The ‘Selfie’ Obsession: A Chronic, Narcissistic Mental Disorder
21st Century Wire asks…
[Dec 13, 2014]
Does this picture make you uncomfortable?
Well, it should. As a member of the voting public, it should make you feel more than awkward seeing your top two chief executives engrossed in one of the most banal contemporary pastimes ever – taking a ‘Selfie’ [noun. a picture taken of a person, by that person].
One also must consider the very real possibility that these two men might be suffering from one of many mental conditions, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder, that are afflicting millions of smart phone users worldwide…
Everyone is taking selfies now. Should we really be worried about this trend, or is it just a case of people being empowered on a microblogging platform like Twitter, or Instagram? Writer Donna Highfill explains, “I have run into at least 10 people recently who have stopped on fast-moving, heavily-populated sidewalks to take a #selfie. There is no historical building behind them, no beautiful landscape, no real reason to take a picture of themselves other than the fact that they can reverse the camera on the phone, gaze at their own visage, and then share it on social media so the rest of the world can gaze upon it as well.”
“If smartphones were ponds, a large portion of our population would have already drowned.”
No one is immune. Even celebrities who you’d think are already getting enough face time are still drawn to the cheap narcissistic released provided by the selfie.
Yesterday, the digital oligarchs at Twitter declared 2014 as the ‘Year of the Selfie‘. According to executives there, the most popular, the most retweeted, ‘tweet’ of the year was by comedian Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscar awards last March – with her celebrity ‘friends’, including Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. Her Tweet was ‘favorited’ over 2 million times and retweeted 3.3 million times.
ICON & SAD: There’s something uncomfortable about watching celebrities grovel for a Tweet (Image Source: First Post)
It later turned out that DeGeneres’s spontaneous selfie was just another corporate money-making scam, as was confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. Samsung executives even had to teach Degeneres how to use the Galaxy Note 3 device before the Oscars.
No occasion is sacred either, including somber events like funerals (see photo of Obama, Cameron and Danish PM further down article). Obama’s funeral gaffe went on to inspire other more macabre copycat selfies…
(Image Source: Manila Speak)
From a pop psychology perspective, the textbook definition of narcissism is fairly harmless, described as, “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.” From a psychoanalysis point of view, it’s much more critical: “self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.”
Experts are now finding through new clinical studies, that this existing narcissistic mental disorder is now being further exacerbated by the introduction of hand-held technology and the ability to upload an image to a ready-made crowd of voyeurs in a matter of seconds.
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