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Where do trends begin? Who is behind them? Why was the iPhone such a success?

I'm pondering these existential issues because I've just read an enlightening interview with Paris Hilton in fashion magazine W. It seems, you see, that she's a tech aficionado, possessed of a bedazzled BlackBerry, a gold Razr flip phone and five iPhones.

Please let me lead you, though, to the crux of the matter with words from the article: "Despite Hilton's longtime dependency on various cellular devices, it is perhaps visionaries like Steve Jobs who are indebted to her."

Please imagine the Apple co-founder sitting alone at the end of a hard day and musing: "Boy, if it wasn't for Paris Hilton, I wouldn't be who I am today. I must buy her something."

According to W, it was the socialite "who took their [visionaries'] creations beyond their wildest expectations, inventing along the way the maligned but ubiquitous selfie."

Can it really be that Hilton is to blame for this insidious trend in our culture to photograph ourselves at every moment? Can it really be that once the iPhone came out, no other human would have thought of doing such a thing? And can one imagine Jobs looking at Hilton taking a selfie and exclaiming: "Wow, now that is true creativity!?"

The article insists that Hilton agrees she invented the selfie. It quotes her as saying: "If a beeper had a camera, I would have taken a selfie with it. It also offers this illuminating touch from her: "I think I have a selfie from when I was a little kid, like on a disposable camera." And now our self-liking images have become disposable too.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on precisely how much Jobs owed Hilton. It's certainly true that she pioneered the marketing of self-regard, something that Kim Kardashian has taken to new and lucrative depths. It's also true that she was followed by a multitude that hung on her every pout. But great creations have so many parents. Was Hilton really the single mother of selfies?

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