Now I’m of an age when the phrase “taking a selfie” required barricading yourself in your bedroom for ten minutes, with a certain type of magazine and a roll of toilet tissue. You can imagine my confusion when a few years ago I started to hear that people were “taking selfies” in public, with their friends and family. I don’t keep up with a lot of what happens in society, but this seemed to me to represent a very liberal shift in how society viewed “taking a selfie”. My misunderstanding of the paradigm shift that the term “taking a selfie” had taken became apparent to me when my wife and her parents and I visited a temple, we laugh about it now and explain it away as cultural differences, luckily my wife is from Thailand. Whilst I realize now that my faux pas was the result of a misunderstanding any of us could have made, there have been a couple of instances recently of people “taking a selfie” at times, in places, where it has been considered inappropriate to do so. After doing some wildly incoherent searching on the net I found what I felt to be the best of the best, or the worst of the worst, depending on how you wish to look at it. These will leave you asking “just where does our society go from here?” These people’s actions actually make me feel better about my indiscretion in the temple.
I remember when photographs used to be arranged and posed for. A family photo could literally be an afternoon’s work and until you got the film processed you still had no idea whose eyes were shut, or who wore the expression of having just broken wind. This charm has been removed from photographs, today a mindless idiot (usually with an iPhone) corrals people together, sometimes their friends but also innocent bystanders, in something resembling order and mindlessly keeps pressing a button until they’re satisfied. Yes a chimpanzee could do this, only unlike us the chimpanzee would quickly become bored by it.
Photographs of old were often framed and put upon shelves in living rooms, lounges and dining rooms. From up there the photograph would look down upon their subjects as the passage of time made them balder, grayer, fatter or dead. Old photographs are things passed down from grandparents, a shoe box of memories that encapsulates a generation. A historical reference giving us an insight as to where we came from. Compare that with the photos of today, taken on a phone, posted to Facebook, ‘Liked’ maybe commented on and forgotten in a couple of hours. When this generation begin to shuffle off their mortal coil the best they will leave their grandchildren will be their password for Facebook.
This brings me onto my real peeve. ‘The selfie’ not since masturbation has there been such a popular past time. When I was growing up if I said to my mum “just going upstairs to take a selfie” what thoughts do you think she’d be left with. It even sounds like your WANKING. It’s so self indulgent it’s like wanking in front of a mirror.
It’s futile to stand in the way of progress and I know the majority of people love this cyberspace, virtual world, social networking, porn infused internet. But I remember when couples carried pictures of one another in their wallets. I keep a picture of my wallet In my wallet, just so if I get hit by a bus those who scrape me off the road will have the opportunity to really appreciate some irony.