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Selfie sticks are fine and the people who hate them are broken

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The New York Times was recently harshly critical of selfie sticks, comparing their users to psychopaths. They are wrong. Selfie sticks are neat.

NOTE: This article is tuned to various degrees of confidence. Changes in my level of confidence/seriousness in my statements will be noted accordingly.

(Stated with 100-percent confidence)

Selfie sticks are great. Because with selfie sticks, you can take a photo of yourself from the angle that you would like! Neat!

The criticism of selfie sticks most often said out loud is that they're obnoxious and obstructive in crowded public settings. In certain circumstances, such as concerts, I could buy that.

(68 percent)

Although if you have it in you to be bothered by your half-obstructed view to be barely more obstructed by a few selfie sticks, you're probably too uptight to appreciate music anyway. Try some marijuana pot!

(100 percent)

Anyway, I work a couple blocks from Times Square, and walk through the heart of it during peak tourism hours on my way to this or that. It's a silly place and not really one I want to spend much time in. It also might be the selfie stick capital of the universe. It's a very crowded place in which tons of people are taking selfies with these things. I have suffered literally zero inconvenience from this. There are those out there who have suffered the existential horror of having been bumped by a plastic stick one time, and I don't mean to trivialize their stories or their struggles. I can only tell you that this has never happened to me.

(91 percent)

The false problem of obstructive annoyance is the criticism people say out loud. The "stick" component is just the touchstone for their grievances. The problem they actually have with the selfie stick is the selfie itself.

(77 percent)

Because they're waspy as hell and can't loosen up or stop inventing problems.

(100 percent)

The next selfie you see on Instagram or Facebook or wherever will probably have likes and positive comments. Selfies are a way to boost ourselves and each other up. They're great. The selfie stick helps get more people in the shot. It's cool, fun and (unless you are a misanthrope) perfectly benign.

(87 percent)

Which is something uptight folks can't stand. For the sort of person who has a problem with this sort of thing, "That's fine" is an unthinkable conclusion. The conclusion instead is that these people suffer some sort of social disease. They must be psychoanalyzed and diagnosed, a hundred thousand at a time. There is something wrong with them, they say. Here is a bad New York Times column from last weekend:

Much of the research on selfies reveals that (surprise!) people who take a lot of them tend to have narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits.

(79 percent)

You sound like a phrenologist. I lack the authority to explicitly refute this, but I am so, so suspicious that you've massively misread or misinterpreted something along the way to this conclusion. I do not believe you and I think that this is full of shit.

(100 percent)

All right, setting aside my massive skepticism for a second, let's just suppose that this is true, and take a second to sort this out:

  1. Person A enjoys taking a lot of selfies, and isn't hurting or inconveniencing anybody.

  2. Person B insults and condescends to Person A, pretends to have been inconvenienced by Person A, and digs up evidence used to conclude that Person A is a Machiavellian psychopathic narcissist.

Of those two, which is the genuinely more interesting specimen? Person B's behavior is more fascinating.

(68 percent)

And vacuous.

(91 percent)

Than Person A's could possibly be.

"It's such a low barrier to press ‘like,' but I think people -- I'm no exception -- get obsessed with likes," said Mr. Chawla.

People like things! People like liking things! Jesus, that was a real whodunit. Anyway, a time-honored tradition of the Tenuous Argument Column is to wheel out presumed authorities in some stage or another of bewilderment or delusion. Here is Mr. College from the college factory:

"People forget that narcissism is not just about being an egomaniac -- it's also driven by underlying insecurity," said Jesse Fox, an assistant professor at Ohio State University's School of Communication who studies the personalities of selfie takers. "They need to get ‘likes' to get validation."

(100 percent)

Oh, f*ck off.

(73 percent)

I swear, sometimes when i hear academics open their mouths I think of what John Holt said, that school is where you go to learn how to be stupid. I, a person who definitely does not have a college degree and, in fact, only graduated high school because a teacher or two quietly did him a solid, could have cobbled together some, "I saw this on Person of Interest" nonsense like that if you'd asked me.

What if there are no selfie sticks because ~~~ we're all in the matrix ~~~

(100 percent)

This is all to lament that people out to feel good about themselves can never seem to do that in peace. The rest of us reject their behavior like it's a virus. We go to great lengths to argue (to ourselves, because they don't care) that they are sick and ruined. Selfies are great because they make people feel nice, and selfie sticks are great because they let people take better selfies.

Further, I would like to add that bacon tastes boring, Spaceballs was more thought-provoking than every Star Wars film combined, and Kim Kardashian seems like a cool enough person.