WTF, Internet? Taking selfies where other people mourn means you’re doing it wrong

It’s incredibly easy to hate on the selfie. It’s a ridiculous, narcissistic, attention-seeking display of self-adoration and America completely loves it. An upsettingly high number of the photos we’re taking and sharing via mobile devices are – surprise – of our dumb faces.

Now the occasional selfie indulgence is to be expected: You got a new haircut or new glasses or your Snapchat artistry couldn’t go unnoticed. But we’re quickly devolving into territory where everything is selfie-worthy: The “I’m in the driver’s seat!” selfie. The “I’m eating something!” selfie. The “it’s a Tuesday and I’m at my desk!” selfie.

There’s a damn time and a damn place, people. It’s not every waking moment, or even every fairly interesting waking moment.

And it’s certainly not at memorials.

An entire genre of “I’m at the memorial of an upsetting event that occurred in world history!” was unearthed this week and here’s hoping that we as humans will be shamed enough by these images to just stop it already.

A duckface at the Vietnam Memorial and throwing it up at Pearl Harbor are not by any stretch of the imagination OK. It’s like any sense of respect we had went out the window when we were handed phones with front-facing cameras.

“Wait… what’s this camera for?”

“That one’s so you can take pictures of yourself.”

“Wait… and what’s this app?”

“That’s called Instagram. It makes pictures look cool and people comment on them.”

And then suddenly, just like that, we became oblivious little monsters who need to document our faces in front of every-damn-thing – apparently including the Holocaust Memorial and Chernobyl. Or your grandma’s funeral. With your grandma – in her casket – in the back of the photo.


Not to get all TIME on you guys, but the level of depravity here is pretty astronomical. And it’s not just the fact that we’re (apparently) taking these selfies at wildly inappropriate places – that’s naturally going to happen when the percentage of photos we’re taking are of our faces is so high.  It’s that we’re not even registering the meaning of these places or events – that’s all just the background to the main event! Those monuments and memorials and (seriously, gasp) caskets just happen to be there. Anne Frank who? This was her home? You don’t say – sorry I was busy trying to get a picture here, my face game is just really on today.

I don’t even think it’s that we’re at these incredibly important, historic places that motivates us to capture a selfie. Nope, it’s just your everyday, commonplace self-portrait. It was going to happen wherever you were, whether that was Starbucks or the Jefferson Memorial. Does it really matter?

Just go take a quick look at your Instagram profile. When you give it a once-over or glance at those changing tiles in the cover photo, do you just see yourself staring back? Does it look anything like this?

blurred selfies finalThis makes it look like you never go anywhere worth taking a picture of, that you don’t know anyone you’d want a photo of or with. What you’re essentially saying is “yes, yes my mug is more important than the Vietnam Memorial or my sister’s wedding.”

Because, I promise you, there was a meeting. We talked about it, and you just… you just need to stop.  

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