The Great Selfie-Stick Ban Of 2015 Has Commenced

from the me-me-me dept

Selfies: they're a thing now. Seriously, imagine yourself going back ten years in time and attempting to explain to a thirty-year-old professional that within a decade there would be a term in common usage for snapping off mini-monuments to narcissism with something called a smart-phone. Once that person was done trying to decipher what the hell you just said, he or she would likely dismiss it all completely and get to the business of asking how all the flying cars were working out for everyone. And that, dear friends, is exactly when you'd hit him with your selfie stick and really blow his mind.

Ah, yes, the selfie stick. It had to happen, of course, but if you don't know what a selfie stick is, it's a stick that you plant your phone on so that you can take an even better selfie. Science, is there nothing you cannot do?


If you extend it a tad further maybe the photo won't show how dead we are inside...


In the interest of full disclosure, I own one of these wonder-wands because how could I possibly not? I'm not good at much in this crazy, mixed-up world, but I am great at narcissism. So, you can imagine my extreme, self-aggrandizing displeasure to learn that the great selfie stick ban of 2015 has apparently commenced with a whole list of public venues where I can't bring my second favorite extendable twig.

The telescoping arms, meant to widen the angle, enabling selfie takers to incorporate landscapes and friends in their shots, have been deemed ‘hazardous’ at a growing number of museums, monuments and concert venues.

There is only one problem: selfie sticks take great, compelling photos. As obnoxious as the arms can be, we are going to miss these impossibly awesome shots. We are particularly aghast at the ban by art museums, whose purpose is to celebrate freedom of artistic expression.
The list of venues where the selfie stick has been banned includes, but is not limited to, the Palace of Versailles, The Smithsonian, most New York museums, the Colosseum, all the soccer stadiums of Brazil, and the Art Institute of my beloved hometown of Chicago.


Yes, we have a giant metal bean next to which homeless hungry people sleep. Chicago, folks...


Perhaps the most baffling venues on the list are the music venues, such as Wembley in the UK. The argument made for banning selfie sticks at concerts might sound good, until you think about it for two seconds.

"Selfies are a big part of the gig experience," a spokesperson for the Wembley SSE Arena told NME. "The sticks might mean you are refused entry to the venue so our advice is don’t bring them and stick with the tried and tested use of an arm."
If you actually break down this argument and test whether it's good theory or not, and for some reason I'm going to do exactly that, the whole premise becomes immediately silly. Picture yourself at a concert some rows back from the stage. Now picture the jackass in front of you who refused to pass that joint back now turns around and sticks his phone-on-a-stick into the air and takes a quick selfie. Annoying, right? But now picture him doing all those same things, except he sticks his big fat arm up instead. An arm, mind you, that is several times the width of a selfie stick and one which can probably only extend far enough to get his phone directly in your line of sight, as opposed to a selfie stick which extends up further. That's way more annoying, isn't it?

Look, the selfie stick is a silly but wonderful little tool of narcissism and public venues that operate on any premise of learning or expression really shouldn't be banning them. Free the selfie stick! Attica!

Filed Under: bans, photographs, selfie sticks, selfies


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  • identicon
    TK, 20 Mar 2015 @ 2:54pm

    "Seriously, imagine yourself going back ten years in time and attempting to explain to a thirty-year-old professional that within a decade there would be a term in common usage for snapping off mini-monuments to narcissism with something called a smart-phone."

    I don't think explaining a selfie to someone in 2005 would be that difficult, honestly. Where do you think most Myspace profile pics came from? Also self portraits have been a thing for thousands of years

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 2:59pm

    "Picture yourself at a concert some rows back from the stage. Now picture the jackass" smacking you in back the head with said stick.

    having worked in security at music venues I can tell the lot numpties out there And alcohol make then worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gracey (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:08pm

    I'm sorry but, these words [great, compelling photos] should never be used in the same sentence with "selfie".

    I have yet to find any selfie I'd call "great" or "compelling".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:10pm

    Haha, i love it when people ruin their great moments by dicking around with their phones just to take a somewhat acceptable photo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:13pm

    The Canadian Museum for Human Rights here in Winnipeg has banned them too. So if you really must have a war crime or torture themed selfie, you'll have to track down Dick Cheney.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:25pm

    Give it a rest media

    Really selfies have to be the dumbest moral panic latched onto in recent memory. And that is saying something given the long list of moronic moral panics. Whenever I see the media's obsession with them I can't help but think "Old man yells at cloud".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bloodnok (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:29pm

    before there were selfies ....

    ... you'd ask some stranger to take a picture of you and the missus grinning like idiots in front of some monument. you'd hope the stranger wouldn't a) steal your camera, b) mess up the shot, and c) steal your camera.

    selfies are nothing new. just a different way of doing something obnoxious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:46pm

    Selfie IP

    Could it be that the advent of taking a selfie is so that an individual does not give up their IP rights by handing their phone or camera to someone else? I have taken numerous pictures for strangers and never once even thought about asking for the copyright. Has this changed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 7:08pm

      Re: Selfie IP

      Could it be that the advent of taking a selfie is so that an individual does not give up their IP rights by handing their phone or camera to someone else?

      I'm pretty sure it's because of the advent of smartphones with front-facing cameras, so the user can see the photo while framing it (and easily press the capture button).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2015 @ 5:33am

      Re: Selfie IP

      No, and quit giving ideas to creepy lawyers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mattshow (profile), 23 Mar 2015 @ 8:27am

      Re: Selfie IP

      As someone who used to teach copyright law to students, I can guarantee you that your average selfie-stick user has absolutely NOT put any consideration whatsoever into who owns the copyright to their vacation photos.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LeeJS (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 3:59pm

    I don't understand the problem here

    When I was a lad we used to call these 'group photographs' and if we wanted one where we were both in it we would ask a passing stranger if they wouldn't mind taking it.

    Why has this innocent pastime suddenly been deemed 'narcissism' just because we now have a device that enables us to avoid bothering a random passer-by?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2015 @ 9:53am

      Re: I don't understand the problem here

      just because we now have a device that enables us to avoid bothering a random passer-by?

      That is true so long as you do not consider poking the random passer-by with the non business end as they take a close look at the results to be bothering. (The denser the crowd, the more likely the pokes.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mattshow (profile), 23 Mar 2015 @ 8:29am

      Re: I don't understand the problem here

      Agreed. And people have been using timers to take self photos for decades. I've been packing a mini-tripod (more recently a GorillaPod) whenever I go on vacation for at least the last decade for this exact purpose. No one ever threatened to ban me from anywhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 6:16pm

      Re: I don't understand the problem here

      Because people take them in the most inappropriate places and take hundreds if not thousands of them for the sole purpose of doing so. They also upload them to public sites en masse with the underlying belief that their likeness is so totally awesome that the whole world would want to look at hundreds of copies of it on the biggest global billboard to have ever been invented.

      I mean, a girl took a selfie at Auschwitz, for fsck's sake. A group selfie happened in front of a deadly explosion at a New York apartment complex. What if people were taking duckfaces at 9/11 or the Cambodian Killing Fields? What if Abe Zapruder took a selfie at the JFK assassination? That's what's happening here. People are so deluded about their own unwarranted self-importance that they're clogging the Internet with their annoying mugs at the most god-awful inappropriate times and/or places.

      And now they have a stupid stick to make their displays of narcissism somehow "better."

      I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    80sRelic (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 4:13pm

    ...but a decade ago....

    When I first heard the term "selfie", I thought it was like catching a "quickie", but you're all alone!

    Still about self-love..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 20 Mar 2015 @ 4:20pm

    It's a GREAT idea to let them in museums! Irreplaceable paintings, sculptures, and artifacts next to idiots with a hunk of glass and metal attached to a telescoping metal stick. What could possibly go wrong?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AricTheRed (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 4:36pm

    Wrong...

    "...aghast at the ban by art museums, whose purpose is to celebrate freedom of artistic expression."

    The purpose of art museems seems to me to be...

    To celebrate freedom of someone elses artistic expression.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 8:29pm

      Re: Wrong...

      I went to the Art Institute and started artistically expressing myself on "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" and someone with an attitude and an inflated sense of importance made me stop. (I work in urine. I'm a master.)

      I thought they were there to encourage artistic expression. Troglodytes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 4:42pm

    Support your local snail

    I originally read the subtitle of the linked article as

    ...it’s time to stand up for gastropod rights

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Karl (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 6:03pm

    Some revealing sentences...

    I can't bring my second favorite extendable twig

    So, you call your favorite "extendable" a twig? Doesn't seem all that narcissistic to me.

    Also:

    But now picture him doing all those same things, except he sticks his big fat arm up instead.

    Not to mention, the "selfie stick" almost certainly doesn't smell like smoke, weed, and body odor. (Speaking as someone who has both suffered through, and caused, such odors.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 6:09pm

    I have a very low opinion of people who take "selfies."

    Don't get me wrong, you're allowed to do what you want.

    It just doesn't change the fact you're a complete and utter fucking moron.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 8:22pm

    the dark side of technology

    Perhaps this is the dark side of technology. In the 20th century, when just about everyone had a Kodak Brownie or Instamatic or Pocket Camera (depending on the era), it was simple to ask a passing stranger to hold the camera and press the only button on it. Even with the arrival of SLRs in the 1970s, all brands and models were essentially identical in operation. So passing strangers could still quality (but only if they were male -- females were still considered too technologically incompetent to understand mechanical gadgets).

    But now in the digital age, the act of taking a photo is not only highly complicated, but varies tremendously across the range of camera-enabled devices, that random strangers can no longer be trusted to get it right.

    That plus the fact that these days people have their entire life's work on the gadget they'd be handing over to complete strangers to take their picture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 8:40pm

    I remember selfie digital cameras from the early 2000's. You would push a timer button on the camera and then run in front of the camera and wait for the flash to go off. I'm glad we can finally do away with that archaic timer technology and use a modern day futuristic stick instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 20 Mar 2015 @ 11:04pm

    "mini-monuments to narcissism"

    LOL!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2015 @ 11:04pm

    Or we could just ignore the vested interest all these places have in not allowing people to bring clubs onto the premises.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 21 Mar 2015 @ 6:51am

    Not sure why a selfie-stick should get a pass anywhere this sort of class of objects is banned already. The one that really screams out to me is (Brazilian, or any other) soccer matches. Yes yes, please do let everyone bring their photographic ordnance with them, it should be spectacular.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2015 @ 7:59am

    IP

    Maybe there is another, darker, side to the banning of improved photo shoot opportunities contraptions in museums and at entertainment venues: The IP issue.
    Some proud parent shot a video of his/her offspring dancing free style. Being a modern parent, the shot immediately had to go on YouTube, and that's when the IP police suited up. See, dancing (normally) entails music and the hapless author had, undoubtedly with criminal intention of stealing someones ephemeral property, forgot to buy the required $10K license to broadcast said intangible property.
    Now imagine museums, in the process of monetizing all that IP they hold in trust, being invaded by hordes of selfie fanatics armed with sticks that allow them to take incidental but unlicensed(!) pictures of all that IP and sharing it(!!) with the world via social media. For free(!!!). Sheer piracy.
    Not to mention those poor struggling artists playing a gig at the local super stadium and having unlicensed photos taken of themselves performing. Photos and even (gasp) video. Outside the revenue channel. The very definition of piracy.
    With literally thousands of photos littering the worlds servers, claiming exclusive rights just became an uphill battle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2015 @ 9:04am

    Whatever your opinion about the stick, one has to wonder about those who want to ban everything they dislike. Also the ridiculous rational for these bans is comical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alice pattinson, 22 Mar 2015 @ 3:57am

    I don't care if they banned it I will still use my Selfie Stick Pro in moderate way. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    New Mexico Mark, 22 Mar 2015 @ 11:13am

    Crossing the streams

    Late comment but... Can't wait to see what happens when an add-on that turns a cane or crutch into a selfie stick makes the scene. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) meets selfie stick ban!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2015 @ 6:12am

      Re: Crossing the streams

      I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't already crutches which already incorporate a selfie mechanism.
      Some kind of sliding rail so you don't have to bend down and a button on the handle.
      Perfect for those glamorous hospital gown shots while you tumble over trying to keep your balance.


      I am somewhat against sticks in crowded places. While you almost have enough space to shuffle about, 10000 maniacs try to wield their unwieldy yardsticks over the heads of other people and possibly playing a whack-a-mole-selfie game.
      As for the whole collapsible / telescoping baton thingy. "Oh it's just a selfie stick".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2015 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re: Crossing the streams

        10000 maniacs try to wield their unwieldy yardsticks over the heads of other people

        Or poking the person behind them as they try to send the selfie to their mates.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris Meadows (profile), 22 Mar 2015 @ 3:36pm

    Selfie stick = modern-day mace

    You know, in medieval times, a long stick with a weight on the end was called a "mace" and swung around to whap your enemies with. The angular momentum imparted by the length of the stick means the weight on the end can get up some pretty good speed and do some serious damage.

    Ban such a thing in venues where lots of people might get crowded together and there's some serious potential for doing harm by accident? Uh, yeah, let's do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 23 Mar 2015 @ 1:49pm

    In my day...

    In my day (which was 4 years ago), we didn't have selfie-sticks: we had tripods. I would put on in on a bench or in a tree, aim it at my wife, set the timer, run over to her, and then the camera would go off.
    But the risk ask always been that someone will steal the camera or it'll fall over or something else will ruin the shot.
    Or you can hand your camera to a stranger and hope he doesn't run off with your iPhone 6.

    If we're going to ban selfie-sticks because they're less risky than handing your camera to a stranger, then we should ban selfies because they're poor photos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 23 Mar 2015 @ 2:20pm

      Re: In my day...

      Or you can hand your camera to a stranger and hope he doesn't run off with your iPhone 6.

      Or hope that the stranger doesn't sue you for copyright infringement when you post them online since the stranger would own the copyright to the photos he took.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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