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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Dear Alligator,

I would like to submit this as a letter to the editor and CC to Lauren Adamson.

The problem with “selfies” is not that they’re too vain or even prideful.

It’s they’ve got their “focus” wrong.

Most of the great philosophers and religions would teach us that life’s meaning is found by serving others, not ourselves.

If you want to find your purpose in life, go forth and feed the homeless.

Or volunteer at a pet rescue.

Or join one of those environmental groups that remove invasively dangerous plants like the air potatoes shading out our trees and water hyacinth choking our canals.

I’m not going to tell you where to find your purpose in life.

But I can guarantee you won’t find it focusing on your external appearance.

If you take 15 minutes styling your hair in the morning, it’s fine to take “pride in workmanship” in that it came out well.

But if you think you’re better than someone with frizzy, matted hair, you’re not just vain.

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You’re a bigot.

“Hair-ism” or “clothes-ism” are certainly not as bad as racism — but they come from the same dark place of the heart — the idea that you’re better than someone else because of your physical external traits.

A version of this letter to the editor ran on page 6 on 1/22/2014 under the headline "In response to Lauren Adamson’s Tuesday column: The problem with selfies isn’t that they’re too vainful — it’s that their focus is wrong"

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