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Paris Hilton says she and Britney Spears invented the selfie

Commentary: The socialite takes to Twitter to insist that she was at the dawn of a cultural phenomenon. But was she?

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


hiltonself

And history was made.

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When cellphones first emerged, we were clueless how to use them.

We placed them to our ears and hoped someone would talk to us. We poked them, in the hope that some bright lights would shine. And when cellphones got cameras, we had no idea that we could actually take pictures of ourselves on them.

Until Paris Hilton came along, that is. With her friend Britney Spears.

This, at least, is Hilton's telling of history.

In a Sunday tweet, the socialite and personality claimed her role in the creation of the selfie.

Behold, a scientific and artistic breakthrough. Behold, Hilton appearing not to have yet perfected the art of posing into a phone.

Some might find it hard to believe that the cellphone and photography industries haven't celebrated her ingenuity and garlanded her with awards. If she is the Marconi of the selfie, let's place her on a plinth.

Sadly, Twitterati reacted by drifting toward the pedantic and even the mean. 

These historical commentaries could have drifted back to raving narcissists such as Rembrandt. 

Though not blessed with an iPhone, he managed to portray himself more than 90 times, so that people could one day like him and retweet him.

It's not as if the current, technologically incarcerated generations have suddenly unearthed an obsession with themselves, is it? 

For thousands of years, humans have tried to turn themselves into pictures of perfection. The cellphone has simply made it not only easier, but instant. 

It's allowed us, from one second to the next, to scream: "Look how lovely I am! Surely I'm lovelier than you! Please retweet."

I prefer, though, not to be critical of Hilton. I firmly believe she was offering a joke. 

Were I to don my art critic hat, I might even suggest her tweet was a wistful nod to the days when so many talked about her and wondered what on earth she'd do next to make even more money.

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