embarrassed for these people. I'm not saying that a selfie is never appropriate - hell, I have even taken a few myself, which my daughter tells me are hilariously amateurish. I just take issue with the cult of the selfie, the social obligation of it, and all the public preening that goes on around it. A recent article documenting selfies being taken on a tour of Auschwitz concentration camp is a good indication of the sorry pass we have come to, and the narcissistic, divorced-from-reality bubble that surround so many selfie addicts.
And I'm far from alone in thinking that the selfie is a fad whose time should be over. There is a multitude of articles on the subject, even within social media circles: 13 Reasons You Need To Stop Taking So Many Selfies, When you stop posting selfies, these 10 things will happen, 15 annoying selfies people should STOP takingWhy you can't stop taking selfies everyone else hates, etc, etc. (A point in passing: something else that needs to stop is articles that begin with "10 reasons why...", "12 things that...", etc.)
Maybe selfies are an innocent pastime, and I am just an old curmudgeon (quite possible). Maybe they are even empowering, as some have argued (I very much doubt it). Art? (definitely not). But I do think that, at the very least, if selfies are going to be taken, a little more thought should go into them, to prevent them from being just the knee-jerk response they so often are. I think the world probably already has a surfeit of most people's faces.

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