Curious Georgie: Silly selfie showed how much Mandela meant

David Cameron caused uproar with a 'selfie' photo of him with at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela

Press Association Former South African President Nelson Mandela
Former South African President Nelson Mandela

Just three weeks after I lamented the Oxford English Dictionary’s decision to bestow the word of the year title on ‘selfie’, I once again find myself writing about the 21st Century trend never to miss the chance to capture a moment for posterity... as well as one’s Facebook page.

As I’m pretty sure most of you will be aware, this week saw a big coming together of the world’s most powerful grown ups at an event to remember a man who fuelled the best kind of changes during his long life - although I understand only 68 of his 95 years were free ones.

But it seems some of these big players hadn’t read the small print when it comes to selfie etiquette.

The Danish Prime Minister, Smiley Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Pyjamas decided the opportunity to put their heads together for a photographic self portrait during the stadium-set memorial was too tempting to ignore. (One can only assume the appearance of Britain’s boss, David Caterpillar on the shot was the result of a photo-bomb. I mean surely no-one would want that selfie on their profile?)

Is this the kind of tomfoolery which goes on behind the doors of the G8 get togethers?

Strange one this. I mean, why would you? It’s not like there weren’t going to be photographs to remember the occasion by. Cameras from the world’s press were pointed squarely at the global leaders’ enclosure, capturing the entire the duration of proceedings (the catalogue of not-amused faces being pulled by First Lady, Michelle Pyjamas offers documentary evidence of that).

Which brings me to point two... surely they knew their selfie would become much more than a new twitter avatar or Facebook cover photo and therefore could have predicted how this was going to play out in the papers and the associated online court of opinion?

This was an occasion organised to remember the life of someone who had recently closed his eyes for the last time, which usually means selfies or disrespectful jape-laden photos of any kind are a universal no-no.

That said, President Pyjamas’ speech couldn’t have been more marinated in respect and admiration for the man who gave him inspiration, so I think we can count the latter charge out.

Meanwhile America’s top man is usually the epitome of class and cool, so for me, this moment falls under the filename ‘completely out of character’. (For the record, I wasn’t at all surprised to see Mr Caterpiller bobbing his head in there, but that’s another story).

I wonder whether the fact this trio of power players couldn’t resist snapping a ‘we’re here!’ portrait at such an occasion isn’t actually a demonstration of the level of love and respect which is rightly given to Nelson Mandela (even I made sure to get his name right). Presidents and Prime Ministers they may be, but it seems to me they were well aware Mr Mandela was in a different class. In addition, I hear he had a sense of fun which I think would have been tickled by the selfie-fuelled furore which has played out this week.

I mean this is a man who was happy to be photographed with the Spice Girls... and probably kept the picture for a laugh.


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