There was once a time when we took pictures of other people, but now we mainly take pictures of ourselves. Sometimes we take pictures of ourselves with other people, but usually (hopefully!) with us in the center doing something more clever than the other people – things like crossing our eyes, flaring our nostrils or sticking out our tongues – so that the other people are not much noticed. They’re called selfies for a reason.
There was also once a time when we took pictures of interesting places and historic monuments. Today we take pictures of ourselves in front of a mountain carved with the images of four long-ago presidents, and a couple of hundred snaps of ourselves in front of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Or is it the Lincoln Monument and the Washington Memorial? Who knows and who cares, right? All that really matters is that we were there and we have the selfies to prove it.
There was also once a time when we took pictures of architectural and natural wonders. Today many people consider their own bodies to be among the most amazing natural and architectural wonders of the world and, therefore, focus on taking pictures of themselves in various states of dress. But mostly undress. Then they share those selfies with others, and then others share them with others, and then, when the natural wonder-of-the-world selfies go viral, the people who took the selfies become indignant and garner massive amounts of attention and sympathy, even though they were the ones who took the selfies and shared them in the first place.
Don’t try to follow the logic. There isn’t any.
Today everyone who is famous takes selfies, which inspires people who aren’t famous to take selfies, hoping that the accomplishment of taking a selfie will somehow make them famous, too. And we question if a college education is still worth the money. Probably not. Especially not when you take good selfies.
And now, being that some people (those naturally clumsy or cursed with short arms) were previously at a disadvantage for taking selfies, we have the selfie stick, also known as the narcisstick. Simply mount your camera on the end of the selfie stick, with the remote control trigger, raise it overhead in a crowded tourist spot and watch it crash to the ground and shatter as another camera on a selfie stick whacks into yours.
Disney’s Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain rides have banned selfie sticks, as have the Kentucky Derby, the Smithsonian, Rome’s Colosseum, the Palace of Versailles, a host of museums worldwide and all of Brazil’s soccer stadiums.
Sure, it is a disappointment and a setback in the ever-evolving advancement of selfies, but who needs to go inside the Colosseum when you can take cool selfies on the outside?
Clearly, the most pressing question of our day is whether we can ever have enough pictures of ourselves, taken by ourselves, and clearly the answer is no. Never, ever, ever – not in a million, billion, trillion selfies.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.