First of all, let me acknowledge that, with the occasional exception of posing with a grandchild, I do not like to have my picture taken. Period. I had to go to great lengths to find a photo to submit for our college reunion book; I felt badly cropping out my brother. I hoped friends would focus on the Rocky Mountains behind me, not the bags under my eyes.
I just don’t get it -- what’s the big deal about sticking your arm out and aiming at yourself? Whether one is posing with a “BFF” at O’Connell’s bar or in front of the Statue of Liberty -- get a life. The Statue of Liberty is important, not you. So you were there; do you really think you’re going to forget you were in New York? Photograph New York harbor.....or the Gateway Arch....or the Grand Canyon, but must you be two-thirds of the picture?
Facebook shows so many lovely selfies of girlfriends together, usually with their tongues sticking out or their cheeks deliberately puffed out like chipmunks. “I am here....I have friends....I am important.” Talk about an ego trip!
Maybe it’s something cultural. Years ago when I was in Japan, it was difficult to take a picture of a temple without waiting for a group of Japanese (seldom tourists) standing in front, having their picture taken by a friend. I’d wait for them to move on so I’d have an unobstructed view, but before I could get my camera ready, another group would have taken their place.
I will admit, though, that I have taken pictures of family members with mountains in the background; that’s sort of a “two-for-one” shot, family and location. That’s a little different from taking a selfie, though. In a selfie, the emphasis is on -- define the word: self! “I was here! Me, me -- it’s all about me.” That’s why you can hardly see the U.S. Capitol behind the freckles and the acne! And now with the selfie “stick” gadget, it can only get worse.
Does anyone remember “Kilroy was here”? Probably not; there are not too many of us left who remember the World War II scribblings. Maybe acquiring a collection of selfies is like making a totem of one’s life. Or maybe it’s like a dog marking his territory; he doesn’t look at the beauty of the tree -- just wants to be sure his friends know he was there.