In the near term, 2013 is likely to be remembered as the year of the US federal government shutdown, the civil war in Syria, the bankruptcy of the City of Detroit, the federal healthcare website, the hurricane that devastated the Philippines, the election of Mayor DiBlasio, the Boston Red Sox (boo!), season three of “Homeland” and the 193rd “Hunger Games” movie. But people who care about the future of our civilization will surely remember it as the “Year of the Selfie: A Year in Vanity.”
It was the year when our family embarked on the most courageous artistic endeavor in the history of Internet art: to photograph ourselves each day in our defining moments and post our selfies on our very own blog. This triumph of shameless self-promotion was made all the more noble by the fact that our adoring public consisted of few people other than ourselves.
What did we learn from this exercise? Yes, we had a daily glimpse of one another across differing time zones, geographies, climates and mood swings. Yes, we had celebrity guest selfies and captured such momentous events as eating dessert. But was that all? Did no one in the world take note of our journey? Is it mere coincidence that the Oxford English Dictionary chose this year to officially recognize “selfie” as a legitimate word, or that President Obama took a selfie in full view of the world at an event no less august than the funeral of Nelson Mandela?
Genuine vanity precludes genuine introspection, and as Hollywood and reality TV so often demonstrate, the fact that a life is unexamined does not necessarily mean that it must go unphotographed. If our year in vanity truly is to live up to its name, let no one attempt to find purpose in our motives or meaning in our accomplishments. Instead let’s embrace the new year, whatever it may bring, with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our iPhones.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014: the year of the _____ ???