Dunking on influencer culture has become quite the competitive sport, especially (but not exclusively) if you live in a metropolitan area and lead the kind of lifestyle that allows you to theoretically afford things like wide-legged pants, upscale soap, and $8 turmeric lattes — and then to also turn your nose up at it. Because apparently, once you hit that sweet spot in middle class spending power, the ability to be discerning and tasteful is how you signal superiority, thereby making your co-worker Lyndsey’s “super extra” Insta aesthetic worthy of ridicule. Right?
Anyway, those were the kind of uber-cynical thoughts we had while reading Meet the Unfluencers from The Cut, which sure starts off like a good old fashioned “ha ha influencers are so unoriginal” burn sesh but then goes uncomfortably deeper.
It’s not exactly what you may think: as used in this article, the term “unfluencer” is not the opposite of the “influencer;” it’s basically an influencer who is just so...extra in their...influencing that it turns you off the things they’re selling (what we like to call: the basic bitch stigma) because you secretly think you’re...better than they are? Not as vulnerable to the same forces of marketing and capitalism they’re exposed to? Or as as writer Marisa Meltzer reflects:
...my being provoked probably has less to do with the narcissism I perceive on the unfluencer’s part than with my own: I’m not as original as I wish to be; my taste is not as interesting and refined as I think it is.
So, tl;dr: do we maybe hate “influencer culture” and make fun of how generic and homogeneous it is because……..we’re not actually that unique ourselves??? And ‘cause like, ugh, those Everlane pants really do fit well? Well, shit.
Welcome back to "Seriously?", Karen's look at what's in the media worth a second look.
A strange thing about the amount of high turnover in the Trump administration is that the President hasn't even finished his first term in office and there are already two different redemption narratives simultaneously playing out in the media.
There's Anthony Scaramucci, who authored an op-ed in the Washington Post that was published on Monday, elaborating on his feelings the President is no longer fit for office.
Then yesterday, it was announced that former White House press secretary Sean Spicer would be on the next season of ABC's popular reality television show Dancing with the Stars.
Soon after the news broke, the show's host, Tom Bergeron, tweeted out a statement about how he had met with the new executive producer months prior and discussed his hope the cast "would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from any party affiliation," he wrote, acknowledging he thought they were in agreement, and the EP had gone in another direction.
During the casting announcement, he cracked a joke about Spicer being in charge of assessing the size of the audience, a reference to Spicer's assertions about the size of the crowd at President Trump's 2017 inauguration.
The announcement reminds everyone how often major media companies like ABC, which is owned by Disney and has both entertainment and news divisions, continue to struggle between balancing stringent news ethics with the continual drive to make money as well as gain viewers and Nielsen ratings.
One notable previous occasion the network had this conflict play out was in the re-launch of the popular sitcom Roseanne, which was featured in an entire episode of ABC's investigative journalism and news magazine show 20/20. After Roseanne sent off a racist tweet about former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, the network covered her firing and the temporary cancellation of the show. It would later come back to ABC as The Conners completely without her.
Shows like Dancing with the Stars are not journalism, but as long as media companies continue to be publicly traded on the stock market (CBS, Time Warner Inc., Comcast, ESPN as well) -- meaning an emphasis on profits, gains in ratings, and shareholder value -- these kinds of clashes with news divisions and news ethics will continue to happen. This is especially true with how much ABC News has promoted Dancing with the Stars in the past, on shows like Good Morning America, and with increasing competition from streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.
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