The Greatest Generation (Selfie Edition)

 

article-2606861-1D29A57400000578-315_634x632We can’t be sure which specific events or trends will define this age when we look back at America in fifty years (okay, when others look back in fifty years), but I have the sinking feeling it might just be the so-called “selfie.” This type of narcissism — be it in our hands or on a stick — is everywhere. We no longer have to ask, “Where’s Waldo?” He’s not losing himself in a crowd; he’s ahead of the crowd. It’s almost as though there’s no reality unless we’re in front of it, complete with goofy grins on our faces.

From the White House to the Grand Canyon, we are insinuating ourselves into virtually every vista, every scene, every event. Oh, I know we’ve always enjoyed placing ourselves in a picture, but there is something oddly disturbing about the way in which the selfie puts us in such a dominant position. Our iPhones now contain hundreds of photos of giant faces (usually our own) covering up something or other. One can only imagine how many photos of Mt. Rushmore feature a fifth head.

Of course, it’s possible I find this trend irritating simply because — as I get older — I find virtually every trend irritating, but I do think there is something especially telling about our insistence that we are the focal point of…well, of everything. The Age of the Selfie says something, and I’m not sure it’s something good.

But it certainly is about us.

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  1. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Wait a minute. Are you implying that I am NOT the center of the universe???

    I may need to re-think a few things.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I do think there is something especially telling about our insistence that we are the focal point of…well, of everything.

    Self-centeredness is nothing new, but it’s always been considered in a somewhat negative light. The current trend hasn’t just taken off the stigma but has jumped straight from acceptance to celebration of a condensed reality where the self is the whole of the known universe.

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    A photograph of Abraham Lincoln sold for $50,000. A photo of Obama will cost $1 and you get two Del Taco tacos with that.

    • #3
  4. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Selfies are despicable.

    PatSelfie

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    There seems to be an element of this in various charitable and political demonstrations, from the ice bucket challenge to pink ribbons to annual marches.

    • #5
  6. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    I think the selfie trend shows we less often “spy” on the world a little. It indictates a strange lack of curiosity.

    • #6
  7. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Pat Sajak: Oh, I know we’ve always enjoyed placing ourselves in a picture, but there is something oddly disturbing about the way in which the selfie puts us in such a dominant position.

    I think that’s a huge part of it.

    When my wife and I went to Istanbul a few months back, we made sure to get plenty of pictures with ourselves in them, which usually meant asking a fellow tourist for a snap and offering to do the same for them (which has always struck me as a really nice little bit of human interaction). But even in these pictures, I think — or at least I’d like to think — that the intent is capturing our presence in a place, with the emphasis on the place. Even a selfie-stick can’t get the distance necessary to get anything more than a peak at whatever’s behind you, which is — presumably — the reason you travelled.

    Also — and this might simply be a matter of prejudice that will fade — I find there’s something inherently dishonest in the way the selfie stick obscures not only its own presence, but the fact that you’re using it. It’s an incredibly conspicuous device that manages to erase the record of its presence.

    • #7
  8. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    I will get serious. I don’t see the selfie as anything more than a fad. It is a fun way for people to take pictures of themselves. Unfortunately it can be dangerous if they want that picture of the cliff behind them.

    Like all things it can be over done. What is the difference between a selfie and a personal postcard that tells people what you have done? I would say it is just technology. I agree that it is a poor photograph but that is a technical problem too.

    • #8
  9. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    If an act of selfless charity happened in the forest and nobody saw it, did it really happen? (Yes.)

    I’m not too worried. This strikes me as a passing fad, that was triggered only because it gave us something to do with the cellphone camera. After all, what else do you do with that thing?

    We now have cameras available at an instant’s notice so we can record the excitement of our lives. But that reminds me of the great story about the Beatles making the movie Magical Mystery Tour. They had a fascinating idea. They would go on a tour, and film all of the exciting things that would happen. So the camera started rolling and … nothing happened.

    I presume that the selfie will get boring pretty soon.

    • #9
  10. user_1065645 Contributor
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    Bad news Pat: This is currently being read on my phone at large Las Vegas commercial real estate convention.

    All things ‘mall related’ are filling the booths including new products that will be soon coming to your town.

    The “selfie stick” is here… You can’t escape it. Marketers have decided we all need one.

    This “trend” is only just beginning.

    • #10
  11. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Pat,

    I suggest you check the Ricochet C.O.C. I’m quite sure that it clearly states that photos that nauseating should never be posted until Jim has his third cup of coffee. Even then a warning label should have been placed first.

    I’m blind..blind..ahhhhhhh!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
  12. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    James Gawron:Pat,

    I suggest you check the Ricochet C.O.C. I’m quite sure that it clearly states that photos that nauseating should never be posted until Jim has his third cup of coffee. Even then a warning label should have been placed first.

    I’m blind..blind..ahhhhhhh!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    For future reference which photos should we not put up?

    As always,

    10

    • #12
  13. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Pat:

    You blinded James.

    I hope you’re happy.

    • #13
  14. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    10 cents:

    James Gawron:Pat,

    I suggest you check the Ricochet C.O.C. I’m quite sure that it clearly states that photos that nauseating should never be posted until Jim has his third cup of coffee. Even then a warning label should have been placed first.

    I’m blind..blind..ahhhhhhh!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    For future reference which photos should we not put up?

    As always,

    10

    This is a paradox if not a conundrum. To know you must look and be sickened beyond description. Then you know.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
  15. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    So the guy who chose a career in TV wants  to know why people think others want to see their face everyday?

    • #15
  16. Mr. Dart Inactive
    Mr. Dart
    @MrDart

    Oh, Pat didn’t choose TV. Television chose him.

    • #16
  17. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    I tweaked the image a bit.

    ObamaBidenVampire

    • #17
  18. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    David Sussman:This “trend” is only just beginning.

    In the future we all get to be movie stars.

    A new drone camera has been released that allows users to simply throw it in the air and have it follow them around.

    The drone is designed to allow people to be filmed without having someone do it for them.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/lily-drone-flying-selfie-camera-follows-you-around-as-you-ski-or-run-10250471.html

    • #18
  19. user_278007 Inactive
    user_278007
    @RichardFulmer

    Obama is very deep.

    • #19
  20. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    For the past 30 years I have been fortunate to be able to travel all over the world at least twice a year. I have encountered Japanese tourists on those travels with considerable frequency. Early on I paid attention to the camera they held. They always seemed to have a model I was not familiar with and I follow camera development and photography. When I visited Japan for the first time in 2001, I was struck with how everyone on the street had a cellphone and was texting at a rapid fire rate with their thumbs and I think that was long before I knew anyone  who was texting. In addition to the amazing technologic developments that Japan has given us they are also responsible for the horrible introduction of the selfie into modern life. I don’t know how many times I have been waiting in a line to get a picture from the perfect perspective overlooking a major architectural wonder and have to wait while the Japanese tourists take pictures of themselves in front of the architectural wonder and reconfigure each photograph for every combination and permutation of the people in their group. It can take 30 minutes. I want to tell them: You know if you take a picture of the Taj Mahal and display it in your office, people will assume you were there without you having been in the picture to prove it. So I blame the Japanese. Call me racist and xenophobic.

    • #20
  21. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Southern Pessimist,

    The group picture is a mainstay of Japanese life. After the “event” it must be taken.  Pictures of the trip with you in it is part of the after the trip ritual. It is not just the trip but giving the souvenir and showing the photos. Making the photo album is also important.

    The evolution of the youth with tech in my area was first they got beepers which they could send text. Then as the price of cell phones went down they bought those. Since they already were quick on the input and the price of texting was a lot cheaper than cell calls they naturally did this.

    The funny thing about Japanese is that if two go on a trip they take a picture of themselves alone in a picture rather than to ask a person to take the shot for them. It looks like they went by themselves when you see the travel pictures.

    • #21
  22. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Southern Pessimist:[…] So I blame the Japanese. Call me racist and xenophobic.

    Racist!  Xenophobe!

    • #22
  23. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Songwriter:Wait a minute. Are you implying that I am NOT the center of the universe???

    I may need to re-think a few things.

    No. He’s implying that Barrack Obama is the center of the universe.

    • #23
  24. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Pilli:

    Southern Pessimist:[…] So I blame the Japanese. Call me racist and xenophobic.

    Racist! Xenophobe!

    Can’t even follow directions. This is sad.

    • #24
  25. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    “The group picture is a mainstay of Japanese life. After the “event” it must be taken.”

    You are absolutely right. When we were in Japan, teenagers would approach us as we were walking at night in big international cities to have their picture taken with American tourists. I suspect it was some kind of game for the kids but I never figured it out.

    • #25
  26. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    In Cairo or almost any other city  in the world I have visited I would worry about my wallet but if there are pickpockets or panhandlers in Japan they are well disguised.

    • #26
  27. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    ‘The funny thing about Japanese is that if two go on a trip they take a picture of themselves alone in a picture rather than to ask a person to take the shot for them. It looks like they went by themselves when you see the travel pictures.”

    That is probably true for a couple who are reluctant to invole a stranger. A group of Japanese tourists can spend what seems like eternity to compose their photographic memories.

    • #27
  28. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Just listened again to Larry Arnn talking about The American Character Part 2 (4-24-15) with Hugh Hewitt. As usual, he expertly lays out the case for George Washington’s humility, comparing and contrasting it with later presidents.

    ………………………………[paraphrasing Dr. Arnn]…………………….

    Barack Obama recently told some children, “This is going to be the greatest reading of Green Eggs and Ham you’ve ever heard!” Dr. Arnn points out that great people never say such things.

    Ronald Reagan began his first inaugural address by noting that it’s a special event for some people present, but in the life of the nation, it’s commonplace. As Dr. Arnn says, the first thing Reagan did as president was demote himself.

    Bill Clinton began his first inaugural by asserting his power to bring spring out of the dead of winter by his words and actions. Huh, pretty impressive for a mere mortal.

    People who knew George Washington well knew he was an extremely ambitious man, and that his ability to contain himself was so impressive because he had a lot to contain. But, he loved the great things (freedom and justice) so much that he longed to be the one to sacrifice the most for them.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………

    Therein lies the horror of and disappointment in the selfie president and the Age of the Selfie. A man who believes himself greater than the great things cannot lead. And we cannot be friends with each other if we don’t love the great things together.

    • #28
  29. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    JimGoneWild:

    Songwriter:Wait a minute. Are you implying that I am NOT the center of the universe???

    I may need to re-think a few things.

    No. He’s implying that Barrack Obama is the center of the universe.

    Oh. For a minute there you had me worried.

    • #29
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