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Selfies With Hearses - Phaneuf

Selfies With Hearses

It seems that selfies have become inescapable. Selfie sticks are sold just about everywhere and you will catch people of all ages trying to get just the right angle of themselves.

The phenomena, it seems, has now extended as far as funerals. A recent Dallas News article covers a funeral director who was caught taking selfies with hearses—an act that many decried as deplorable, with the family of the deceased threatening to sue. Undoubtedly this man’s actions are questionable at best, but what if it’s your own family? What if it is the funeral of a loved one or a friend? Are selfies acceptable then?

We recently asked whether our readers thought that photography at a funeral was acceptable. There are numerous reasons why some felt that it was: it captures a moment in time; captures beautiful, if tragic, emotion; and reminds families of their close bonds. Selfies, on the other hand, serve a different purpose. They zero in on a subject and blur out everything around them. Because you are the one taking your selfie, you can decide what is and isn’t acceptable for capture, or for sharing. It may be that you still want to memorialize that family or friendship bond, it may be that you want to capture your own emotions on a trying day—but it is difficult to avoid the glaring fact that selfies are…selfish. Instead of truthful representation, they focus on affectation, did you get yourself in a good light? Is that the “better” side of your face?

Yet, maybe the redeeming factor here is that selfies make some people feel good. For example, isn’t a selfie at a funeral worth it if it makes a young person find some relief from grieving? What’s more, our understanding of selfies varies greatly by generation: for somebody who came of age before the time of smart phones, a selfie at a funeral may seem garish, but for someone who has grown up with technology always at their fingertips, a selfie is self-exploration, a reflection of feeling in time.

Right or wrong, selfies are here to stay…at least for the foreseeable future. What do you think? Would you allow selfies to be taken at a funeral of a friend or family member?

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