Selfies, from charm to distress
In July and August the summer news of the Northern Hemisphere comes and goes, and with them the contingencies about tourism. I could not ignore a succession of headlines referring to selfies. Or, to be more exact, to selfies taken to the extreme of irresponsibility.
A few days ago, two tourists were arrested in Rome for fighting at the famous Fontana di Trevi. The reason? Take a selfie. There were pushes and even slaps. Previously, a 17-year-old from Madrid was electrocuted when he got on the cover of a train to get a selfie! And the third example, although there are many more, is the news from Chinese billionaire Wang Jian, who recently died trying the same on a wall in France.
Why these problems now come up, around a phenomenon that was born surrounded by charm, good energy and technological disruption? The question is pertinent, because of the meaning of human life and the rules of coexistence. However, some consider that there have always been reckless rash people, long before our phones could turn the camera.
I honestly defend selfies, because I think it brings naturalness and freshness to photography. It is true, however, that can stimulate narcissism and superficiality, especially in insecure people, who bet everything to the external image. That is a reality in the debate about the impact of new technologies!
Last year, 55% of the specialists of the American Academy of Plastic and Reconstructive Facial Surgery attended patients who simply wanted to “look better” in selfies. So crude: selfies as a reason to surgically intervene the body. I have nothing against aesthetic operations, as long as they help us —moderately— to overcome problems that we consider important in order to feel better about ourselves. Doing it to seek the “perfect” selfie, it sounds pretty frivolous.
“Vanity should be left to those who have nothing else to recommend them”, said Honoré de Balzac. The key to not succumbing to narcissism is education in values, in order to form emotionally balanced human beings, but at the same time being aware of the technological impact. Meanwhile, a lot of common sense, so as not to die trying. “Common sense moderates”, as the actress and singer Marlene Dietrich would say.