An Evolution of the Selfie in the Age of Narcissus: an Essay in Three Parts

Ideally, there would be a three-part essay here, but there’s probably not going to be. In all likelihood, there will just be some brief rambling, and a title that lies to you. I would go so far as to say that the actual mathematical likelihood approaches something like one hundred percent. I didn’t sleep much last night.

But we live in an age where people taking pictures of themselves – and sharing them with the entire Internet – has become a ubiquitous pastime. That means it’s everywhere, and everyone does it. At the same time, narcissistic personality disorder (or at least the acknowledgement/recognition of the signs of it) has been seemingly on the rise, and as someone who has been alive and fairly cognizant during the advent of these conditions, I feel that I can speak with some measure of authority when I say that both of these trends appear to have shared a common rate of increase over the past fifteen years or so.

It makes perfect sense. Give absolutely everyone a cell phone with a front-facing camera, and then have social media suddenly be a thing (this has been going on for a while now — remember that, even back in the early aughts, when there were still dinosaurs, we still had MySpace) and then have it be that this has happened within an entire culture raised for a good, solid forty years on materialism and consumerism…I mean, it’s just such a perfect storm. I see now that that last sentence was way too long. Again, please know that my brain isn’t working very well today, and then please also use this knowledge to assist in providing me with forgiveness for the way these words aren’t good.

I should probably pick this back up later, once I’ve healed. I wonder if I will.


EDIT: 3.22.17


By Ben Wolf

It's a secret!

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