The Picture’s the Thing

We are so selfie-ish!

I saw an article in the newspaper this past week, likely you saw it too, of a man who had killed a lion with a bow and arrow. The product that came from that hunt was a picture. The lion was not endangering folks, the meat wasn’t eaten, they didn’t even stuff the lion for a museum or use his body to study lions. The man showed skill, got a thrill and they took a picture.

The world is full of shock and outrage, I feel that too. But I also feel disturbed about our society. Trophy pictures of folks with their big fish, or deer, or even lion are nothing new.

Here’s the thing:

Isn’t the trophy picture the origin of the selfie? Now, sometimes, it feels like we live our lives in trophy picture mode. We are all shouting: “Look at me! See what I did! See where I am? See who I am with?” at the top of our lungs (figuratively speaking, since we usually are posting on facebook with the thump of our fingers).

It disturbs us when someone takes the egotism to the next level.  Big game hunting isn’t new, in fact my distress is because I thought it was old hat, and we were, as a society, beyond killing a big, beautiful, majestic animal to take a trophy picture. That we had moved on in our understanding about animals and the complex diversity of life “on this fragile earth, our island home”*. That we no longer feel like everything was put here just for us. That we are stewards of creation, not petty dictators.

Isn’t the whole selfie craze a form of trophy hunting?

I went on a three day safari at Masai Mara in Kenya a few years ago. It was pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming incredible. I took many, many, many pictures…and posted some of them on facebook. I couldn’t resist sharing!

Seeing lions was a real high point of that trip (Masai Mara is famous for lions) and I took about a hundred pictures of lions, but I didn’t feel a need to be in the picture. The most awesome, amazing, incredible experience of my life and no selfie! Does that mean I wasn’t there?

KSM20120213-Selfie-ishLions-04-480px
I was there!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Game of Groans.”

* From the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, used by the Episcopal Church in the USA.

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