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.
Two years ago, the Occupy Movement made a stand with the slogan “We are the 99%”. They were referring to, as Wikipedia puts it, “the concentration of income and wealth among the top earning 1%, which reflected an opinion that the “99%” are paying the price for the mistakes of a tiny minority within the upper class”. Though this was an American movement, their protest expanded around the world, with Europeans feeling this inequality as well.
The world is run by a few – that we all start to realize. But how few are they? And how do they become so big? Well, dear reader, not only but also, because of you. We are part of the oil that makes these giant, transnational corporations run smoothly, earn market power and, consequently, political influence. An example: Breakfast. You have a Nescafe coffee. Then a shower, using L’Oréal to wash your hair and Garnier to cleanse your face. Moving on, you moisturize your body with products from The Body Shop, put on your Diesel jeans and grab a KitKat for the way. In a simple, standard morning routine, all things used are owned by Nestlé.