I first came across what will hopefully be a relatively short-lived phenomena while reading a Huffington Post blog, “The 8 Selfies You Must Absolutely, Positively Never Take.” I had seen the title in a news item and decided to follow the thread.
And then I saw the first item: The Funeral Selfie. “You have got to be kidding me,” I thought to myself. People don’t really shoot a selfie of themselves at a funeral and then post it.
Sure enough, they do. Right there in the copy was a link to Tumblr where a post titled “Selfies at Funerals” shows a whole series of examples.
The girl in the first one posts a sincere message, “You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone. R. I. P. Grandpa, you will be missed.” Unfortunately, her selfie seems at odds with her message. Her short shorts seem out of place for the seriousness of the occasion and her expression is dubiously sad, but at least the message is sincere.
“Maybe,” I thought to myself, “I’m being quick to judgment. Maybe funeral selfies really are thoughtful, heartfelt tributes to the recently deceased. So I scrolled down to check out the others.
As I scrolled down, I spied the third selfie in which the writer seems more concerned about her hair than the funeral she is attending: “Love my hair today. Hate why I’m dressed up. #funeral.”
By the time I got to the “On our way to a funeral selfie” I thought I couldn’t be surprised by anything anyone posted in this genre, but again I was wrong. Tongues wagging out of gaping mouths lack any semblance of respect. The message: This is all just one big joke We’re here because we have to be.
The funeral selfie is simply outrageous. It is not about respect for the person who has died. As the term implies, it’s all about the self, the person shooting their own picture, and that is the antithesis of the purpose for attending a funeral or expressing one’s condolences. The title of the Huffington Post blog was right on: the funeral selfie is one selfie you absolutely positively should never take.
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About the author
Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."