Selfie obsession

Figure 1 - Ellen Degeneres' "Oscar Selfie" and award winning tweet. Credit Ellen Degeneres Twitter.

Figure 1 – Ellen Degeneres’ “Oscar Selfie” and award winning tweet. Credit Ellen Degeneres Twitter.

Oh arg!  Sunday night was the Oscars, only the latest in the entertainment industry giving itself awards – seems at the very least weekly.  Sorry but this is the ultimate in self possesion, and yes, I am probably alienating a lot of people by saying so. Vote with your feet people!  This follows hard upon actor Seth Rogen’s outrage that a Senate Committee failed to show up for his testimony about Alzheimer’s disease.  Yes Alzheimer’s disease is truly terrible.  Yes we need more research into Alzheimer’s disease to find a cure.  Yes the United States congress is composed of a bunch of slackers.  But Rogen was giving personal not expert opinion.  Self-impressed a little?  I would be more concerned if Senators failed to show up to hear testimony from someone like Richard J. Rhodes, MD, who is the Director of the National Institute on Aging.  Another example, Martin Sheen is a political activist.  That’s fine as long as you recognize that you played the President of the United States on a television series, you never were really the president of the United States, Mr. Sheen.

I’m sorry, it’s just that I feel that there are more important people in this world. But clearly, I am in the minority as judged by the fact that Ellen Degeneres, the host of Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, set a retweeting record with her star-studded selfie of Figure 1.  She received 2.7 million retweets and 1.4 million favorites.  Twitter in fact was briefly knocked off line when it received 700,000 retweets and 200,000 likes in 30 miniutes.  This eclipsed President Obama’s previous record with his tweet after winning the last presidential election.  That tweet, the so-called “Four More Years” tweet, featured an image of the president hugging First Lady Michelle Obama, and has been retweeted more than 780,000 times and favorite 295,000 times in about 15 months. Chicken feed! Degeneres’ photograph was taken selfie style by actor Bradley Cooper and included fellow nominees Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jennifer Lawrence.

What does all this mean? I think that it may mean that we are shallow and superficial.  More to the point it serves as an amazing demonstration of just how rapidly images can spread around the world.  Even I am contributing to the spread of this image.  We now know the full implication of the term “its spread was viral over social media.”

This entry was posted in Essays on Photography.


  1. Eleanor Goud March 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    You have a point!

  2. David Wolf March 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Thanks, Eleanor! And I was expecting all negative comments.

  3. Marilyn Fuss March 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    This most recent Oscar host panders to what you complain of even more than most. It’s the first Oscars I’ve watched more than a half-hour of in years. Seth Mc Farland was too wicked last year, and Ellen D. is too sycophantic. They need someone with more grace and maturity, and you’re right–there are too many ceremonies. Amazingly clear picture, though, and brave of the ones in front to be distorted. I’d have bolted.

    • Paul Rubinstein March 6, 2014 at 4:42 am #

      I think the retweeters should find something more interesting and productive to do with their time. But the photo itself is a pretty good image of a group of remarkably talented people enjoying a rare moment of happy spontaneity in an otherwise dreary program. BTW, the Golden Globes was far more entertaining.

  4. David Wolf March 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Grace and maturity! Where are the Gregory Pecks of this world?