Life Online: The Breana Effect

The “Clutch”

Auschwitz Death Camp

Auschwitz Death Camp

I have taken to noticing lately how many people, most actually, walk around clutching their “smartphone” (SP) in one hand.

It has become so essential to the pulse of life that it cannot be stowed, even for a moment.

People will place an infant child in a backpack or carrier but the SP must be immediately at hand in order to stay connected.

If you grab a meal with someone, likely as not you will be joined by one or more SPs, sitting on the table,  and apt to butt in at any moment, demanding they be paid attention to.

If not actually butting in, they have trained their carrier to check them, incessantly and obsessively to ensure that a text, status or message has not been missed.

Woe to those who drop from sight, if even for a second.

What’s Your “Status”?

Wonderfully, the best known meanings of status are “what are you up to” and your relative social standing.

SP culture has blended these two ideas into a single objective where status is both communicated and heightened through photos, tweets and posts.

In effect, you are free to make yourself famous, or more likely notorious, through “selfies” and spontaneous musings.

The very dredges of detritus are swept up into the great “re-tweet” and “share” and a vulgar sort of fame emerges.

The Breana Effect

Perhaps it doesn’t help matters that her tweet identity is “Princess Breana”, an inauspicious beginning.

On a visit to Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp, she took a broadly smiling selfie tweeted with the caption, “Selfie in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp” complete with smiley face emoticon.

She poses with one ear bud still in, as if to underscore that the deaths of millions can best be enjoyed with a pleasant musical accompaniment.

it screams that Auschwitz is there for her.

And why not?  All the world’s a stage.

“Fame” Steps In

Breana’s death camp moment was re-tweeted until it was picked up by the media who posted a story about her choice of selfie settings.

Her response was to then re-tweet the story with the headline, “I’m famous yall.”

Famous, indeed.

Time was when fame was a relatively rare commodity.  It depended on being noticed, probably by the press, for some achievement or action deemed worthy by them.

How times have changed.

Where fame, infamy and notoriety are concerned, the press, now better described as the media, is completely irrelevant.

The SP and its connected universe promotes a culture of narcissism no where better encapsulated than in the word “selfie.”

A mere 25 years ago, “Breana”, then a “Jennifer” would have been at Auschwitz, though rotated 180 degrees and behind the camera, invisible.

In her place would be the potent symbol of Auschwitz as humanity gone awry, the  forlorn barracks where laborers were worked to death as part of the Nazi war machine.

Perhaps there would be no ear bud either, as she heard instead the whisper of wind in the trees and the songs of birds sounding life in a place of death.





1 Comment

  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    I agree completely. It’s part of the decline of our civilization. I’ve even witnessed scenes as absurd as young folks sitting across a table in a restaurant, texting each other! What’s happened to the human voice, not to speak of the touch?!
    On top of everything else, carrying these things in plain sight invites theft and/or assault. Personally, I don’t have an i-phone, only a cell made specifically for children and old ladies (I’m in the latter category!), and I carry it in a purse ONLY when I know for sure I’m going to use it.

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