Selfie deaths

This week’s plunge into the mass meejah has yielded more obvious things to say than any since last week. Consider, if you please, the phenomenon of selfie deaths. According to a “global survey,” which I will believe if I’m in the mood, there have been hundreds of them. Personal biological extinction may follow from trying to get a picture at cliff edge, in proximity to waterfalls, with wild voracious animals, from moving vehicles, &c. A distinction is made between events that were foreseeable; and those which were not, such as the selfie-taker in Lebanon who got blown up by a car bomb that had been contrived for another cause entirely.

A young lady who is depicted cavorting atop the Pedra da G├ívea by Rio de Janeiro — about half a mile of sheer drop — is the Twitterish heroine of the moment. She was able to creep down the steeply sloping side an improbable distance, then wave her arms. But many in her Instagram audience were able to post photos of themselves doing exactly the same thing, while they were in Rio, so we may have to yawn. At first glance, the story seemed to report that 259 had died in this way; but on more careful reading the number declined to zero. It was that “global survey” — apparently done by Google search, then dressed up to look “scientific.”

Still, who needs to master mountain-climbing if you can risk your life without any skills whatever? All you need is a toke of marijuana and a “smart phone.” You can even omit the weed, if you have no brains at all. The mean age of a selfie death is 22.94, it says here, and most accidents visit the 18-to-24 demographic (“millennials”). The overwhelming majority of defunct selfie-takers are boys (i.e. cisgender males), and India alone hosts one-half of fatalities. (America, however, proudly leads in selfie firearm accidents.) Most selfies — or koolfies, restaurantfies, musclefies, dentisfies, &c, to use the latest terms of art — end uneventfully, we learn. So much for our statistical overview.

There appears to be an international effort to reduce selfie deaths, by banning access to almost everything. It is probably led by a Canadian.

When an acquaintance leapt off the Bloor Viaduct (this was before selfies were a thing) the city fathers and mothers spent, I think it was, seven million dollars to put a tall, high-tech fence on the bridge, which would seriously delay the next person to try it (though give him some extra height). This figure would not include the cost of their endless studies and committee meetings.

Had I been in charge, we would have put up a sign, requesting those committing suicide to avoid traffic, underpassing in the ravine. In English and French. Total cost, derisory. But then I would be criticized for heartlessness, when in fact I was guilty of heartless black humour. The funny thing is, the sign would have worked, most likely. For laughter precludes suicide, in most instances. And if they don’t see the humour in it, well, we tried our best.