The Demise of the Museum: The Selfie Stick

Selfie stick tourists in Paris - courtesy of Japan Times

Selfie stick tourists in Paris – courtesy of Japan Times

I went to the Louvre on Wednesday to take enjoy some culture and history and encountered that rather new and annoying trend: the selfie stick. Everywhere you looked people were waving these massive sticks about oblivious of anyone around them. I will preface this post by saying I hate these things. Selfies without the stick are bad enough but these new devices that act like an arm extension are my absolute bane. They are ruining the museum experience. In fact, they’re ruining most site seeing, period.

First of all, let me start by saying if you’re using a selfie stick, you’re no longer really taking a “selfie”. You’re taking a portrait picture as you would if you asked some person passing by to shoot it for you. The whole point of the selfie is imperfection. It only reaches as far as your arm extends, it’s uncomfortable and the camera angles are usually off. That’s what makes them fun and impromptu. When you use a selfie stick, you’re cheating. Sorry to break it to you, but you are. You’re rigging every picture to be perfect and that means you’re no longer taking a selfie; it’s just a regular picture.

Secondly, safety. Safety you say? Really?! YES. Really. To the clueless “gentleman” who nearly clocked me with his selfie stick in the Italian painting section, thank you, I don’t need my eye. I came to France so I could be blinded by a narcissistic tourist brandishing the stick like a sword, not caring who they hit just to get that perfect shot in front of the Mona Lisa. Good for you. Unfortunately, this is what goes hand in hand with these devices: Rudeness. The people buying these things walk around with them like some status symbol, blindly pushing others out of the way, and swinging them wildly about without any notice. I was pushed aside by another selfie stick user while I was admiring a painting by Delacroix. This time, I’d had enough and actually said something to the self centred jerk and his vapid girlfriend. They were completely unaware that they had butt in to try and grab a selfie. This behaviour really began to wear on me and ruin my experience.

 

Whatever happened to coming to the museum to see the art and objects, take a few pictures quietly, and move about politely? I guess those days are gone. What I saw on Wednesday was appalling; people shoving other people out of the way to take a “selfie”, yet not even bothering to look at what the piece was in front of them. They don’t care, it’s not about learning anything or admiring history. The thought was plain, it was, “Hey! This would look cool/funny/clever of us having a selfie in front of this painting! I can’t wait to post this selfie on Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram and show all my friends!”  There was no thought given to: “Hey! There are people around you trying to enjoy the art as well! Hey! how about you learn something while you’re here! Hey! this isn’t about you! “

Finally, in many instances, I observed these people didn’t even turn around, it was snap, and on to the next selfie. Are you here to learn about history or are you using the Louvre as an extension of your bathroom? If your intent is the latter, then please, save us all the headache, and yourself the €12 and stay home. There are those of us who want to actually visit the museum and not be part of your self absorbed ritual of capturing yourself in front of paintings you care nothing about just to give yourself a soapbox that extends outside your bathroom.

Let’s take a selfie!…no…let’s not.

Follow me on Twitter: @mediaevalgirl

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