I’ll admit, I’m somewhat behind the times with stuff (I got my first ever smart phone only last year…I left behind Blogger and joined the WordPress community just last year). But one fad I don’t plan on embracing is the selfie stick…and this us why.
Smart phones, I feel, have turned members of society into an even more obnoxious and narcissistic sect. Whether it’s on the street, at the movies, or in a restaurant, someone (usually more) is always on his phone instead of engaging with who or what is around him. Smart phones are also the cause behind one of the 21st century’s worst inventions…the selfie.
(The below photo was taken at Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul where I’ve been and all I can say is that
I feel extremely bad for the guard who had to put up with this obnoxious woman’s antics.)
When I used to travel alone, if I really wanted a photo of myself I simply opened up my mouth and asked. Sure, you always run the risk of asking someone who, while he may look perfectly safe and trustworthy, could still run off with your couple hundred dollar camera, and yet I never had that happen to me. Almost always, you ask someone to take your photo, then they ask you to do the same which I always happily agreed to.
While sometimes the person might take a couple of shots, it’s not because you’re trying to do as many “diva like” poses as you can, whether at this angle or that angle. I inwardly cringe when I see individuals taking selfies…multiple times. The worst was last month when in the audience of the musical Dirty Dancing and a group of middle aged women in front of us were just going at it with their smart phones. Naturally I was seated directly behind them and had to observe the half a dozen times they kept snapping away. They eventually stopped only because the lights were turned off as the show was starting.
The selfie stick is a relatively new fad and it’s exactly like it sounds-it’s a stick an individual can hold out in front of him with his camera attached that allows him to take a near perfect picture (as opposed to perhaps only capturing half your face, etc. and without the stiff arm cramp too). It’s a novel idea…novel on paper, though (just like Communism).
More and more tourists are now buying the selfie stick, which is a terrible thing indeed. Just imagine the already mobbed, jam packed Eiffel Tower, where at certain times of the day you can’t move without being pushed or bumped, now having multiple sticks obstructing your path. This same scenario could easily apply at any popular tourist venue around the world. You see, to me the selfie stick is 100% a narcissistic thing-it’s about the individual wanting to get that perfect photo of himself. What does he (and all of the other people using the selfie stick) care if he’s being inconsiderate, making it difficult for people to pass by or preventing others from taking their own photos.
The selfie stick has become controversial of late with venues around the world banning them for all of the reasons I mentioned. Some of the more well-known ones-Versailles Palace, the Colosseum in Rome, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, even the Coachella music festival. On its website is actually posted-“No Selfie Sticks/Narsisstics.” And in the last week, Walt Disney World has started cracking down more seriously on selfie sticks as (stupid) individuals were actually using them on moving rides (and no, I’m not talking about the slow moving kinds). I applaud all places that ban the selfie stick and hope more continue to do so in the coming months.
Traveling should be about the experience, not you wanting to show yourself as being there just so you can brag on any number of social media sites. I wish more travelers would remember that they’re one of millions of people visiting these special sites, that it’s not all about them. It never was. Share the planet (and space at popular tourist sites) equally.