A little Saturday reading

I’m always scouring the internet for interesting reads, but I didn’t think I’d come across something by a speechwriter for former Defense Secretary James Mattis on …

… how today’s obsessive selfie-takers could learn something from Rembrandt on this, the 350th anniversary of his death.

But sometimes you find stuff.

“The average millennial will snap a lifetime total of more than 25,000 selfies. But unlike Rembrandt, in our highly filtered Instagram culture, we rarely seek to show ourselves as we are; we project ourselves as we wish to be seen. Social media encourages the facade by linking the natural human desire for validation to the viral power of the internet. Toss in the near universal fear of rejection, the other side of the validation coin, and we see a race away from reality.

Rembrandt did the opposite. In doing so, his honest self-portraits become models of courage, showing us how to engage life as it really is, as opposed to a filtered, ultimately fake existence built by fear.”

— “Rembrandt died 350 years ago. His lesson on selfies is eternal.” Bill Rivers, nbcnews.com

I really hope I’m right in calling BS on this “25,000 selfies” thing, since apparently that’s one every single day of a person’s life, and I haven’t seen too many baby selfies yet.


But anyway, the article feels like a stretch, especially since Instagram was invented centuries after Rembrandt’s death. Maybe if he saw money in being a well-touched-up “influencer,” he would have gone down that path.

Plus … all those young people touching up their selfies? They’re not old yet, so we don’t know what those pictures will look like.

Me, I don’t take selfies, and not just because I’m Generation X. I’ve just never figured out how to do a good one because I have short arms and can’t get the camera angles right … plus I’m not exactly working with the greatest raw material.


Speaking of those inveterate modern takers of self-portraits, I read a few things relating to millennials recently that I found interesting.

The Sterile, Efficient Life of a Millennial,” Rainesford Stauffer, The New York Times: The expression “do more with less” is a scourge, but what if people think that’s what you want out of life?

Baseball Saw a Million More Empty Seats. Does It Matter?” Danielle Allentuck and Keven Draper, The New York Times: I remember when the Red Sox introduced a special standing-room-only package — “You can be close to concessions and restrooms!” — and thinking it was kind of dumb.

But a version the program is apparently a thing now to get those young ’uns in the ballpark, instead of, you know, inexpensive seats that you can actually sit in.

Steady Bloom,” Sunshine With Savannah (which she recently reposted on Twitter): There was a great line in this post — “I don’t have the talent to be early, and I don’t have the time to be late.” — and since Savannah’s one of my good blogging buddies, I asked her if she was that concerned about making money when she was 21.

She pointed out that at the time, she was looking at graduating with $20,000 in student loan debt.

I hadn’t thought of that.

One selfie down, 24,999 to go. Photo by StockSnap from Pixabay.


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