Quote from Laura, to set the tone for the evening: “The quality of your blog just got a whole shit-lot better.”
How to take the ultimate selfie!! By Laura.
To pout or not to pout?? IT AIN’T A QUESTION!! POUT like you’ve never pouted before.
I would just like to add (though I am certainly not the biggest fan of The Selfie and have never successfully selfie-fied myself), I am a bit over the constant stream of Selfie-attacks in the media. They would have you believe that narcissism was invented by Generation Y and, as stated by practically every generation ever, that the world is going to the dogs and we are all more or less doomed, etc. etc.
Well, I think it’s worth pointing out that Selfie-ism was certainly around in the 16th Century. Here’s a painting by Parmigianino, done in the early 1500s:
And then in 1984, well before the invention of the dreaded smart-phone camera or Instagram, we have John Ashbery’s poem Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, a rumination on Parmigianino’s painting. Here we’re really getting into Selfie-Inception territory. The original painter, his reflection in his convex mirror, the painting of his reflection, the poem of the painting of his reflection, our reading of the poem of the painting of his reflection… (This blog post about our reading of the poem of the painting of his reflection…)
[Laura here. THIS IS NOT THE POST I AGREED TO!!!!!]
And even in 1984, Ashbery begins his poem with a definition of the quintessential selfie: “the right hand / Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer…”
While not being 100% prescient (there are no references to Duck Face within his poem, for example), Ashbery certainly nailed the nature of human self-reflectivity.
- “The glass chose to reflect only what he saw
Which was enough for his purpose: his image
Glazed, embalmed, projected at a 180-degree angle.”
- “… The soul establishes itself.
But how far can it swim out through the eyes
And still return safely to its nest?”
- “And just as there are no words for the surface, that is,
No words to say what it really is, that it is not
Superficial but a visible core, then there is
No way out of the problem of pathos vs. experience.
You will stay on, restive, serene in
Your gesture which is neither embrace nor warning
But which holds something of both in pure
Affirmation that doesn’t affirm anything.”
John Ashbery was one of my favourite post-modernist writers that I studied at uni, and everyone should read the poem in its beautiful entirety – it can be found here.