One of the objects in current society that is getting a lot of bad press is the selfie stick. We’ve heard the comments:
“It’s a symbol of our vain society”
“It’s proof that narcissism is alive and well”
“Shows the power that the Self has over our ability to represent our place in the world”.
Etc. I’m fairly sure Foucault would have a view on the Selfie Stick – I know Walter Benjamin definitely would have. But I won’t bore you with a discussion of either of them – you can read this precis on Benjamin if you want and draw your own conclusions, comparisons and the like.
But it’s easy to criticise the Selfie Stick because it’s an easy way to Judge the Young People – hating them and their idea that society have gone from wanting to take passive photos of things to wanting to include themselves in the picture of said thing. The selfie stick allows a person to take a photo of themselves and the thing they are standing near. No longer do people need to ask for the help of a passing stranger to take photos. In addition, the selfie stick allows for a much greater number of friends to be included in a shot – it allows for more inclusivity rather than necessarily more narcissism, such as with this picture from the Huffington Post.
To judge the selfie stick harshly is so easy to do and involves not a lot of work. It is with this same alacrity and ease that a range of people are using what I call the Credlin Stick. This means that they are doing a hatchet job on Peta Credlin, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff. The great thing about Credlin is that a whole heap of people, from backbenchers, Government whips, thinkpiece writers, press gallery people and bloggers can take the Credlin Stick and use it to take a snapshot of themselves making Pronouncements about How Bad She Is, hence showing exactly How Intelligent and Insightful they are. These are the essential arguments used by those using the Credlin Stick:
– She’s Too Powerful – as an unelected official, she needs to have Less Power
– She’s Too Inflexible – she’s a Micromanager, just like Rudd
– She a tough, powerful woman who is the Reason Abbott is doing so badly
– Backbenchers don’t like her
– The Government Whip has complained about the Abbott defence of her!
And then there’s much assertion that she’s a terrible, no good chief of staff who MUST GO. (which is relayed in this piece at length)
With the Selfie Stick, I think it’s fine for people to use one if they want. They serve a purpose and really, who I am to judge others for wanting to take photos in the way they want to. But the use of the Credlin stick is narcissistic and pointless. I am tired of the multiple attempts to have her removed from the position as COS for Abbott. That’s because of these reasons:
– It’s a frivolous distraction from the calamities that have befallen the Abbott Government. In order to stop us from seeing the fault in the Government’s “stars”, these pieces want us to see the fault in Credlin.
– If the baying for blood that is currently occurring has its desired result, what exactly does it actually change? What evidence has anyone provided that Credlin isn’t capable of doing her job? I am no great fan of the tactics that come from the Government, which could well be coming from Credlin and her team – the tactics were intellectually insulting before the election and continue to be. (I, unlike some, cannot pretend to know which tactics / plans / actions are actually hers). But say she does go, what would that actually achieve, other than provide breathing space for the Government and a sacrificial Peta?
– The criticism of Credlin has been, from my perspective, overwhelmingly sexist and often revolting – with not just the comments from a variety of sexist Twitter mutterings about her dress sense and looks, even down to this sexist description of a supposed fight between Julie Bishop and Credlin:
Fighting fish? Really?
These discussions have overwhelmed a reasonable question about Credlin through all of this – what is the extent of her power and what precisely has been mistakes from her office and what are mistakes from the Government. Were the mistakes a result of ministers going off-script? That seems to be lost in all this focus on Credlin. She’s a staffer. A Malcolm Tucker of Canberra. And really, people should stop trying to get a bit of clickbait fame by grabbing the Credlin Stick and shaking it all about.