James Franco & the Art of the Selfie

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Every once in a while James Franco says something that is bonkers genius, such as his recent New York Times diatribe on the selfie. In it, he extols the virtue of that vainglorious facet of modern-day technology, unabashedly basking in its power, and exposing some of the tricks-of-the-selfie trade. “[A] well-stocked collection of selfies seems to get attention. And attention seems to be the name of the game when it comes to social networking. In this age of too much information at a click of a button, the power to attract viewers amid the sea of things to read and watch is power indeed. It’s what the movie studios want for their products, it’s what professional writers want for their work, it’s what newspapers want – hell, it’s what everyone wants: attention. Attention is power. And if you are someone people are interested in, then the selfie provides something very powerful, from the most privileged perspective possible.” ~ James Franco

I love a man who has a love of a little alliteration. And I love what Mr. Franco has to say, even if I don’t believe that everyone wants said attention. For me, it’s more about being honest with the world, about not hiding behind a screen-name or a photo of your pet. Far too much of the internet involves veils and masks and an image not anywhere near real. If there’s one thing that this website does (along with all my social media accounts for that matter ~ FaceBook, Twitter, & Instagram), it’s revel in the truth – as ugly, off-putting, angry, upsetting, diabolical, petty, gleeful, vain, insecure, laughable, troubling, and dull as the truth can be. That goes for my own selfies too: I may be selective about the ones I show, but I don’t photoshop or airbrush them (and there are many mornings – and perhaps more evenings – when I probably should). Pretending to be something you’re not is just asking for people to be disappointed, because eventually real-life supersedes this virtual world. When that day arrives, someone is going to see you for what you are – or aren’t – and you will either feel like a dear old friend, or a disconnected imposter.

“I am actually turned off when I look at an account and don’t see any selfies, because I want to know whom I’m dealing with. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”” ~ James Franco

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