Down With This Sort Of Thing – Father Ted
I don’t even know where to start. The past few days, I’ve had it as bad as Angelina Jolie, perhaps one of the last, obsessively photographed people who did so without her own accord. I like to look at things. That’s the whole point of going out. To look at things, to be among people, to eat, to drink, to be merry. Not to be constantly looked at, to become unasked-for photobombers. I have absolutely no f***ing interest in bombing your photos, just by being in a public place I have every right to be in a democratic country. I don’t even know you.
I can’t even begin to describe how much I don’t care about people having a monstrosity of something called a phone, which gets used as anything except that, at the end of their extended arm, as they smile all day long like idiots, anywhere and everywhere. Just, keep me out of it, even if I happen to know you personally. Even if you’re part of a new religion, which I hereby christen Selfiesm, where anyone with any old camera can participate. After all, grainy, blurred, ill-proportioned, #KeepingItReal is the anarchic aesthetic of Selfiesm and the sole ritual/philosophy of it. Keep it to yourself. I have no interest in inundating the world with a billion bad pictures of me.
I won’t even bother to look into the psychology of it all. I’d rather spend my time staring into space, an infinitely more pleasurable and productive activity. I will extract a paragraph I wrote a year ago in an essay called Of Humblebragging instead:
Though selfies are a sign of narcissism, narcissism itself has little to do with self-love. This equation is the subject for another post, but I would argue that if a person really had self-love, they would not need a hundred pictures of themselves to prove it. With self-love, you know how you look and you don’t judge. You don’t mind others taking a picture of you to preserve a moment in time, which is really what people did before social networking. Narcissism is far from self-love. It is an attempt to validate love for oneself from external approval. We could be narcissists even if we didn’t take pictures of ourselves. Narcissism is simply an act of continued effort towards a positive reception of ourselves. We’re all guilty of it to some extent. I am way more self-absorbed than is good for me. And I am so because I am not too happy with the way I am. However, I draw the line when I see that the changes available to me are too extreme and are unlikely to produce the desired result, happiness.
I have recently changed my gravatar to my mug, i.e. my face. It was already available on my ‘About’ page. I refrained from using it as my avatar because I didn’t want my gender or background to affect how I am perceived as a blogger. However, people do, and always have, formed pre-conceived notions based on both. At the same time, I am about to publish a book based on this blog, using my own name and identity, and therefore, it was a no-brainer to include some of my real self and not just my blogging self into the equation. I am not very camera-happy and had no option but to do the deed myself. However, I am still not converted. And, Selfiesm will always have my dissent.
After that rather sanctimonious paragraph, let’s go back to the larger social phenomenon here. I recently read an article on the number of deaths occuring due to taking selfies. It is a frightening number, and I feel it is time to reinforce and revise rules for ‘Photography Prohibition’. Apart from health and safety issues, my only question and worry is, if people are clicking pictures all the time (of themselves and everything else on this planet and beyond), when do they get the time to see them? I certainly don’t have the patience to sit through hundred of uploads by hundreds of people on Facebook and Instagram. And I don’t even take pictures, or do anything else that is as time-consuming. Do they ever really see the pictures they’ve taken/are in/taken by others?
What are your thoughts on selfiesm?