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Sick of selfies

Neil King explains why he’s pleased the police are taking on selfie motorists

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.

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Posted by: nehal

selfies can be funny pics and scary pics in certain incidents and occasions and can be interesting but every second and while driving can be very dangerous and this article is very important and policemans have the right to make a fuss over it coz ur endangering yourself and others .do whatever you want but not highways, and roads, do it in safe area while not driving. you dont have to kill yourself and those around you.follow traffic instructions as it may elongate your life line.

Posted by: Firas

I want to salute you for this article .I never understood the obsession with this phenomenon which embodies the self absorbed society that we have become.I hope it is a fad that fades away with time.

Posted by: mmty

now its 3 =P
in lieu with your column, also checking facebook while driving should be punished... and even worse, you honk at them cause they are invading a lane bc of them checking their phones, and they get upset and flash you all over... sigh

Posted by: Vincent

Absolutely! For a long time I have had the same conviction. To add to the insanity that is the selfie phenomenon is the 'selfie stick'. Why? Because apparently your arms aren't long enough so you walk around with a silly stick, not to support your self or beat away intruders or wild animals. What happened to asking someone to take a picture?

Glad to know that there is at least 1 other who shares my opinion.

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