It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the selfie stick became an obsession among the masses. It seemed to appear out of nowhere around the winter of 2014, with illegal immigrants selling them throughout the streets of cities like Rome and Paris to tourists eager to capture the perfect shot of themselves in front of various famous monuments (though there’s nothing more depressing than watching a person traveling alone take a picture of himself in, say, the Vatican among the many relics in order to make it look as though he wasn’t alone).
The first trace of the selfie stick originated, if you can believe it, circa 1983, when Minolta, a Japanese camera manufacturer (no surprise that the Japanese would be the people to innovate this concept) released a camera that was mounted on a stick. The selfie stick continued to evolve in 2005 after Wayne Fromm patented the Quik Pod. Ever since, the device that has derisively been called the Narcisstick has become a runaway train that can’t be stopped, barreling through every major city with any sort of illustrious landmark or museum to take a picture in front of.
What’s worse than the selfie stick being used for “harmless” tourism is when people feel completely comfortable using it in everyday situations, like at a restaurant or simply walking from point A to point B. The ease with which twenty-first century culture has embraced its narcissism is not only horrifying, but dangerous to the continued artistic and ennobling progress of humanity. How can anyone expect the creation of something meaningful when we’re all too busy photographically chronicling ourselves with a selfie stick?
Although a number of institutions that still understand the value of humbleness have cracked down on the use of selfie sticks, its continued promotion and acceptance is very much a sign of our developmental demise.