Even celebrities are getting worried about technology and social media now. In a recent interview, Emma Watson explained, “It’s a minefield! Technology is moving so fast right now.” The Beauty and the Beast star added, “Everyone is scrambling around trying to understand what it means to have an avatar, how to live our lives on the Internet, what it means for privacy…. “
And now at least one star has decided to do something about it. Chris Pratt announced this week that he is no longer going to let fans take selfies with him. Perhaps this sounds obnoxious. Why won’t the star of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 indulge his minions? Amy Schumer started worrying about fan selfies last year after one man became a little too aggressive with her, putting his camera in her face after she asked him to back off.
But Pratt’s reasoning was entirely different. He told Cigar Aficionado that taking selfies is “not about enjoying the moment; it’s about stealing the moment to brag about later.”
This is exactly the right way to describe our cultural fetish for taking pictures of everything and posting it all on social media. From parents who forget to enjoy their kids’ time at the playground because they’re too busy taking pictures to people who can’t enjoy a concert unless they’re recording it to post later, everyone is stealing moments from themselves and from others in order to brag about them later.
What’s funny is that it seems like everyone in selfies is supposed to be yelling YOLO and living in the moment. The idea behind these pictures is to look like you are having as much fun as possible. In fact, they seem to be merely a way of collecting evidence. If you did something fun but didn’t take a picture, did it really happen?
Earlier this week, Time magazine hosted a gala to honor the 100 most influential people of the 2017. Comedian Leslie Jones was among the honorees and it looks as if she spent the entire evening posing for selfies.
An article on Time’s website noted, “You can always count on Leslie Jones to have a good time at a party—and come through for her fans with copious photo evidence of the characters she’s been hobnobbing with.” Maybe Jones simply considers these selfies part of her job—a way of remaining in the public eye and catering to her followers on social media.
But what excuse do the rest of us have? If we don’t post quite as many pictures of the kids or photos of our dinners, who is going to be disappointed? And if someone is really going to be disappointed, maybe we’ve set expectations a bit too high.
When fans ask Pratt for selfies, he explains his position: “So, I say, ‘Would you settle for a handshake?’ And then they take the picture anyway.” Thanks for trying, Chris.