SELFIES, THE END OF MORDERN CIVILISATION


The other day my old man, Grandpa Richard, summoned me and asked to be briefed on a dim trend he had witnessed while experimenting with social media. “Don’t your comrades have any friends to take photos of them?” He quizzed.

“Let me tell you about the selfie- generation Grandpa,” I replied. “You might want to take a chair and sip some tea, because the information I’m going to reveal will discombobulate you a great deal.”

imagesI began by taking the pensioner down the memory lane to the halcyon days, when the entire village only trusted one individual to take portraits of them. The accredited photographer would visit your home with his pin-hole camera once a year, on Christmas day.

But today’s selfies are a subversive twist of the traditional understanding of photography. You’ll agree with me that the picture (excuse the pun) isn’t pretty when you consider that every Kui, Kanini, Achieng’ and Naserian insists on taking 999 shots of themselves in a single day. Not even Mugo wa Kibiru, the famed Kikuyu seer who foresaw colonialism, would have predicted such rank asininity.

For some reason, Grandpa Richard thinks that the selfie culture is a portrayal of arrogance worse than that of a typical Kenyan MP. “It is obnoxious and dangerous,” states grandpa. “Low self-esteem and hunger for popularity has driven you to this unhealthy obsession, where you post a legion of selfies in an attempt to sooth your egos with peer gratification,” the sage argues.

Grandpa is right; selfies are actually a recipe for mental disorders. When the banana that’s selfies is peeled to expose its bare flesh, nothing but vanity is revealed underneath. Taking dozens of photos of oneself and uploading them to social media in torrents for validation is nothing but the modern version of narcissism.

It is rare to find an honest selfie. This is because for every one selfie uploaded on Instagram, 86 others have obviously been deleted for not being up to snuff. And even that selfie that makes the cut is heavily filtered to produce desired complexion and enhance certain bodily features, proving that getting the perfect selfie is tougher than nailing a Kenyan land grabber. And what’s it with the duck-face pose? Don’t we have an agency that protects animals from such cruelty?

Of all the shenanigans associated with selfies, the selfie-stick takes the biscuit. According to Urban Dictionary, a selfie-stick is an elongated rod with a camera on one end and a dense moron on the other. There’s even a newer invention called the bumstick, which is used to exclusively take photos of one’s buttocks! Asinine, asinine, asinine!

However, comrades do not appear to be applying brakes to this trend any time soon.  Other than the Vodka Olympics, the only other competition my comrades engage in with nonpareil gusto is the Selfie Olympics.

Future sociologists will discuss among themselves the downfall of civilisation as we now know it. “Ilianza na kaselfie,” they’ll rue.

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Lukorito Jones

Lukorito Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.

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