Disaster Selfies: The Most Fucked Up Social Media Trend Since Funeral Selfies

disaster selfie
c/o @nate_scimio

If there’s one thing that the media is constantly telling us we know for sure, it’s that millennials love selfies. In fact, not content to just stick with calling those born between 1980 and 1994 “millennials,” some people have dubbed this group the “selfie generation.” But it’s one thing to share photos of yourself from your drunkest happiest moments, and it’s another thing to share photos when you’re at a funeral, for example, or, you know, after you’ve been involved in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of at least ten people.

Via New York, the latest trend in selfies is the “hospital selfie” in which, well, someone takes a selfie in the hospital! But these selfies aren’t for those times when you land in the emergency room with a kidney infection after thinking you could get rid of your UTI just by drinking a lot of cranberry juice (antibiotics! get yourself some antibiotics!). No, these hospital selfies are taken after disasters, like the recent mass stabbing at a Pittsburgh high school (see above) or the previously mentioned horrific FedEx/school bus crash in California (see below).

And so we’re left asking ourselves if there’s any possible defense for someone to post smirking photos of themselves when people they know are suffering greatly. We’re left wondering if this type of social media interaction is a sign of disaffected youth who grew up inundated with violence on TV and in the movies and in video games, leaving them inured to the real world ramifications of death and destruction. We’re left thinking that the extreme lack of sensitivity that these selfie-takers are demonstrating is maybe a sign that this whole generation is as fucked up as the New York Times would have us believe. Because, really, we were thinking about how to rationalize this type of selfie. New York throws out the idea that maybe the hospital selfie is a way of celebrating life, especially after escaping a near-death experience. But, you know, there are better ways to do that then by going immediately to Snapchat. And it’s not a little revealing that the young man, Jonathan, who took the selfie from the highway tragedy also tweeted these gems: “first thing I grabbed was my phone” and “sucks that all my stuff got burned up but i’m glad i’m ok.” Which, I’m glad you’re ok too, Jonathan! And it does suck that your stuff was burned up. But you know what also sucks? Losing your loved ones in a tragic accident. So maybe just think before sending out these photos and texts and consider someone else’s feelings before you think about just how exaggerated to make your pout. Be a fucking human. It’s really not that hard to not press send.

hospital selfie
c/o @RudyyMinaj


  1. The thing is, and it’s been stated elsewhere, that in the history of time, every new generation is a “the selfish/lazy generation because my generation did things the right way”. The previous generation was seen as selfish, and the one before that, and the one after the Millenial will also be seen the same.

    Put it this way, if these recent tragedies were to happen at any time during human history, do you think in that crowd of survivors there was one who thought “glad *I” am alive” and “aww my stuff was ruined”? The answer is yes, a thousand times yes. In every tragedy in every century there has always been one selfish person (probably more than one). So what’s the difference between then and now? It’s technology/new tools. It’s the fact that they/we can share our thoughts (selfish or otherwise) where everyone can see–technological thought bubbles.

    So when you separate the people from the tools, you’re really left with the headline “young people can be lazy and selfish”, which as I stated above really isn’t news. What could remotely be seen as fascinating is that we are seeing bad behavior in real-time encapsulated in words and images–again, behavior that is not surprising or new. It’s the tools and exploitation of selfish/lazy people who use them selfishly (update: this has also been done). But are the tools (social media) in and of themselves bad? In the overall grand scheme of things, I would say no. Arguably, they’ve helped more than hurt. So really the news boils down to “lazy/selfish people misuse tools”. Yawn. And not this faux outrage with the “lazy kids these days” premise because please–that is just as lazy.


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