According to CNN, it seems that a selfie is more important to all and sundry than a collapsing economy, stagnant employment, and missing monies from the State Department. With the incessant news on a daily basis of this morally and economic spiraling downward of the country, it is a struggle for some to comprehend the over-obsessive nature of self-promotion. Of course, with the struggle to adjust to an immediately connected and vastly intertwined economy and marketplace, there is hardly any time for questioning the direction of these current trends.
Word spread that David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox slugger, had made a deal with Samsung. He took the picture of himself and the President with his Galaxy cell phone during his team’s trip to the White House on Tuesday. The picture was re-tweeted 40,000 times. One question that floated to the surface of the public’s consternation, other than the baseball player’s ability to effectively perform his on-the-field function, was their realization of the facts. Advertising dollars, it is no secret, have evolved into playing a very large role in the arena of professional sports, as well as politics. This selfie phenomenon is an ongoing trend in a marketplace driven by instantaneous connectivity. Perhaps, it is also a dubious trend because it captures the public’s attention in banal and shallow circumstances, while the ball of debt keeps rolling, and the incompetent, full of meandering rhetoric — our supposed brightest, most powerful legislators and enforcers — refuse to take blame for their inability to manage efficiently this nation’s pocketbook. In fact, except for I.O.U.’s, the purse is empty, in the red, dangerously near insolvent. The credit cards are nearly all maxed out; and the best that can be done is to kick the can for the next generation, ad infinitum….
Ah, but for those that have read Aldous Huxley, or any western “intellectuals” of the past centuries, know that people have been heading down a road that, at best, is unsightly, greedy, cancerous, and possibly masochistic. Masochist is an intellectual word for self-gratifying acts at the expense and pain of others. What other way to describe the consistent numbers each month of unemployment, falling short of the incremental rises predicted by Economists and the Labor Department, while Congress can barely agree on a bill between Houses to fund unemployment checks; oil companies polluting nationwide with nuclear fuel and rocket fuel waste, and only cleaning their image with billions in payouts to keep their stock market prices up. How can a public allow the gain of money by polluting the planet without feeling a little vain and paradoxical? This is where hollow distraction seems to take precedent rather than a naturally humane and inquisitive analysis.
Our President seems to hardly mind. He smiled big for the selfie, as David Ortiz flashed his teeth, eyes covered in stylish, dark Ray Bans. Recently, according to The Weekly Standard, Barack Obama drew a bill from a hotel in Brussels, Belgium, home of NATO and the European Union, that cost taxpayers over $1.5 million. To add, the Fiscal Times reported on Thursday that the State Department, through an audit, has been unable to account for money it supposedly doled out to contractors. The missing State Department sum totaled $6 billion. Quite a hefty chunk of change to be missing from the books, especially when voluminous bills are well-past due.
What we are witnessing here as a nation is a growing acceptance of mediocrity. Our heroes have long been the leaders and athletes of this country, so we have been taught. Withal, we have handed over a great deal of self-empowerment into the hands of others. If they happen to be incompetent, indifferent, or incapable of performing their abilities to the utmost, it seems that this persists as long as they are given a free pass to do so. We have nothing to fear, then, but our own inaction towards speaking out and letting it be known and put into practice that the acceptance of financial mismanagement or uncaring actions of our political executives will no longer be tolerated. A selfie from Ellen DeGeneres, David Ortiz, or anybody else, for that matter, will not blind every individual into a continuation of faith and participation in an economic system as it endlessly leeches at the expense and brain-numbing moral degradation of the populace.
Opinion By Bryan William Myers