From a Word to Wildness: Selfie – the Ultimate Bee in Bonnet

Have you ever heard of Narcissus from Greek mythology? Here’s his story of woe in precis:

Tangled in a traumatic love story were Narcissus, the ‘beautiful’ young lad and Echo, a talkative nymph and Goddess Aphrodite’s favorite. Echo was under a curse of repeating only the last words of what people spoke, and was deeply, madly is love with Narcissus, who was unaware of her shortcoming. The latter saw her reflection in the clear waters of a pond and fell in love too. He spoke to her only to hear his own last words being repeated in return. Depressed, Narcissus chose to sit by the reflection and slowly embrace death.

In one way, there’s a bit of Narcissus is every one of us. Don’t we just love admiring ourselves in front of a mirror? Don’t we simply like to angle our camera phones at 45 degrees and click our own photo? At least for the sake of that perfect ‘profile pic’? Yes, everyone’s doing it. Admit!

And now there’s even a technical term to define this craze. They’re calling it the ‘selfie’ mania. Okay, this word is new and Oxford Dictionaries has accepted it. But, the concept, in fact, is aeons old.

Oh! So, there were people taking selfies before smartphones came in, huh?
Surprisingly, there were. In fact, the first light picture ever taken was actually a selfie! It was the age of daguerreotype back then when Robert Cornelius had clicked a portrait of himself. And that was more than a hundred years from now, in 1839. Old wine in new bottle, sort of.

Is it becoming more of a culture now?
Well, I’ll call it a religion, rather. With devotees from all over the world. There’s the school buddy, the at-gym, the with-my-pet, the in-my-car, (hilariously) the shirtless, the out-of-bed, the into-bed, the on-medication, the duck-face, the Richie-Rich and ridiculously, even that at-work picture of yours, cramming up entire screens. Should you really bother for a click at work? Think.

Some hate it, others love it. Some hate to take it, others love to click it. And yet others, like myself, love to discuss it and criticize it with all heart. If only Narcissus hadn’t been Narcissus, he would have had a few more years to his life span. How unfortunate. Sigh.

Ugh! Now you’re saying there are stringent rules to follow too?
Like posing in that way you call a ‘perfecto’? Self-conscious brats do it all the time. A raised eyebrow, a sinister sideways smile, a way-too-pouted pout, a doe-eyed stare, a messy hairdo to stress on how you really don’t care about what’s going on around you – you must do it, at least once in an hour each day. Get inspired by the queer, famous Justin Bieber. He’s totally into self endorsement these days.

And as if this isn’t enough, you can also try out supped-in cheeks, some painful piercing, a little tattoo that you want to show off and hide at the same time or even add some tacky, clichéd tag lines with that. Further, there are even clever options of hiding flaws by doing some great Photoshop. And if the software bugs you, do some simple color moderation. A soft sepia tone seems like a good way to go.

Now you are totally ready for that bee in bonnet to bite you. Click, click!

How selfish are you for selfies?
You must check out Kirsten Dunst’s video on YouTube dedicated to this craze. The clip says it all – about that pathetic mindset of people to make abstract connections rather than real ones, of being more bold and enthusiastic over online chat rather than in actual conversations, of poor communication skills and lastly, of a disheartening dependency upon virtual ‘likes’ on self-obsession rather than connecting to someone for more genuine a compliment, and to top it all, the unnecessary, childish and vain merrymaking for the same.

Of course, Facebook would love it, Instagram would adore it and Pinterest would assume you are their biggest contributor. But, in the end, how much of self will you keep portraying everyday? You’ll soon be fed up of it. People will soon be fed up of it. It’s a fact already sad enough that selfie-freaks actually are the loneliest people on earth with no one to click photos for them.

And someday, when you scream “Look at me” online, people may scream back at you and say, “LOL.”

A post by Chayanika Deka. 20th of November, 2014.


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