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Monday, January 5, 2015

Posting 'selfie' and 'wealthie' photos is the new guilty pleasure in cyberspace

Thomas Kraemer 2014
PHOTO: a quintessential example of a selfie of Thomas Kraemer. (See previous post Year 2014 in review - nine years of blogging)

Happy new year 2015 -- I'm still alive!

I love watching the evolution of language on the internet and the invention of new words because my English teachers always taught the subject very dogmatically and would mark me down for creative uses of spelling and grammar that did not match the rules they had learned decades ago and taught as being invariant. My English teachers always said, "If it is not in the school's dictionary, then it is not a word you can use in class."

For example, the fairly new word selfie is defined as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. Prior to the internet, it was typically egotistical dictators who would physically post their portraits everywhere to remind people that they are the leader and egotism is a human trait that has always motivated people to be exhibitionists, however, the more recent invention of internet technology has encouraged even the shyest and most private of individuals to post photos of themselves on social media.

More recently, I learned of the new word wealthie ( on a TV talk show in reference to people who post photos of expensive items that they recently bought, presumably to brag by showing off their wealth and to boost their self-worth. (See 'wealthie' definitions and "#wealthies - Say sayonara to the selfie, and hello to the envy-enducing wealthie (it's celeb endorsed)," posted Apr. 1, 2014)

I was raised by Depression-era parents who taught me it was impolite to show off your wealth, because it would it would make other people jealous, and it also make you a target of thieves, both of which I still believe are true reasons not to do it today, therefore, I have always felt a twinge of guilty pleasure and anxiety whenever I either post or read a post that looks like somebody is showing off their wealth. (See previous posts My new kitchen chairs finally match my Herman Miller table (12/13/14) and New laundry room attic vent installed for Speed Queen Washer Dryer plus future cooktop (12/6/14))

My first reaction is to wonder why somebody is trying to impress others by showing off their wealth and then if they are trying to sell me something I don't want to buy. In my current physically disabled state, I no longer feel any need to impress anyone, although I still would not want to make myself the target of a thief, and I am so sated with physical possessions that I rarely lust for anything new, other than better health.

Today, when I see other people's wealth, after overcoming my initial twinge of jealousy and repressed resentment, my more mature mind likes to analyze why they bought it and if it makes sense for either me or them. I hope the few readers who stumble into my blog from a search engine will also read my posts the same spirit -- I have no agenda other than one of trying to posts things to help me remember what I bought and the links associated with the products.

Speaking of showing off your wealth, I suspect a recent letter to the editor written by Warren George, "Letter: Thanks for the offer, but I decline this Medicare 'gift,'" posted Dec. 29, 2014 did not realize that his letter was flaunting his wealth, because in my view, Although I agree with his concern about the cost of healthcare, I hope he was just being ironic about his plan to burn up his Medicare card, because in my experience, only the an independently wealthy multimillionaire, or somebody who was sure they will never need medical care, would be able to take this risk, unless you are willing to accept charity medical care when you may need it. The cost of healthcare is not surprising to me, given that the demand for it is inelastic and therefore people are willing to pay anything for the limited resources of doctors and hospitals, just as is taught in theory to every Freshman Economics or Business major at OSU.