Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Selfie Made Universal


'I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.' 
King James Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:14 


Back in 1812 the Wicked Queen in the Brothers Grimm story 'Snow White' had to go find her magic mirror each time she felt the need for reassurance as the 'Fairest One Of All'.
Franz J├╝ttner       
These days most tablets and smartphones come with an extra camera lens facing back at us just above the screen. Plus to avoid the distorted goofie look of many a close-up shot, we can invest in a selfie stick to better capture our fine features from above or in profile. Any time, any place we are in need of an ego boost, instead of the doubtful chore of trying for a magic mirror on E Bay, we can check back through 'saved media'. Captioning using phrases like 'The Fairest One' helps add to the warmth of our self-regard.

Better still, why not us invest in a selfie drone? If we have US $700+ to spare it's coming time to pre-order a drone that takes pictures but needs no hand-held controller like today's - it just follows you along everywhere you go about your day.

But wait! There may be a price to our vanity. While "there is no denying that the latest drone technology is impressive. And the footage is striking. Adventure travellers who wish to watch themselves scale Kilimanjaro or surf in Hawaii along the North Shore of Oahu will no doubt want one. But if selfie-drones become staples of every traveller who can afford them, we stand to lose more than we stand to gain when it comes to privacy, safety and quality-of-life factors like peace and beauty".

Drone persecution
The selfie is here to stay, but what price our vanity in privacy loss? Perhaps when we get before much longer to being able to order the Invisible Flying Nanobot Selfie Camera it will be classed as 'For Military Use Only'? But, then, we'll just wait for army surplus; it won't be far behind.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Defines a Nation State?


The Jerusalem Post is the premier English language Israeli newspaper. I follow it to get a sense of the mood in the only democracy in the Middle East, one on the front line of Muslim anarchy and violent push-back against Western liberal ideas.

Occasionally their reporting from this frontier of our civilization gets absurdly paranoid. This 'front-page' article is actually about a single individual who took advantage of a poorly executed and policed business gimmick in a minor European nation to advertise his infantile prejudices. An unappealing feature of the paper is a tendency to 'look back over its shoulder' to see if its friends remain firmly lined up firmly in its camp. Any display  of anti-Semitism, however atypical or unrepresentative, is cause for panic - "Are we still truly alone (like we were in WWII Europe)?"

Present and former imperial nations (America, UK, France...) and their nationals are demeaned and insulted all across the rest of the world.  A mature democracy learns to live with the fact that others less fortunate will insult and belittle its citizens and its contributions to human welfare.  As a nation state Israel's unique and self-appointed burden is taking on all the causes and battles of the world's Jewry, including the many who have not chosen to become its citizens. It will not truly be credible as a legitimate national entity until it sees caring for the fortunes of all of its own citizens, Jewish, Arab and Druze, as its primary duty and one well ahead of defending all those of Jewish descent but another citizenship living outside its borders.