My main gripe with social media is how innately consumerist it is. It’s a public relations campaign for the individual—a never ending advertisement for your life. It isn’t about connecting with people or opening dialogues or hosting dinner parties. Sure, it makes those things easier, but it does so in the way that Wal-Mart made shopping easier by destroying small-town economies and consistently strong-arming the workforce into shit wages while maximizing executive profits. And people let it happen because it’s the American way—power, control and influence are all aspects of the American dream. Sick and grotesque aspects, but aspects nonetheless.

Americans are bad at resisting power because power is an aspect of the national narrative. Influence is the modern holy grail as people judge one another based on Instagram followers. Children dreaming of corporate sponsorships for their future taking selfies, projecting a life not their own, happiness based solely in exercises of vanity.

When I see the dismal situation in Texas, it doesn’t surprise me. For years now Donald Trump has been overwhelming the public with one thing or another, be it an abhorrent speech or a provocative action. It’s how he keeps going, by leaving so many problems in his wake that there can be no coordinated effort to stop him. The travel ban was an outrage before this, the Twitter attacks before that. His campaign was one gasp after the next, and yet somehow Americans remain surprised at his supposed audacity to continue on.

As coordinated response to power died with the dismal lack of a public outcry over the Obama administration’s horrific response to Occupy Wall Street, the selfish nature of America and its people is glaring through each and every screen. Once content to observe revolutionary spirit be crushed by the state, now they will watch as the state flexes a bit more of that power on even more helpless people, with pleas for peace being lost in the algorithm fueling Facebook’s profits.

Posted to Social at 10:48 on 20 June 2018

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