At last. At long, long last. The selfie backlash has begun.
It was with great pleasure that I read police in the UAE are cracking down on drivers taking selfies while behind the wheel.
I mean, it goes without saying that it’s a stupid thing to do, right? Yet how many photos have you seen of people pouting their way down Sheikh Zayed Road?
Quoted in the local press, Major Abdul Rahman Khatr, director of communications at Sharjah Police, said: “Put the camera down and wait until you arrive at a safe destination. Don’t let that driving selfie or video be that last photo you ever take.”
I can imagine legions of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook devotees rolling their eyes, thinking it’s a fuss over nothing. Or worse, that they are immune to any kind of accident – either for them or anybody around them.
But accidents – often fatal – are occurring all too frequently as a result of this kind of carelessness.
Crashes and collisions are common enough in the UAE, so why tempt fate?
It’s scary enough that more than 8,000 motorists were fined for using their mobiles phones while driving in the past seven months. It’s scarier to think that some of those people will have been doing something as dumb as taking a meaningless snap of themselves.
I have to admit to a bias here. I’ve disliked selfies for a long time. And my dislike has only got stronger over time.
I think selfies fuel narcissism, self-obsession, and banality, and I have no idea why so many people want to take so many photos of themselves striking the same pose and pulling the same face time and time again.
I don’t even like the word ‘selfie’. I held my head in sorrow and grim resignation when it was announced as the Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. Has culture and language really fallen so low?
As of this year it can even be officially accepted as a word in Scrabble. Unbelievable.
But before I reach critical levels of snobbery, I should point out that even though I don’t like them, I’m never actually going to try stopping people taking selfies. I might sound self-righteous, but I’m not that much of a prig.
Unless, however, lives are at risk.
Selfies on the road have got to stop. Nobody is invincible, and it puts us all at risk. That’s why I’m glad the police are doing something.
I just think it’s incredible that they had to say anything at all.