This week, Oxford Dictionaries announced that its 2013 Word of the Year is “selfie.” One person who was less than thrilled about the choice is Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. “You know, I got really excited about the word ‘selfie’ in 2012. So when I see that it’s the word of the year in 2013, I feel like, ‘Tell me about some new words!’”
Koenig is firmly in favor of selfies. "I’m definitely pro-selfie," he says. "I think that anybody who’s anti-selfie is really just a hater. Because, truthfully, why shouldn’t people take pictures of themselves? When I’m on Instagram and I see that somebody took a picture of themselves, I’m like, ‘Thank you.’ I don’t need to see a picture of the sky, the trees, plants. There’s only one you."
Adds Koenig, "I could Google image search ‘the sky’ and I would probably see beautiful images to knock my socks off. But I can’t Google, you know, ‘What does my friend look like today?’ For you to be able to take a picture of yourself that you feel good enough about to share with the world – I think that’s a great thing."
The singer is scornful of those who see selfie-snapping as a sign of narcissism. "There’s all this bullshit about ‘the younger kids today are more self-absorbed,’" he says. "It’s like, give me a fucking break! I’ve been in nursing homes, where my grandma is. I’ve seen some of the most selfish people on the planet in there… And the world that these kids are born into literally could not get more selfish. The world is so fucked-up and unequal and full of assholes. You can’t blame it on the younger generation."
Koenig was unaware of “Selfies at Funerals,” the recent Tumblr collecting selfies taken at what some see as an inappropriate place. “No, I didn’t hear about that," he says. “But you know what? When I die, everybody is invited to come take a selfie at my funeral. Except for my enemies. They’re not invited to the funeral, period.”