Rob Campbell: Twerking, selfies and the rise of the twerps
There's not much left to be said about twerk and selfie, the two words that found their way into the Oxford online dictionary last week to a storm of disapproval from traditionalists who think the language should have been frozen at the point at which they became too lazy to keep up.
But, just so we've got this straight, I am appealing for some younger folk to answer a few remaining queries. I understand that to twerk is to do a sexually provocative dance, and that a selfie is a picture you take of yourself (before, usually, putting it on a social media website).
What I need to know is whether you can take a selfie of yourself twerking, or is this dangerous? If you can do it, is it called self-twerking, or is it a twerkie? Is it possible to tweet and twerk at the same time? And if someone re-tweets your twerking tweet is this called re-twerking? And if you take a picture of someone other than yourself, is that a someone-elsie?
In the meantime, I hate to disappoint but twerking is not new. When I was a lad, Jim Morrison of The Doors fame was pilloried by old folk for "dirty dancing" and when your grandparents were young, Elvis Presley moved his hips in such a way as to bring about the collapse of traditional society as we know it.
But the obsession with selfies is new, and horribly combines voyeurism with self-obsession. It's a symptom of a deep sickness, one in which youngsters are afflicted by a fear that they don't exist unless someone else is looking at them – and sadly, that's never going to happen because everyone's busy looking at themselves.
One of my researchers was out gathering evidence of all this at the Shambala festival recently, and came back with a chilling field report.
Spotted at the festival were some stars of Made in Chelsea. Older folk might need some help here: it's a show in which rich, spoilt and beautiful young people play versions of themselves, in a semi-scripted dialogue made up of arranging parties and dates. That's it. Don't watch it if you suffer from high blood pressure.
I've watched this dross on the television, so wanted to know: what were they like out of character? The stars play themselves on TV, but are being filmed constantly when off-screen too, because fans follow them with their smartphones in video mode. So the distinction between them being on or off-screen is false.
At one point, they started taking selfies, and fans took someone-elsies of them doing so. If we're lucky, in a forthcoming episode we might be able to watch them taking selfies of themselves laughing at the someone-elsies of them. Known as twerping.