January 2017

Real Ninjas Don’t Take Selfies

Real Ninjas Don’t Take Selfies
Written by Isaac Paul

The traditional Japanese art of stealth, camouflage, and sabotage, developed in feudal times for espionage and now practiced as a martial art.

I am out with my team the other day on half business half just enjoying that I get the opportunity to hang around a group of intelligent women who are hella fun and pretty fly. We were scouting potential venues for future events, so we decided this was a healthy excuse to more or less make an evening out of it. Upon completing our dinner at a nearby establishment we ventured to a newly renovated location that was formerly a Southside staple.

Upon entrance I was immediately impressed with the upgraded look. The hostess approached us and escorted my party to a reserved section. We ordered our first round of drinks and began to socialize while the DJ spun deep house cuts in the background. Now I was personally in heaven as a “house head” but the ladies that accompanied me were not quite as thrilled. However, as the night progressed we began to notice that more Beyoncé and “mumble rap” hits were being sprinkled into the set.

There is always a point when I am in a lounge or club and it feels like a double decker bus just dropped off a ton of people all at once. Somewhere between drink 2 and 3, I realized I was deadass in the center of a turn-up triathlon of sorts. There was Dabbing, Milly Rocking, Nae Naeing, and a ton of other dances I am certain I have never heard of before happening around me. But one thing that stood out the most was how many people were much more invested in recording the moment than actually living it.

One gentleman in particular who ultimately became the inspiration for this post was straight out of a Chief Keef video. But what I found so fascinating was how meticulous ‘Thugtastic’ was on achieving the appropriate lighting for his recording. It was such an incredible sight to see that it took everything in me to not take a video of him taking a video of himself. He sang and rapped into the screen, and rotated it counter clockwise so that all his “followers” could see what he was currently “experiencing”. He even occasionally acknowledged that live people were actually around him by including them in his video production. I was fascinated. It felt surreal; like observing a giraffe on the plains of the Serengeti. You want to go up and interact with it, but you’re afraid to disrupt it in its natural habitat.

This guy didn’t get up and dance with any number of the attractive women that were around him. He never approached, interacted, or engaged them in discourse, nor offered to buy anyone a drink. Nope. He instead gave his full attention to his many presumed consumers of the “content” he was creating. It was at that moment that I realized that I am either old, or I was trained by real ninjas.




You see, when I was in training coming up, we were told that some things real ninjas just don’t do. Real ninjas moved with purpose. Real ninjas were aware of what their objectives were when heading into a battle and stayed focused. But most important, real ninjas weren’t clamoring for attention.  Real ninjas move in silence. So in essence, real ninjas DON’T TAKE SELFIES.

And look, I am not intending this to be an indictment of anyone who desires to snap a photo of a memorable moment, but there is something that has dramatically shifted and has turned many men into… Divas. And upon a quick sweep of this venue it became very clear of why so many relationships are in peril. Everyone is too busy trying to achieve recognition and attention to be able to establish a genuine connection. The root of relationship is relate, which means to connect. But everyone in this venue were sacrificing the potential connections that surrounded them for something more artificial and superficial; they desired a virtual connection.

I watched this guy take nothing short of 10 videos, complete with retakes no doubt. I wondered how he will recall that experience later. Will he look at these videos and remember that he had a blast that night? Did the 10 likes on his poorly lit videos really supplant what a real life interaction would have felt like? Is he even aware of what he missed out on? More importantly, does he care?

I do not suspect that things will somehow shift dramatically and head in the opposite direction, taking us back to the “good ole days” where people placed human interaction above all else. It’s like mp3s and streaming music; you may miss the experience of getting up early on Tuesdays to go stand in line to purchase your favorite artist’s CDs, but those days are gone and have been replaced by a delivery method that while less intimate, is more efficient. Putting yourself on blast via social media may be a more effective way of “stunting” in 2017. Swag and game may now be determined by likes and shares. Folks are no longer tricking for dough, maybe fans and followers are a better form of currency.

Time magazine recently wrote an article about a study that showed that Millennials are having way less sex than their parents did. It sited several reasons like an emphasis on safety, but one of the main factors was attributed to young adults living on their phones. It shared how communicating with people on the phone more often, and not seeing people in person could lead to less sex. Also, that the dating apps like Tinder place the emphasis on a photo, where the one on one interaction allows intangible elements like charm and humor to factor into the equation. And it was these very intangibles that were nowhere on display, which created a sea of missed opportunities.

I do not believe that the only purpose for interacting with one another should be reduced to sex. However, a real ninja understands that his training is not only powerful, but is to be used for an intended purpose. And regardless of how advanced we may have become, or the arsenal of weaponry that we have at out disposal, being a ninja is a privilege that bears great responsibility. Real ninjas take pride in the techniques that have been employed and passed down for generations before us. And because ninjas take pride in the art, we understand that what we do isn’t just for ourselves, but for the clan. And it is because of this, and many more reasons I am not at liberty to share, that real niggaz don’t take selfies.


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