The ever-reliable Timehop has reminded me of a post I wrote five years ago today. I have shared it again since then, but as that was in June 2018 I’m guessing that most of the active current followers won’t have seen it before, so it’s probably ripe for re-recycling. It’s one I rather liked too, so here goes, with an edited and expanded version:
Do you ever feel like getting it all off your chest? Like having a really good rant? Yes, other forms of release are available, but ranting does have its uses. I’m a fairly mild person, so my ranting is probably akin to Dennis Healey’s description of being attacked by Geoffrey Howe: like being savaged by a dead sheep. But I feel a mild rant coming on…..
You cannot fail to have noticed the trend in recent years for people taking selfies. These vary from the ‘I’m in the toilet on a night out’ type, aka bogshots, via themed crazes (see later!) to ‘I was here’ shots in front of famous landmarks. Sadly, celebrity autograph hunting seems to have been replaced by forcing said celebrities to pose with a grinning idiot. Am I out of touch, or is this just totally and utterly stupid? It was even ‘legitimised’ in 2013, as this Timehop screenshot from 2015 shows:
I’ll admit to having done this myself, in 2014 when I went to Wimbledon with one of my daughters. And they do have their uses, for example in updating the various avatars we acquire nowadays for social media. But are we taking this too far? I don’t want to sound like an old curmudgeon, though I probably am one, but I get the feeling that the human race is displaying its moron tendencies to extremes here. I was intending to admit to my own folly and share the Wimbledon selfie with you but I can’t find it. Yes, really! Count your blessings, though – as they say, I have a great face for radio! But if I was on holiday at an historical location, I’m sure the obvious thing to do is NOT to turn my back on it to take a picture of myself, like this…
You do get the bonus of two huge arses with that shot, though: hers and him.
Such had the selfie craze taken off that they brought out those little extending handles to hold your smartphone away from you to get a better shot. Twatsticks, I think they’re called. And they even started making them for tablets too. I’m still waiting to see if they’ll produce one for the iPad Pro 12.9in: someone should fill the gap in the market for a portable crane.
I’ll spare you the bogshots, but these could have been taken in there…
The best comment I’d seen on selfies in 2015 was this lovely video by Nina Nesbitt:
Cute, clever. And the song and video are good too! That song encapsulates everything I think is wrong about selfies: the addiction, the way they take over and can be distorted to project a desired lifestyle. But what do I know? I can’t see them dying out any time soon. As long as I can still find ones that make me laugh I suppose I’ll have to go with the flow!
I have a number of Instagram friends who post a lot of selfies, so I hope they’ll forgive this post. One in particular is beautiful so I have no trouble with her! And yes, if you find my own Instagram library there are some selfies in there. All taken as documents of historic record, of course (ahem). So, for my own historic record, and proving my ‘radio face’ point, this was how I signed off the original post:
The beauty of revisiting an older post is that more material has since become available. One of the wittiest songwriters, Brad Paisley, weighed in with his comments on the selfie craze on this track from his 2017 album Love And War:
I’d hoped to find a movie video for that, as his are so good, but sadly it doesn’t seem as though there is one. Fortunately, this wasn’t his first go at the internet, and there is a typical example of his creative and funny videos to go with that one. This is Online, from his 2007 album 5th Gear:
See what I mean? Apart from it being a great song, there is so much packed into that, from the sly dig at William Shatner’s singing, to the running gags throughout, guest appearances by Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch), all topped off by getting Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler to be his backing singers. As social commentary goes it’s pretty accurate, too: how many have created an online persona which bears more of a resemblance to their imagination than to reality?
One final one, also from Brad Paisley, who began mining this seam even before the two previous songs. On his 2003 album Mud On The Tires (sorry, British readers, but that is how you spell it in Simplified English) he had a go at the cult of people wanting to be celebrities, on a song called, of course, Celebrity:
Earlier appearances by Jason Alexander and William Shatner there, also featuring Little Jimmy Dickens (country singer, now sadly deceased), James Belushi (Saturday Night Live and loads more) and Trista Rehn (The Bachelorette). I think at least five ‘reality’ tv series are parodied, and the Michael Jackson bit is priceless.
This is a fertile field, yet people still want to get involved. We humans are strange creatures, really, aren’t we?