Kelso: Selfie junkies enjoy being the center of their own attention


My friend and former South Austin next-door neighbor Shawnna Dwyer gets a charge out of taking selfies, sort of, although she admits they’re “completely self-centered” and “stupid.”

But that didn’t stop her from taking a selfie with humorist and author David Sedaris right after his recent appearance at the Long Center.

I think Shawnna shot the photo just to tick Sedaris off. She knew Sedaris hates selfies. In case you haven’t kept up with the trends, a selfie is a photo you shoot with your smartphone that includes yourself and somebody or something else. So here was a chance to get a reaction from one of her favorite writers.

With some selfie junkies, the photo of the person taking the selfie of himself becomes more important than whomever or whatever else is included in the photo. I have another friend who is so into selfies that when he travels around the globe, he takes selfies of himself standing in front of, say, the Taj Mahal. Although I’m not sure he’s been to the Taj Mahal.

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The trouble is, he often ends up blocking the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa with his face. So you can’t always tell what’s in the selfie with him. His mug is blocking the view of the attraction. Which seems to me to destroy the point of the selfie. Since we already know what the guy looks like, right?

Anyway, Shawnna, who has a distinctive laugh loud enough to call in the cows, really got a kick out of taking the selfie with Sedaris. It was something she could tell her grandkids about, while she’s taking a selfie of herself and her grandkids, right?

“I was standing here looking at all the books available for sale prior to David Sedaris’ reading,” she recalled. “Suddenly, this diminutive man is standing next to me in culottes. It’s David Sedaris!”

This wasn’t the first time Shawnna had been at one of Sedaris’s Austin gigs. Culottes — in case you hang out at beer joints where the regulars would ask, “What’s a culotte?” — are split shorts usually worn by women.

“’Huh,’ I say, ‘you’re wearing culottes again,’” Shawnna recalled. “He turns to me, and we start conversing. Eventually, I ask him if he minds if I snap a selfie. It’s 2017 and who needs an autograph and I have all of his books. He quickly responds, ‘I hate selfies. Everybody’s always posing. It’s ridiculous.’”

So to make matters even worse, Shawnna decided to show Sedaris all of the selfies she took on a trip to Ireland. “He says, ‘Why would you ruin your trip?’” Shawnna said.

So Shawnna decided to go for it. She held up her camera and shot the selfie. It was a moment to remember.

“I snap the shot as he looks up,” she recalled. “He walks up and hisses ‘I %^&*ing hate you.’”

Mission accomplished.

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She figures Sedaris really was chapped. But what the heck? It was worth the trouble. “I will have to live knowing that I got to meet the wonderful David Sedaris and (ticked) him off, completely,” she said.

Sadly, Shawnna deleted the photo and showed him as she erased it. Then she got her nephew, Xavier, to stand in line and buy one of his books

“‘Can we start over? I was a real ass to you,’” Shawnna says Sedaris told her. “And I say, ‘Well, so was I and no take-backs on telling me to (buzz) off. That’s all mine.’”

I told Shawnna that since she’s so enamored with selfies, she ought to do a coffee table book of her with various famous people. I can imagine the reaction she’d get from a really grumbly celebrity, like, say, Tommy Lee Jones. But I don’t think the book will happen. In fact, Shawnna doesn’t even recognize her selfies as selfies, she said, “because they always contain someone else. That’s why I call them groupies.”

By the way, no one has ever come up to me and shot a selfie with me in it. So I guess I’m not a big star after all.



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