Ezra Koenig

Oxford Dictionaries releases its new word of the year around this time (last year it was verb usage of “gif”) and the “word of 2013″ has been announced. Selfie (a term still new enough that I battle with auto-corrected every time I type it) is now officially defined by Oxford Dictionary as: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” While linguistics scholars may lament, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (who, along with Sufjan Stevens, is one of the most linguistically informed indie rock stars) is celebrating. As he told Rolling Stone in a recent interview he’s a big fan of people posting selfies, and explains his feelings in a surprisingly earnest way:

“I’m definitely pro-selfie, 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.

There’s all this bullshit about ’the younger kids today are more self-absorbed.’ 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.”

(via Rolling Stone)

Koenig’s not just fronting either, check out his countless selfies here, and above see him pulling off the extremely difficult “Holy Trinity” selfie, which is definitely not recommended for novices.

Comments (16)
  1. Dear Ezra Koenig,

    As a member of the millennial generational who is also equivocal to your age, I feel that you are making a grand assumption about your peers who criticize “selfies.” I do not dispute your claims that there are individuals out there who take an easier, more cynical position against them by merely condemning them as vain and self-absorbed (which they essentially are,) but there is also another dimension to the practice that lingers within a dangerous culture of image crafting and posturing for the approval of others.

    I cannot help but feel as the millennial generation grows up with social media apps and sharing as part of their daily lives and interaction, such practices become something akin to a popularity contest no better than the popular kids in high school always having the coolest clothe. It in itself can easily breed contempt and self-esteem problems, especially among impressionable teenagers. It’s been studied at great length that the more focus we put on other peoples’ lives as seen through the social media filter, there is a group of depressed individuals who are further believers of living their lives in earnest for every group of individuals who exfoliate he blemishes out of their lives through an Instagram filter.

    To someone who is in their late 20s and early 30s, the difference between reality and social media reality is easily discernible, although I must admit, I often find myself measuring myself up against what I see going on in my peers’ facebook version lives and suffering the occasional / often existential crisis. At any rate, selfies are more so of a “nuisance” adults can easily choose to ignore or carelessly embrace without regard to our public profiles and careers, but as an artist of your stature whose demographic does encompass these younger, impressionable social media users, it’s somewhat narrow-minded for you to demonize the selfie’s critics without taking into account its underlying negative consequences.

    There’s a certain sense of peer pressure in your words to conform to the practice of selfie, which I honestly do believe is no better than advising today’s kids into succumbing to the peer pressures of alcohol, sex, drugs or conformity in style. Maybe the high school punks don’t want to be like the rest of their classmates, and their revolt is against the selfie, just as it was for some of us against Abercrombie. I assume you and your band can relate to this notion — maybe not in a fashion label sense, but lifestyle sense — so it’s with disappointment to read a statement of such conformist ideals.

  2. Selfie is a funny word

  3. ” I don’t need to see a picture of the sky, the trees, plants. There’s only one you.”


    • What Ezra doesn’t realize is that I actually have a whole closet full of spares I have collected, just in case anything should ever happen to my original.

  4. selfie’s out; selfy is in. the man himself has spoken.


  5. Ezra likes taking pictures of himself? I don’t believe it!

  6. There’s only one you you you you and ima drink to that

  7. After the break we’ll find out what Kurt Cobain would look like today…in a selfie. Also, how much heroin in the backseat of your car is too much? and is ice cream really vegan? All coming up on stereogum live

  8. Would you run this story if it wasn’t picked up by pitchfork’s echo chamber thing?

  9. It’s really an “In Defense of Selfies” piece that Stereogum didn’t have to pay for.

    Resourceful, I like it!

  10. i love this dude. follow him on twitter, @arzE. you’ll be happy you dud.

  11. i feel sry for everyone who doesn’t get his jokes

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