I was accused of having a rant against ‘young people’ yesterday which I denied at the time but which was probably true. The subject triggering the rant was how ‘those young people these days’ photograph their food before they eat it, a subtype of selfie which (I’m told by a young person, therefore it must be true) is changing the face of cafe-culture as we speak. Putting aside the obvious explanations (body dysmorphic disorder, narcissism, etc) there’s something wrong about this self-consciousness, I can feel it in me water! So, in an effort to connect with the youth of today, here’s my review of how young people see themselves and, more importantly, how they want to be seen.
This is where it all began, a photograph by you of you and perhaps your beloved of the moment, posing somewhere picturesque, capturing a moment worth capturing for reasons known only to yourself at the time and, let’s be honest, probably forgotten soon afterwards due to the amount of alcohol and/or MDMA consumed immediately prior to the selfie. Her: “Is that from Cap d’Adge?” Him: “No baby, see, we still had our clothes on.” Fairly benign in the grand scheme of things, it rates a lowly 1 on the Kardashian Scale.
Perhaps the second most-common of all modern selfies, involving some at-times tricksy camera angles to squeeze as much booty into the FOV (field of view) as possible, this selfie subtype is responsible for development of the sold-out ‘belfie stick’, available here. Photos in this category are a 2 on the Kardashian Scale, unless they involve a g-string (KS=3). Belfies by really old people have been banned entirely from the internet, which is saying something.
Another fairly benign subtype, despite the title this has nothing to do with the car being driven, being purely about how good the subject thinks they look in a car. This surely prompts the question, so why no #tractorselfies or #golfcartselfies? I am perplexed. Anyway, another 2 on the Kardashian Scale, unless it involves monster cleavage of the female variety, awesome he-man pectorals don’t count because I say so, because I am a dude.
For those days when you’re looking so purdy the world needs to know, the Outfit of the Day selfie can function as a fashionista’s visual diary of their development as a style-counsel, or a clueless person’s reminder of what shoes should be worn with what pants,et cetera. Regardless, there’s a lot of this about (KS=2) and mostly it seems pretty harmless. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, but surely as with all things there is some type of Universal Constant we can rely upon. Some baseline, lowest common denominator that all of humanity can agree upon? Don’t tell me Plato was wrong! But what else can explain this, then …?
What began it all for me, the art of photographing food you’re barely going to eat. They tell me the Strawberry Watermelon Cake is the most pinned cake in the world right now. But is it the most eaten cake in the world? No, I doubt it. Why, because all the beardy little hipsters are watching their waistlines, aren’t they. JUST EAT THE FUC*ING THING!! I’m tempted to give this a Kardashian Scale 4 because it annoys me, but it is probs a 3. No people in this selfie, just because the cake looks so good on its own it would be wrong to have some fat bloke shovelling it into his gaping maw.
Now we’re getting serious. Pics of attractive women caught sucking something unpleasant through an invisible straw, these selfies are now regarded with a shudder. Like shoulder pads, trout pouts are now totally passe. Models have always pouted, hunger and pain will do that to your face, but Instagram doesn’t make you a model, ladies, so unless you have actually been stung by a bee, give it a rest. KS=3 because we’re bored.
The phenomenon that replaced the duck face is the fish gape, and it is the look of the moment. Apparently more photogenic than the duck face, I’m not sure if it’s supposed to resemble the panicked expression of a bass you’ve hooked with your Rapala Hula popper out from under a submerged log, or if the idea is to emulate someone so emaciated that their lips can no longer cover their teeth, a la Keira Knightley. This warrants a KS=4 because you want to send them food. (NOTE: Keira would have taken the selfe in the photo, but she was too weak to hold up her arm).
For a selfie-hater, this is admittedly one of my favourites. I give it a KS rating of 4 unless it involves involuntary nudity and/or somebody lying in their own vomit. While it’s difficult to take a selfie when really drunk, this phenomenon (which begins innocently enough: “me having a GREAT night out!“) often becomes a photo montage of terror. Useful in a coronial setting, I actually encourage a photo-log of self-destructive behaviours because it makes the job easier for cops to work out tricky legal concepts like ‘consent’, stuff like that.
It’s not enough that they spend hours posing and preening infront of mirrors, the next step, obviously, is to put those gym selfies out into the world, because according to gym-goers the world neatly divides into those who be ‘mirin, or those who be jelly. It has something to do with all the supplements they take, makes the distance between synapses a little wider or something. Anyway, if we’re looking at a dude who’s proud because his moobs have shrunk from a d-cup to a c, we’re at KS=4 for grossness, if we’re ‘mirin a genuinely athletic body, maybe KS=3.
This is a hilarious subtype full of gangsta wannabes and Justin Bieber trying to erase all memory of the skinny wimp he was, oh, 18 months ago. Fat white kids with no idea. Mouthy black rap artists with no idea. Actual criminals holding real firearms and posing with the proceeds of their crimes, and no idea. I love it. Keep it coming fellas, you be famous soon, you better belieber it! This is KS=4 with or without a bullet!
The traditional warning ‘never act with children or animals’ applies here, because invariably the animal, in this case a selfie with your dog, steals the show or photobombs your efforts to look cool. Not that dog-owners can look cool, they usually wind up looking stupid. If you want to look cool, you need to be a cat owner. Just sayin’. Most amusing for people like me (ie intelligent cat-owner) is where the delfie proves the theory that (a) dog owners choose pets that look like them, or (b) come to resemble their pets over time. KS=3 depending on the breed of dog.
No prizes for guessing what this subtype involves: yes, an introverts nightmare, the group selfie. It’s not usually difficult picking the introvert out of the photo, if our uncanny, nay, superhuman skill at avoiding photography has failed. My rationale for wanting to avoid providing photographic evidence of my existence is that it gives the assassins less material to work with. But if push comes to shove, we can always make sure the photo is so fuc*ed up that nobody is going to want to view it. KS = 4 depending on how photobombed it is.
Literally, hair + selfie = helfies. Once again, if we are going to be pinning pictures of the dead weed adorning the tops of our heads, why the hell not #toenailselfie or #backhairselfie? It seems perplexing to me, but then again I am a dude in his late 40’s so hair is of but fleeting interest to me anymore. And in my experience there’s nothing women bitch about more than their hair. For about 15 minutes a day they’re happy with it, then they step out of the bathroom and apparently the bad-hair-spirits take control and their day turns to utter shit. KS = 3 unless the hair is attached to something extraordinary.
This is one of my most detested subtypes, where beautiful women remove some of their make-up in an effort to pretend they’re real people too, sometimes adding #ugly to the photo. Egocentric to the extreme, what they actually want is a flood of comments like “oh my god you’re still beautiful” etc. Which of course they won’t get from me, because I can see the ugliness in their souls. I’m deep like that, and nasty.
Welfies are apparently pictures taken by rich dickheads bragging about their good fortune, OR, the term refers to a secret cult of destitute people on Pinterest who own iPhones and want to share their misery. I’m pretty sure the latter would be more interesting, but it’s the case that comfortably middle-class white people take most of the photos we see of poor people and make it palatable to the rest of society by calling it art. When the poor rise and chase the rich through the streets, I hope they remember to take some selfies! KS=5 because people flashing money is uber-crass.
Quirky, these are selfies for people who actually read books, hence they are among the rarest of all selfies. They appeal to my conceit, because I’ve spent more on books that there are cubic centimetres of collagen in all of the female Kardashians combined. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to go round them up and melt them all down. Yes, even the one that’s pretending to be a female. You’ll agree, that makes for one big motherfuc*ing wall of books. Because this subtype is such innocent stuff, it’s back to KS=1 for the shelfies.
Sure, there’s an element of postmodernist wankery here, but smart people are allowed to have fun too. What is the point of the world being so over-populated by stupid people if the small percentage of non-stupid people can’t make fun of them. Look at them, the dummies, splashing around contentedly at the shallow end of the gene pool, aren’t they cute? Anyway, as the name implies, metaselfies are the ones that require some constructive thinking; throw in an element of playful mockery and these are as good as selfies can get. Harmless, another KS=1.
Oh god. I have to apologise in advance. These are KS=7 or more. It’s difficult culling the NSFW from the rest because of the sheer volume of desperately unappealing ladies out there flogging their wares. They have no shame, but, I suppose, to their credit they’ve gone beyond youthful self-consciousness to a new state of mature adult brazenness. I guess that’s a good thing. Not sure what messages we’re passing on to the kids, though. I guess everybody wants to remain attractive, even after you’ve punched out a couple of offspring. I guess for me there’s just the added issue of one more set of eyes watching every move you make.
This isn’t a category you’ll find anywhere else, because I just made it up. When I say this is the last subtype, I don’t mean that there are no more, just that I can’t bear to look at them any longer. Reserving the worst for last, these are absolutely repellent to me. Now, I could just cheat and post the Queen of Me herself here, I’d only have a hundred-million Kardashian selfies to choose from, but I can go deeper than that. These are people I would garrotte if it wasn’t illegal. KS 7+ for pure inanity. Kill them all with fire. We have enough of these oxygen-thieves. ’nuff said.