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"published" or "distributed" ?

Ms. Monroe certainly loved the camera and was known to pore carefully over portrait proof sheets. But one cannot imagine her indulging, as Ms. West did recently, in a 445-page book consisting entirely of selfies and distributed (I wouldn't go so far as to call it "published") by Rizzoli.

This book, titled "Selfish," has been heralded as "riveting" by Laura Bennett at Slate; Jerry Saltz of New York magazine compared it with apparent sincerity to Karl Ove Knausgaard's "My Struggle."

With all due respect to such critics, this is poppycock.

"Selfish" may as well be called "Surface." Like Madonna's "Sex" more than 20 years ago, which came quaintly wrapped in Mylar (and at least featured someone who went through the motions of dancing, singing and acting rather than just posing), it is a feat of packaging and persistence, nothing more. It does not so much suggest Venus as Narcissus, drowning in his Photo Stream. And it is about as engrossing, and as meritorious, as the accountant's spreadsheet it is enriching.


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