Let's set the scene: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, early afternoon, on a cold winter Sunday. You, an admirer of Impressionism, are taking in a portrait of a woman relaxing by the seashore, painted by French master Renoir. A metal pole and a man in a green Canada Goose jacket appear in front of the painting. He is flashing a dirtbag grin in your direction.
The "selfie stick," our culture's deserved wand of idiocy, has popped up on every street, in every venue, and at every cultural event since its entrance into the despicable-lowbrow quadrant of the zeitgeist. But now, thanks to some savvy rulemakers at museums across the country, that shit will no longer be tolerated. From the New York Times:
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington prohibited the sticks this month, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston plans to impose a ban. In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been studying the matter for some time, has just decided that it, too, will forbid selfie sticks. (New signs will be posted soon.)
Ha ha fuck you, selfie stick. If you want to use it, use it at your home or at the homes of your loved ones or in a deserted area where no one can see you. Don't invade the personal space of other art-admirers with that clunky metal rod. Take a selfie like a normal person, by recognizing the limits of your own body.
"We do not want to have to put all the art under glass," said Deborah Ziska, the chief of public information at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, which has been quietly enforcing a ban on selfie sticks but is in the process of adding it formally to its printed guidelines for visitors.
Last but not least is the threat to the camera operator, intent on capturing the perfect shot and oblivious to the surroundings. "If people are not paying attention in the Temple of Dendur, they can end up in the water with the crocodile sculpture," Mr. Sreenivasan said. "We have so many balconies you could fall from, and stairs you can trip on."
Selfies, on the one hand, are a boon to museum attendance everywhere, so visitors are encouraged to take many and post often, the Times reports. But following the ban at the Met and several other museums in the US, prohibiting the "wand of narcissism" from infecting an otherwise harmless act of promotion will likely hit other institutions elsewhere. The Louvre and the Tate Modern still allow selfie sticks, but one imagines a ban isn't far away.
[Image via AP]