What Bothers Me Today: The Selfie

Keep Calm and Hate SelfiesI more or less deliberately live in the world of the millennial.  I am not entirely sure why because almost everything about them drives me absolutely up the bloody wall.  At least the gay versions are self-entitled, rude, lack common decency and respect for their elders and their own contemporaries.  For the most part, this is a generation of “life in the bubble” people who have a second bubble around them that completely insulates them from acting with decency or uprightness.

However, I can’t stand one thing above all the rest.  The incessant need to take constant photos of themselves (known as the selfie) and shove it down everyone’s throats on average 23,450 times every day is completely unforgivable.  Back in my day (when film and cameras still existed), photos were expensive and time-intensive and so were really only taken to commemorate some event or activity that we thought was important – such as a family vacation or the birth of a child or our 21st birthdays.  Now, even people I love to look at show me that they’ve got no need to have any reason to keep flashing themselves online.  It seems to never occur to them that they look exactly the same in the most recent photo as the one they took 4 minutes ago, and the one a minute before that, and the one 30 seconds before that and the Instagram video they uploaded 7 seconds before that.

I read in Time several months ago about the millennial phenomenon and that it isn’t selfishness at all but the way to keep relevant in a world of gnat-length attention spans.  It is all about managing their individual brands.  I’m not sure I buy into that argument though since it comes at the price of denying of the social contract and the social connections – the REAL social connections (you know, where you have to go outside and interact with the people and world around you) – that makes us human.  It seems to me that an entire generation has decided they want to be what we used to make fun of in new and awful ways – the Mountain Dew swilling World of Warcrafter that lives in their parent’s basement and doesn’t emerge into real life except to go to the beach and take more selfies.

In short, those truly special moments that photos used to capture are completely lost in the deluge of pointlessness and self-aggrandizement.  I have this notion that that wonderful feeling you get when you come across an old photo in a box of that special trip to Disneyland as a kid is now gone because we have thousands – no, millions – of photos of ourselves doing everything and nothing and I’m not sure we will even remember who and what is going on in 99% of them even a week from now.  I love history and I’m all for the recording of it for posterity, but come on, enough is enough.

So before you step out of bed this morning and head to the mirror with your phone, think twice before snapping that first selfie of the 12 you’ll take this hour and ponder, “what is this photo actually saying about me?  Will I even give a fuck myself about it in 10 minutes?”  Some of you have figured it out and scaled back your thumb-exercises upon your phone’s camera shutter release button to 2 or 3 times a day.  For us crotchety old men, that’s enough to keep interest piqued and keeps us people who really grew up in the 80’s (NO you don’t count if you were BORN in the 80’s) from hating you and THE MAN which is our right as Generation X’ers.

Oh shit, I’ve missed taking 23 selfies in the time it took to type this.  Fuck fuck fuck, where’s a mirror?


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