The selfish side of selfies

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By Paul Viau | Feb 05, 2014
Photo by: Selfie RIDING HIGH — My all-time-favorite selfie captures Carol and me enjoying a crisp, fall day in Maggie Valley, riding the chairlift at Ghost Town.

First and foremost, I want to begin this column with a disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the columnist, and only the columnist —with the possible exception of those opinions whispered in the ear of the columnist by his spouse.

That being said, I’d like to vent a few hundred words about the proliferation of “selfies” in society — both those appearing all-too-frequently on social media and those all-too-often interrupting otherwise pleasant social experiences.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term “selfies” let me share the definition listed in the Urban Dictionary — Selfies are: (1) pictures taken of oneself while holding the camera at arms length, usually with a Smartphone or digital camera, (2) a self-portrait usually taken by teen girls, (3) an act carried out by girls age 12-21, involving taking photos of one’s self while posing, and (4) a photo of one’s self taken in the mirror or by a close friend.

As you might have guessed, selfies are not limited to photos of one’s face. In fact, they often feature certain other “attributes” that the selfie-photographer wishes to share or otherwise expose. And selfies are no longer limited to teenage girls.

Recently, a male member of the U.S. House of Representatives was caught posting an embarrassing selfie of his ‘male member.’ Actually, in this case, the now-ex Congressman was “sexting” and the pop culture term for his portrait will forever be known as a “wiener.”

Selfies have gotten other political figures in trouble. Take, for example, POTUS who committed a funeral faux pas, participating in a selfies with other heads of state at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

Boy, did the First Lady give POTUS a cold shoulder look-the-other-way.

Selfies often involve costumes (or lack of costumes), clever use of props or guest appearances by friends, family — and even animals.

There is no limit to what a selfie-absorbed, cell-phone wielding ‘photographer’ can include in his/her portrait session. And some of these sessions can go on for a long time.

My wife and I recently had a wonderful concert appearance ruined by four young college girls — occupying the two seats directly in front of us — who paid little attention to the concert, as they stood, repeatedly taking both individual and group selfies and pixted them to their other friends at the concert.

We couldn’t see XZ#@%!, so I asked an usher to intercede.

After a 10-minute commotion, the two young girls who weren’t supposed to be in front of us were sent packing, and the two remaining girls seethed, then texted, and finally took an over-the-shoulder selfie of me.

I leaned forward to see that she texted my photo to all her friends, outing me, “This is the A$$ hole at the concert.”

I used great restraint and didn’t say a word. The damage had already been done.

In my humble opinion, I think these young ladies took their ‘selfies’ far too seriously, and their behavior is an example of the rampant narcissism so prevalent in our younger generation. The world is their oyster, but their behavior doesn’t always turn out even remotely like a pearl.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think all ‘selfies’ are in vain. I happen to have a very nice one of my wife and I taken high above Maggie Valley on the chairlift to Ghost Town in the Sky. It is the screen shot on my iPhone, and no one was inconvenienced during the picture-taking process.

Selfies should be kept to yourself.