First there was this (I’m posting the Simpsons version ’cause it’s way funnier):


And now, to no one’s surprise, it is a full fledged meme:



No doubt, at your next staff meeting, business function, or wedding reception, you will be gathered in front of someone’s phone to assert your coolness too. If you are sensing exasperation in my voice, you are very perceptive. I’m not feeling this way because I have any general problem with selfies. In fact, I’ve taken many selfies myself, and am essentially a fan of the way I’ve seen youth (namely, my students) use them to spread joy and express intimacy with one another. I’ve believed for a long time that we spend far too much energy with our time-honoured hand wringing over elements of youth culture like this. Today, though, after seeing Kimmel and the Clintons ‘spontaneously remix’ the Ellen selfie, I am distinctly¬†#SMH. I apologize in advance for the sarcasm, but I have some questions to ask.

How do you think that Oscar selfie would have been received if a group of ‘gangsta rappers’ had snapped it?

So, the youth of today aren’t going to hell in a hand basket anymore?

How come we never see dominant cultures take something, once demonized and labelled as immature, innapropriate, and classless, and reappropriate it for their own benefit? Oh wait..

Are we basically ok with anything as long as the people doing it represent our own sensibilities?