Sunday, February 18, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: USF ban on graduation selfies lets loathers rejoice

It is probably a telling sign of the self-indulgent times we live in when the University of South Florida has to issue an edict banning the taking of selfies during this weekend's commencement ceremonies.

Apparently this began to become a problem last year when graduates insisted on memorializing the completion of their studies by pausing to take their own photo as they were handed their sheepskin. With some 6,500 graduates, the selfie moments tended to add up, making what is usually a fairly tedious rite of passage even more time-consuming.

After spending four, five, six years or so matriculating at USF, you would think these young folks who have transformed their minds full of mush into pillars of scholarship would be eager to simply grab their university diploma cover (the actual thing is mailed out later), have their official photo taken with president Judy Genshaft and get on to the serious work of celebratory beer drinking.

As a matter of fact, when I graduated from college in 1972, I got an early start on the foamy festivities long before the Pomp and Circumstance march hit the first note.

But no, it seems many egocentric students feel the need to hold up the proceedings by photographing themselves mugging for the camera. And that explains why more and more schools in addition to USF are imposing a no-selfie zone for commencement exercises.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am an adjunct instructor at USF. I think the world of my students. But do I really need to see pictures of them staring wide-eyed into their cellphones sticking their tongues out? I've already had to endure seeing them come to class in their pajamas. Isn't that fond memory enough?

It's merely idle speculation, but the obsessive-compulsive selfie craze would seem to speak to a somewhat broader cultural issue. Call it an extension of the Facebook narcissism phenomenon.

With the explosion of social media, an entire generation has dedicated itself to violating its own privacy at every opportunity, as if there is an eager world anxiously awaiting fast-breaking news as to what they had for breakfast, what they are thinking (or not) at any given moment and where they are at any specific point in time. As if anyone truly cares.

We have friends who upload pictures of their dinner plates. Wow! I recently was shown a too-detailed Facebook posting from someone bemoaning their utter failure to succeed as a porn star. Do I really need to know this?

The problem, of course, is if you've seen one vapid shot of someone looking stupid into a camera, haven't you pretty well seen them all? And is it worth holding up hundreds of people who just want to hear their name called as an official university graduate so you can capture yourself looking like a drooling happy face?

USF has threatened to withhold the diploma for anyone violating the selfie ban, which would seem a tad excessive. Still, if one had to explain to a potential employer their degree was being held in limbo because they couldn't resist a selfie conceit, that might quickly bring an end to the practice.

Comments
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18