Well, that was quick. The internet outrage pendulum swung back almost instantaneously on the whole Selfies at Funerals thing, so it’s hard to know where to stand anymore. Should we pretend to be mortified or pretend to go with the flow? And which one will get us more attention on social media?
Proving that there’s no #hottake that can’t instantly be turned on its head, the conventional wisdom switched from the likes of Gawker and The Atlantic playing the “Look At These Assholes” game that makes up so much of contemporary internet discourse, to On the Media and Salon quickly scrambling to snatch up a piece of that good contrarian paper.
So which is it? Is taking a selfie at a funeral vulgar and a symbol of Everything That’s Wrong With the World Today or merely a natural extension of the grieving process and an example of cultural mores not catching up with technological advances? Trick question: it’s a little bit of both, which, sadly, doesn’t make for an attention-grabbing headline.
We filter so much of what we do through our phones now that taking a selfie at a funeral can simply be seen as processing the box we end up inside after death through the box in which we do most of our living. But on the other hand, everyone is a vainglorious attention-starved cretin now so it’s fair to hold hope that some spaces will still remain off limits for branding opportunities. Selfies At Funerals for all. (Boooooo.) Very well, no Selfies At Funerals for anyone. (Booooo.) Very well, Selfies At Funerals for some, Internet outrage for all. (Yaaaay!)
Much like everything else we talk about now, this isn’t an actual societal problem — it’s a strawman ginned up to get us to look at a webpage. Which isn’t to complete absolve any of these kids from their shallow vanity, because I’m sure many of them are very oblivious morons (teenagers, in other words). But until this becomes an epidemic, there’s nothing to see here. It’s just a fleeting wind that passes and is soon forgotten. Like the lives of your grandparents, for example.
That said, it could be a lot worse. At least we’re not talking about Sexting at Funerals. Not yet anyway. Until then, or until the deceased start taking selfies, I’m going back inside my box.