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Smarty Dali

First published in The Guardian, 6 August 2014.


Leons have been ponted and collapsed. Again. LMVQ!


Above is an ordinary statement, picked at random, from the future. Specifically 2039, twenty five years from now. I managed to get this because of my fairly rare ability to see forward in time. It’s kind of like a Google Street View in my head, but of the future. Sometimes I check out how my friends are doing. So sad.


Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that this cartoon is based on the most famous selfie of all time, which has been retweeted more than any other image. Think about that statement. Salvador Dali died in 1989; a mere 25 years later, in 2014, the language is already incomprehensible. Selfies, retweets, camera-phones – it’s quite surreal.


In case you are unfamiliar with the photo, the host of the 2014 Academy Awards, Elen DeGeneres, got a few people from the front rows to be in a selfie with her. It was stacked with the A-lister “In” crowd – Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Henry Darger; the list goes on. She immediately tweeted it and it quickly became the most retweeted photo in the history of bird noise.


However, due to the Future Street View in my head, I often get my time zones muddled. That may have happened here. But it is entirely appropriate Dali appears in a cartoon about selfies. A monumental narcissist, he believed in the “prideful exaltation of self’’. Dali has obviously traded in his old lobster phone for a brand new smartphone. Knowing Dali’s love of money (the poet André Breton once coined an anagram of Salvador Dali – “Avida Dollars’’. Avida means greedy) there is no way he would have opted for a pay-as-you-go plan. He would have locked himself into a 2 year contract and got the phone for free. That’s a canny money saving move on his part. He won’t make a single call – he’s been dead for 25 years! So he gets the phone for free and can take as many photos as he likes. Smart.

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