From The Mind of the Editor...
As you may have seen this week, Six Flags parks have now joined the growing number of theme parks and other establishments that no longer will allow selfie sticks.
Below we'll outline some reasons why and for those of you who use them to take selfies, a few ways that you can still get a picture without using them.
Written by Gregg Condon
The Selfie Stick ... a way for the already vain to continue to be that way (no, that song isn't about you). An easier way to get group pictures when nobody is around to take a picture for you? A general annoyance for those who are easily annoyed? Yet another way to encourage anti-social behavior? Generally ok when used appropriately? Absolutely dangerous when used inappropriately?
If you said "All of the Above" then you'd be absolutely correct.
It's these last two that we are going to take a look at
Appropriate ways to use a selfie stick:
Inappropriate ways to use a selfie stick:
It's also important to note, we aren't talking about "selfies", while most selfie pictures aren't great (as you'll see below) for the most part you aren't going to smack anybody with your arm or cause a ride to break down.
So now that we've likely pissed off about 60% of our readership with the above list, let's take a look at why the Selfie Stick has somehow become popular ... Kim Kardashian.
(We were totally going to put up a picture of her in one of her millions of selfies, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. I mean, she has a "selfie book", do you REALLY want to be associated with that?)
For some reason, this "celebrity" has generally made it ok in our society to think only about oneself (it's called a SELFie stick after all) and it's producing a generation of self involved people who apparently are unable to ask somebody to take their picture.
I'll be the first to admit I've taken selfies while running, a few times almost falling flat on my face while doing it (it's a sight to see I'm sure), but if I'm at a park or event and I'd like to get a good picture taken with friends or family I'm asking somebody to do it for me.
It's really not that difficult.
Of course, there are exceptions to the "selfie" rule, but there is NEVER an exception to the selfie stick rule. =)
I'm not sure where we hit that wall as a society that we were no longer willing to "trouble" somebody to take our picture, I've even offered to take a picture of people using Selfie Sticks while at parks and 9 times out of 10 they've said no. What is it about selfies? Why would a selfie taken 2-3 feet away from your face be any better than a standard picture taken 7-10 feet away where you could actually see where you are and what you're doing?
I think that's the point. It's no longer about "where" you are, it's about "you" being there.
If I look back on our old family pictures from theme parks, before Digital or cell phone cameras, all of our pictures you can see Disneyland or wherever else we were. We weren't the focal point, the park was, we just happened to be there enjoying it.
So now the backlash has begun, and it's coming very fast.
I don't think this can be traced back to a single incident, but the signs have been there for months. Reports of people holding out their sticks on Big Thunder or Matterhorn (which were among the first rides to get such a sign installed). Shutting down of CA Screamin' due to somebody using a selfie stick. Companies like GoPro publicizing the use of a Selfie Stick on a coaster with a 153ft drop and 90 degree elements.
There are of course other devices that are used without "telescoping", and there seems to be no issues with these as parks seem to not be banning them (which is good because our GoPro stick doesn't extend and we'd like to keep using it =) )
The problem with using these things on rides are these things called "ride clearance envelopes". We've all seen them when testing a ride before it opens. Sometimes they are made out of pipe, they move along the track to insure that a rider with hands up or out isn't going to have an issue if they should put their hands up or out.
All those rumors about not being able to put your hands up on Space Mountain? Just that, rumors.
But then you have a metal stick in your hand, with a camera on the end of it, and your arm is now extended another 2 to 3 feet, going 65mph and what happens should it strike something? This is the real issue with having selfie sticks in parks.
You can't blame the parks, obviously just having signs and announcements about them wasn't enough. People figured that didn't apply to them.
Oddly enough, Universal and Cedar Fair seem to be the only US chains that have yet to jump on the banning of Selfie Sticks. But with the recent metal detectors to prevent loose articles on rides like Hulk and the fact that a tourist was selling selfie sticks in the middle of Diagon Alley last week, the ban can't be too far off.
It just seems that in the past 10 years society has become even more narcissistic, more about "self" and not about "us". And this goes way beyond any theme park or theme park chain banning selfie sticks, it's a societal issue.
So yes, those who don't know the proper way to act in society have once again ruined something that most intelligent people could use the proper way. But considering what selfie sticks are used for, is it really any surprise this fad and it's backlash weren't very far apart?