This week the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year 2013 came out and it was…drum roll…selfie! The word beat seven other ones that had made the shortlist for this year, beating words such as Twerk (thankfully), showrooming, bitcoin and bedroom tax. In order to qualify as the word of the year, the Oxford Dictionary requires it, “to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.” With that in mind it can make you wonder how a word such as selfie could become the word that reflects the preoccupations of our culture the most.
Grotesque: adjective. “comically or repulsively ugly or distorted. incongruous or inappropriate to a shocking degree.” (Oxford Dictionaries).
A cute guy with a perfect nose comes out of a rain of confetti. He is accompanied by a robot-like figure, covered all in white and wearing a robot-mask. The cute guy is wearing a leopard print scarf and a red jacket. The crowd is ecstatic, just as it has been for the last two hours. What will the cute guy do next? This evening is full of surprises, and the crowd is hungry for another one. Surprisingly, the guy and the robot do not start dancing, twerking, or lighting a joint on stage. The cameras do not fly around them, no music is being heard. the guy addresses the audience, ask them for their attention: “um… I’d like to invite you to join me in a moment of silence for the people in the Philippines that are suffering because of this horrible typhoon that’s affected this country”. The audience is obviously baffled. This whole evening they are encouraged to party like there is no tomorrow. Now this pretty-boy wants them to be silent? The “moment” lasts 10 seconds, as it is clear that a lot of people in the crowd did not understand what he asked for, or worse – they did understand, but genuinely do not give a rat’s arse.