As if we needed any more proof that selfies are now mainstream, on Wednesday night Joe Biden christened his Instagram feed with a blurry and poorly lit photo of himself with President Obama. In the past few years selfies have gone from the bathroom mirror to the pages of Oxford Dictionaries (online, not the print edition), so those who want to remain on the forefront of social media trends have been forced to find increasingly edgy selfie scenarios. After Kim Kardashian’s “belfie,” taking a photo of your own rear end just isn’t going to shock anyone. However, there are several types of extreme selfies that still provoke serious hand-wringing. Millennials may see the following as a guide to impressing their friends and horrifying the adults in their lives. If you’re old (like, over 30), use this information to spice up your regular rants about kids these days.
According to kottke.org, taking video selfies with drones “seems like it’s on the cusp of becoming a thing.” Drawbacks: Requires special technology, doesn’t tap into fears about the youth of America. Advantages: Looks awesome, taps into fears about the increasing prevalence of drones.
The After Sex Selfie
It’s arguably the ultimate form of invading your own privacy, if you’re not going to venture into porn. Take it to the next level by posting a shot of yourself waking up next to a celebrity. Speaking of the Bieb …
The Hospital Selfie
The HIPAA Privacy Rule says nothing about snapping a photo of yourself recuperating and sharing it with a few million followers. Here’s a classic of the genre from selfie pioneer Justin Bieber.
The Survival/Disaster Selfie
Kids have been taking a lot of flak for this one recently. In March, a young woman posted this photo after her U.S. Airways flight crashed on the runway in Philadelphia:
Last week a teen Snapchatted his friends a selfie after a Northern California crash involving a FedEx truck and a bus full of students that left ten people dead.
This is a close cousin of the hospital selfie. Defenders say the point is to document the incident and show loved ones you’re okay.
The Hero Selfie
Add a dash of #humblebrag to a post-accident photo and you’ve got a hero selfie. Josh Romney shows how it’s done:
Before we delve into some truly disturbing genres, let’s pause to appreciate this photo posted by 16-year-old Nate Scimio after the school stabbing in Pennsylvania last week. Friends said he acted heroically by pulling the fire alarm, making this a hospital/survival/hero selfie.
The Post-Confession Selfie
Michael Mandell, whose best friend Tyler Hadley was convicted of murdering both of his parents then throwing a house party, took a selfie right after Hadley confessed. Mandell told 20/20 he wanted to remember their final moments together. “When I took the picture, I [had] already seen ‘em, seen the bodies,” Mandell said. “I knew I was gonna call the cops on him when I took that picture.”
The Suicide Selfie
What happens when you see a tragedy in progress, but you’re unable to muster any basic human empathy? Just take a look at these folks, who were stuck on the 105 Freeway in Los Angeles as police talked down a man threatening to jump from an overpass:
Here’s the New York edition:
The Dead Body/Funeral Selfie
The world was horrified to learn that kids take selfies at funerals, but an Alabama high-school senior made the trend even more extreme. In February she took a field trip to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to learn about the school’s anatomical donor program. First lesson: Posing with cadavers is frowned upon.
The Atrocity Selfie
Mass deaths + time + total lack of respect = selfies from Chernobyl, the Anne Frank house, and the gas chamber in Auschwitz.
The Incriminating Selfie
Cleanse the palate with some schadenfreude. Many criminals just can’t resist taking photos of themselves in the act, like these teen girls from Sweden who were caught when they snapped this photo just before robbing a restaurant.