This past week kicked off the first ever London Menswear catwalk shows and it was the perfect summation of the wide range and eccentricity of English fashion. Inspirations were present from across the board, from stately modern takes on English Prep, to an avant garde androgynous pastiche straight from the animated gifs of Tumblr. One of the most impressive elements of the collections was the extremely varied take on what comprises modern English fashion. As Patrick Grant, who showed his E Tautz collection, noted in a New York Times piece about the shows, designers have been exploring every facet of the English aesthetic instead of sticking to the molds they’ve become accustomed to: “The great thing about British fashion is that it is going in every direction,” Mr. Grant said. “In the past, people pigeonholed us as either dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists or streetwear designers, and they didn’t imagine anything in between. I think we have been a bit braver.”
English fashion has a long tradition of elaborate experimental designs that have been at the forefront of innovation while simultaneously changing what the mainstream perceives as wearable. Vivienne Westwood almost single-handedly ushered in the punk aesthetic while contemporary designers like Alexander Mcqueen continually pushed the boundaries and artistic decadence of modern fashion, and their influence was consistently present in a number of the menswear collections. This upcoming generation of English designers has really shown they’re creating some of the most otherworldly and forward thinking collections in modern fashion.
Design team Meadham Kirchoff presented their collection in an alternative venue comprised of a two room installation full of dingy mattresses, dollar store linens, and the leftover debris from a night of excess. It was an amazing blend of a Harmony Korine-esque post-rave squalor with a neon and floral color palette accented by dozens of dead roses and squatter fuselage. The look was an androgynous post apocalyptic gypsy dreamscape that combined Eastern tunics with American vintage sportswear, day glo Nikes, and multi-hued pajama bottoms and sloppy boy shorts. At least some part of the aesthetic was also reminiscent of the current Tumblr hyper-pastiche looks floating around the web, eliciting many URL in IRL moments. It was one of the most jaw dropping but also strangely organic collections this season, which completely shattered any semblance of conformity, as noted in this quote by half of the design team Benjamin Kirchhoff: “There is no idea of personal freedom or personal style anymore. It’s something people have lost in London and around the world.”
Sibling’s designs comprised another audacious collection that perfectly exemplified the tenacious experimentation of English designers. It was a futuristic take on hip hop tropes and tailored sportswear with bizarre headpieces and facemasks that looked like mutated q-tips or streamlined jousting masks. It was a decidedly white palette with tons of gold and gaudy accents with intricate knitwear designs and pants that very often resembled baseball uniforms cut below the knee. A lot of the designs reminded me of the Hood By Air homo thug designs that blend sleek urban sportswear with hyper-stylized minimalist touches that automatically invert any overtly masculine cues. There were even bling emblazoned baseball caps matched with a severely plunging neckline hoodie and exposed full body tattoos that were both subtlety threatening and a tad bit decadent twee. Overall it was such an interesting mix and match aesthetic that seems like a harbinger for every rapper’s wardrobe in maybe 2030 or so.
Ever since my trip to Asia, my perspective of New York has changed. In the last few years, NYC has become a tech mecca that’s able to rival Silicon Valley. It’s bubbling with young entrepreneurs who are hungry to save the world and it’s certainly a refreshing change of pace. But lately I’ve been wondering if there’s too much saturation in metropolitan cities and maybe the solution is that some of the tech talent could venture to other locations to help save our economy. Would it make more sense for someone with my skill set to help individuals in other up and coming communities? Shouldn’t professionals like us help these cities by creating new economies and sources of income?
Do we really need more Fashion and geo-location apps? A bulk of the industry is competing in very similar areas and they might be better off in completely different surroundings faced with real problems and their practical solutions. A perfect example – I grew up in Miami and every time I go back I’m astonished at the lack of infrastructure down there. Can Miami continue to survive only on tourism and service based industries? Florida was severely affected by the recession, so it seems like diversifying their income stream would definitely benefit them in the long run. So as Tech Entrepreneurs how can we help these other communities? As an innovative DIY tech generation couldn’t we learn the challenges and understand their dynamics to create new ways for individuals to generate revenue? I think so.
The main idea behind it is if you have an online business or technology skills you can offer your services from anywhere around the US or the world, and with our current economy crumbling doesn’t it make sense to utilize our skills to create our own alternative economy? These are the types of questions I’ve really been pondering lately. Let’s face it – with technology, collaborating around the world is as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and there are endless opportunities to expand our global reach from any home base we set our sights on. What are your thoughts? Would we be more productive if we went to our original cities or suburbs to help these communities?
Carri Munden, the designer behind the avant garde streetwear brand Cassette Playa, writes a weekly blog for Vice Style and she recently talked about visiting New York City and seeing the Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA. Munden discussed at length the impact Sherman has had not only on her own perspective on culture, but also the arts in general. So much of Sherman’s work is concerned with the idea of persona and a chameleonic identity that can be completely changed and altered through makeup, fashion, and specific stylistic cues. Sherman’s use of photography has anticipated so many different cultural trends and movements, including the ever-changing culture of the online world.
Munden’s blog sets up an almost linear evolution of both Sherman’s work over the years and how its influence has predicted different facets of the arts. From the ganguro trend of Japanese street culture where girls tan their skin and dye their hair blonde as an exaggerated version of common hip hop tropes, to Ryan Trecartin’s absurdly decorated, but oddly contemporary caricatures in his films that embody post-human persona and identity transformations. Even Tumblr culture stars like Molly Soda and bon vivant Lady Gaga are also referenced in retaining at least some her influence. Whether or not it’s purposeful they definitely both owe something to Sherman’s aesthetic, where both Tumblr and Gaga have a distinct focus on transformation, cultural identity, and the ability to utilize culture to create and elaborate on an infinite number of personas.
Munden’s own aesthetic for her label Cassette Playa also completely embodies Sherman’s idea of modern day dress up and subverting fashion and design culture to create any persona you can conjure up. Cassette Playa’s clothing is very often a complex pastiche of some of the best in vintage and one-off fashion trends completely altered into a one of a kind style that simultaneously encompasses familiar trends of the past while evoking an entirely alien futuristic feel.
One of the most prevalent examples of Sherman’s influence really lies in the world of Tumblr culture and online personas. So much of her vantage point and aesthetic is found in the creation of characters through makeup, fashion, and design which seamlessly translates to the current world of Social Media. Sherman creates these photographs to comment on what encompasses identity and how easily we can be manipulated through how culture is presented, which is exactly what’s become commonplace on Tumbler and Social Media in general. As Munden puts it Sherman basically invented the GPOY, or “Gratuitous Picture Of Yourself”, except her photos are purposefully imitating cultural norms and satirizing their aesthetic and expectations, while the current version achieves the same effect without actually realizing it’s become a parody of itself.
I’m intrigued to see what the fuss is really all about; not only did it get selected for inclusion in this year’s Sundance, but it’s also premiering June 25th on HBO. I’m especially curious since it seems the style of the doc is a somewhat scattered collection of his Youtube videos, response videos, and other miscellaneous Croker material.
Overall I feel kind of conflicted about the idea of a Chris Crocker comeback. On one hand, his interview with V Magazine made it seem like he has some substance and an interesting perspective of what it’s like to be gay and growing up in Tennessee. But on the other hand, while watching his YouTube videos, he also seems extremely narcissistic – me, me, me and more me.
A lot of his content and persona pertains more to the early Social Media internet famous era, when Facebook was still a new platform and most of our time was spent on either YouTube, Blogs, or MySpace. But with a fanbase of 100,000 Twitter followers and over 253 million YouTube views, he’s isn’t completely irrelevant and is well respected within the gay community.
So the real question becomes is he a genius or just another Internet fame whore attempting a comeback? I guess only time will tell. The only commentary and reflection I have is that it seems like the online world is quickly dividing itself between the content producers and the watchers and how your status quo is only based on how many followers you have.
Which really got me thinking — who was Internet Famous in 2007 and where are they today? I found a Forbes List of the top 25 Web Celebs of 2007, and it’s definitely a mixed bag compared to the current top stars of the web. Some are still around and popular like Perez Hilton, but most of their Internet buzz quickly faded away to make room for the next overnight meme.
Jessica Stam in Dior Couture, Anja Rubik in Anthony Vaccarello, and Karolina Kurkova in Custom Rachel Zoe Collection via FabSugar
On Monday night Vogue did a live broadcast of the Met Gala and the entire concept was pure genius. It was immediately ranked #2 as a WORLDWIDE Twitter trending topic, which is an incredible amount of online buzz for this type of event. It’s not surprising though; when you combine celebrities and high end couture, its fashion porn at its best. The online chatter and responses generated by the event alone were incredible.
The combination of the interactive experience of watching the Gala on Vogue while catching commentary on live Twitter feeds was so fun. It was such a spectacle seeing everyone’s ridiculous fashion choices and the wave of twitter trends that followed, from Marc Jacobs lingerie outfit to Anja Rubik’s naked dress and Beyonce’s barely legal sheer Givenchy number.
Marc Jacobs in Commes Des Garcon and Beyonce in Givenchy via StyleBlazer
I’m also miraculously linked to Ivanka Trump’s Instagram and got to see sneak pics of her getting ready for the event. It got me thinking about the future of entertainment and how the lines are so blurred; with online culture there’s almost no defining point when an event begins and ends.
There’s such a voyeuristic feel where we can peep into everyone’s lives and create these stories. From the celebrity tweets before they’ve arrived, to the post-show wrap-ups of the fashion bloggers commenting on everyone’s outfit. I’m thrilled to see more and more interactive cultural experiences as every minute detail unfolds online.
A new kind of Korean pop music has been taking over the American airwaves recently and it goes by the name of K-Pop. While on my recent stay in Asia I experienced this new wave of boy bands and pop music first hand. Not only are these groups huge in their own country, but they’re also turning their success into international fame. In Korea the term is “hallyu” which translates simply into Korean wave, or an influx of Korean culture into different foreign markets. It started in the 1990s with massively popular N*Sync and Spice Girls style boy bands and girl groups, and slowly over the years they’ve begun to expand their fanbase into different Asian markets and eventually into America. Everyone from The New York Times, to Gawker, and even The Guardian have written recent stories about the growing K-Pop phenomenon.
If you take a closer look, K-pop has actually been making huge strides in America over the last year or so. Girls’ Generation, one of the most popular K-Pop all girl groups, performed on the The David Letterman Show, and they also recently signed with Interscope Records to release their latest album in the US. Another girl group, Wonder Girls, even made a TV-movie for the TeenNick cable channel, which goes to show there’s definitely an expanding interest for K-Pop in tons of different American venues.
Last year one of the largest K-Pop production companies SM Entertainment hosted a sold out Madison Square Garden performance for their diverse roster of stars, some of which even covered American pop songs like Kesha’s “Tik Tok”, which is definitely an aesthetic parallel to the visual and musical component of the genre. Although K-Pop is popular in the US, it’s not as widely covered in the mainstream media, so the ardent fans are using Social Media and other platforms to really expand the fanbase and share in their adoration of this cult-like phenomenon. K-Pop music videos are some of the most widely watched clips on all of YouTube, with the recent Girls’ Generation #1 single “Hoot” racking up 2 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of it’s release.
Musically K-Pop shares tons of different similarities with Western Pop, Electronic Music and Hip Hop culture. A lot of the tracks are a perfect pastiche of over the top trance and electro with modern R&B and Hip Hop tropes thrown in for good measure. Famed East Coast Rap producer Swizz Beatz even recently partnered up with the Korean entertainment group O&Media to a create a cross-pollination of influences across the two diverse markets.
In a recent interview with MTV he talked about his admiration for the work ethic and marketing strategies within K-Pop culture, which is something he said was sorely lacking in American pop music: “They still do artist development [in Asia], where back here in the States, the labels and our culture lacks artist development,” he said. “Nowadays, an artist can go into the booth, put out a song the next day, and that person thinks that they’re a superstar. But within the K-Pop movement, artists actually go through artist development. They take music classes that allow them to be ready for when they do become that big star.”
Aesthetically K-Pop artists blend a huge mix of eclectic influences into their visual amalgam. Many of the K-Pop girl groups have styles reminiscent of the classic Fruits magazine candy colored Harajuku style with different contemporary stylistic changes and nuances, while the boy bands, especially the massively popular Big Bang, has a really diverse and far reaching palette that often times mimics and remixes popular western fashion trends.
At certain times they’re resembled classic but punky Ralph Lauren yuppies, to rocking old school Nike and Reebok sportswear, and recently they’re gone a little bit into the Lady Gaga route, with androgynous retro-cyberpunk costumes, mixed in with a little Harajuku avant garde street style and fully customized getups, awesomely displayed in their recent video for their single “Bad Boy” which oddly enough was filmed under the JMZ subway tracks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (which is definitely another nod to their influence and appreciation of Western culture).
While I was in Asia I was so excited to see this K-Pop movement in all of it’s awesome poppy and eccentric glory from billboards to clothing stores, and even MTV Asia, and then coming back to the states it was interesting to see NYC and other markets really embrace this amazing new style of pop music. It’ll only be a matter of time before K-Pop has completely taken over the American charts.
Throughout the last year or so a new hip hop movement has emerged that many critics and fans of the genre has deemed “weird hip hop”. With their nonstop release of free mixtapes, weekly YouTube videos, and a new more accepting audience with an eclectic taste, weird hip hop has really become an underground phenomenon that’s bursting from every corner of the web. Beyond the relatively young and more tech savvy artists, weird hip hop has had a long and elaborate history in its rather organic and experimental evolution. We’re going to give you a little primer on the most important artists within the movement and exactly how they fit into some of the most exciting and next level music that’s being released.
If Cam’ron was white and from Portland, there would an endless amount of students writing their Graduate thesis’ about him instead of Beckett. Cam’ron and his Dipset compadres effortlessly cram as many Theater of Absurd non sequiturs and bon mots into a 3 minute song that makes Endgame look like Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. He weaves complex narratives and nonsensical witticisms from intricate syncopated homonyms, self-created inside joke slang, and tongue twisting alliteration, all while maintaining the most astute anti-hero / stand up comic persona that’s ever been put on record. He’s from Harlem but his Dada overtones are straight out of the marrow bones wafting out of every Paris brasserie.
E-40 has been recording and releasing music longer then most of us have had fully developed ear drums. He personifies the authentic, never contrived brand of west coast experimental gangsta rap that is seen as an absolute pinnacle within the genre. From his use of extremely off kilter flows / cadences, and his creation of the some of the most innovative and commonly used slang has made him an absolute legend within the genre. He’s probably one of the most original and inimitable rappers to ever come out of the west coast gangsta rap canon.
The Wu Tang Clan has been creating some of the most innovative and absolutely avant garde east coast rap music since their inception in the early 1990s. From their use of eastern philosophy, martial arts metaphorical life lessons, and some of the most obtuse and abstract slang ever put to record, they’ve always been ahead of the curve compared to their mainstream counterparts, while at the same time being able to crossover and attain mass fandom. Every member contains their own amazing idiosyncrasies, but Ghostface Killah has some of the most avant garde and wtf rhymes that have ever been uttered. You could spend months just dissecting their catalogue and you would only be able to grasp a small portion of their prolific output.
Some might argue that Freestyle Fellowship doesn’t necessarily fit in with some of these other groups, but their progressive and next level records have decidedly laid the groundwork for every contemporary MC that might mildly pass within the “weirdo” conglomerate. They have some of the most mindblowing flows / cadences that have ever existed in rap music, which were very often based on the scatting and improvisation commonly associated with Jazz music. Every single member has their amazing individual flourishes, and especially Aceyalone and Myka 9 are two of the most important MCs as far as the legacy of their influence. Everyone from Bone Thugs to Anticon would have never had a blueprint if wasn’t for what Freestyle Fellowship was recording over twenty years ago.
Anticon took the blueprint laid out by Freestyle Fellowship and the entire west coast underground and expanded upon it into absolutely unheard of territory. For the last 15 years Anticon has released the most experimental and progressive hip hop that has probably ever existed in the genre. Besides the releases on their own label, if you sought out the solo albums and group affiliations of each member, there is an endless array of records one more mind-blowing then the next. Even if the collective never released another album, their catalogue will always be known as one of the most forward thinking and next level discographies in possibly the entire hip hop genre.
Southern Rap has always really had a special place in experimental and progressive hip hop. Over the last decade or so it’s really become more popular and radio friendly, but there’s so much innovation and raw energy behind so many artists that could easily be seen as the origins of the weird hip hop movement. Outkast has been releasing some of the most otherworldly and highly listenable rap music for the last nearly twenty years. Way before southern rap was accepted as a genre staple on the east coast, Outkast was making music that they wanted to hear, without contemplating if their fans would understand it. They’ve effectively created an amazing formula for themselves incorporating some of the best aspects of the diverse hip hop landscape; the raw 808s of Miami bass music, the experimental synth lines of Bounce and electronic music, and some of the most interesting flows and cadences that have influenced generations of Southern Mcs. Not to mention “Hey Ya!” by André 3000, is probably considered one of the best pop songs ever recorded; they can really do it all and make it seem effortless.
No mention of weird hip hop is really complete without talking about Kool Keith. He was almost similar to a golden era Lil B before the Based God was even able to lace up his Vans. From his early output with the Ultramagnetic MCs, to his increasingly strange solo albums, Kool Keith is a rapper who never ceases to amaze. Just a short listen of his outer space gynecologist concept album “Dr. Octagonecologyst” to his amazing smooth R&B 808-centric “The Personal Album”, you’ll begin to realize his catalogue is just as diverse and outlandish as the multiple personas he creates for nearly every album. He would have been right at home with Dali and Ernst in the Surrealist movement, eating snails out of a conch shell while coming up with non-sequiturs assembled from discarded napkin fragments.
Lil B has just as many fans as he has detractors, but no matter what you think of him, his massive online fanbase and prolific output has become one of the most substantial catalogues in experimental rap music. From his creation of the “Based” genre, a philosophy that incorporates free association rhymes gathered from your subconscious, he’s taken the innovation of the last 30 years of hip hop, put it all in a Cusianart and out comes the most amazing smoothie that appeals to even the most discerning of palettes. Through his innovative and steadfast approach to Social Media, he’s garnered a massive cult following that crosses all cultures, ethnicities, and demographics. He’s making some of the most progressive and experimental music that’s ever been released in any genre, while completely utilizing every tool within the hip hop canon. He’s abstract like Rothko, a maximalist like Hirst, with a touch of the tongue in cheek humor of Warhol or John Waters to boot; every song he releases is innovation in its purest form.
Beijing is a city bubbling with raw energy and creativity, and during my travels I’ve been absolutely amazed with the creative power of this city.
Within its enclaves, I discovered the Wuhao concept store. Hidden in a traditional style courtyard house or “siheyuan” in one of Beijing’s up and coming neighborhoods, Wuhao (which means five in Mandarin), is the only street sign outside the door. Once you enter the experimental store you’ll notice collections from various Chinese artists highly skilled in a wide variety of mediums.
From high end fashion to design pieces, this store exemplifies that notion that “Made in China” doesn’t mean poor quality products. When the owner, Isabelle Pascal, created the store a little over 2 years ago, her main goal was to defy all stereotypes while showcasing the abundance of talent available in China, which is evident in every piece that’s on display.
From Naihan Li’s furniture “Crates Series”, to the futuristic light reflecting gear by MPMP, and hats by Capouche, Wuhao is full of eclectic surprises. The shopping experience also feels like a euphoric dream. All of the retail pieces are displayed in separate rooms in a gallery style model.
In addition to curating luxury pieces, Wuhao also focuses on nurturing the artists it takes under its wing. It’s important to the owner, Isabelle Pascal, to provide support to the growing Asian Art community. The fashion / art world is very often fickle and they need the proper guidance to be put on the map and give their career a solid foundation.
I urge you to go check out the store if your travels bring you to Beijing, China. You won’t be disappointed.
The last few months have definitely seen tons of new cultural backlashes emerge on the Internet, and none have been more interesting to watch and dissect then the majesty of Lana Del Rey. From her self-produced YouTube hit “Video Games”, Del Rey rose from a meager viral hit to an Interscope record deal in a matter of a few months. Almost as immediately as her video was reaching millions of views, the Social Media bandwagon began heralding her as the downfall of authentic indie culture as we know it. Not to mention her signing with a major label and subsequent poor / ill-prepared SNL performance, which eventually made the backlash movement delve into overdrive as she became a perpetual trending topic for all the wrong reasons.
One of the most important questions and cultural signifiers that’s raised within this indie-meme is does she really deserve such an onslaught of negative criticism, and how does the culture of Social Media change the landscape and sway the opinion of the masses? It seems that a lot of the discussion of Lana Del Rey almost sidesteps the actual quality of her musical output, and instead focuses on her aesthetic being sold to the masses under the guise of indie credibility.
People are used to the svengali wrangled boy bands and pop groups that have existed as long as popular music itself, but they aren’t as comfortable with being sold what seems like a pre-packaged all encompassing musician within the realm of the indie sphere. From her name change, to her earlier more mainstream oriented material, and the nonstop Instagram pictorials with her Real Housewives pouty duck lips du jour, and “gangster Nancy Sinatra” pandering, no matter how authentic or contrived the mélange actually was, it had literally every tastemaker and even their most uninformed underlings crying fowl.
Even Brian Williams, who wouldn’t even qualify as a Guided by Voices cool dad, jumped on the anti Del Rey bandwagon when Gawker released a snarky email he sent to their Media chief Nick Denton, but is all of this hoopla just the Internet overreacting as it always does? Sure maybe her image was a little too grungy polished, like the fashionistas who spend $3,000 to look homeless, but is her music really of such low quality too deserve such a massive indie-meme backlash?
Sometimes what happens especially with Social Media is these trends or anti-trends kind of snowball quickly accumulating muster from minute specks of gravel. Once Pitchfork picks it up, then it’s The Fader, then Gawker, and it eventually trickles down to every grassroots blog and Tumblr with an attaché RSS feed. Hipster Runoff, probably the all time most important meta-scathing hipster blog, even temporarily changed their name to the “Lana Del Report” and for a few days they had literally up to the minute coverage of every tiny revelation in the Lana saga, which was especially honed and perfectly articulated in their infamous Content Farm post that critiqued the way indie blogs feed off of alt-memes just to satiate their audience’s thirst for negative criticism and new culture to dissect and disarm.
Overall it’s really important to take a look at how Social Media can alter and affect the sway of public opinion, even in these micro-genres and indie circles. There’s definitely some aspect of Del Rey’s aesthetic and output possibly being contrived, but with the advent of technology and instantaneous sharing of opinions, these memes and their subsequent backlash can literally take form overnight. Sometimes it’s important to not formulate an opinion until the entire picture presents itself. The majority of this happened way before her major label debut was released, and then after it came out and was number one in 11 albeit mostly European countries, their was then the inevitable backlash to the original backlash, which goes to show how quickly these things can emerge and dissipate, just to make room for another indie-meme to be roasted over the coals.
Since the early 2000s reality shows have completely taken over not only television but pop culture as a whole. MTV has been slowly changing their network into a reality based free-for-all since the 1990s when the The Real World was established, but the 2000s were really the origin of a mass across the board reality show influx. Social Media also became popular around the same time and it seems like both of these now commonly accepted institutions have started to ebb and flow into one another and are sharing many similar cultural aspects.
MySpace was almost an incubation period for social media; all the kinks were still getting worked out, Blingees made loading pages almost like an off road course, and the visual format seemed like it took precedence over the actual function of the site, but when Facebook started rearing it’s monolithic stature, the entire world of social media was torn asunder. That’s when the real similarities and gray area between reality show culture and social media really started to emerge. Facebook has organically (and rather artificially) become a virtual parallel to the docu-reality series that have forever changed the landscape of television and our perception of cultural constructs.
One of the most similar aspects between social media and reality shows are the construction and evolution of archetype abstractions. Every reality show casting director talks about the extremely specific almost algorithmic equations they use when formulating a new show. They need Character A. to react to Character B. so Constant C. can interject creating a whole new set of variables for D, E, and F to become flustered with; and then this process repeats throughout the season, accumulating steam along the way for the inevitable finale / reunion where the whole process begins anew.
Social Media has become a similar half-fabricated / half-actualized venue that allows it’s participants to write their own storylines as they shape and mold the outcome through their personal online tableau; a cryptic little tweet here, a specific photo vaguely framed there, an eclectic Spotify playlist that seems incongruent at first but slowly reveals abstractions in the sense of a fiber optic board game. All of these little details, whether purposely articulated or by accident, add up to an online persona that can be every bit as simulated as the most elaborate reality show scenarios. Social Media allows us to change as little or as much of our own reality to create a linear or abstract storyline that ends up personifying our own persona construct.
Another major parallel between reality shows and social media is the ease of it’s participants to take part in the contruction of their persona. That’s one of the major flaws reality show casting directors have talked about since the massive proliferation of reality shows since the 2000s. It used to be easy for them to find the rough and tumble hillbilly with a heart of gold, or the housewife with golden locks and an armful of existential crises to match, but now everyone is way too self-aware of what casting directors are looking for, and they come to the auditions already in “character”, or they say something like “I’m the such and such arche-sterotype you’ve been looking for”.
The same exact thing has happened on social media. Instead of organically articulating exactly what comprises themselves on a visceral level, people create versions of themselves that are more palatable both in the real world and in online venues; not in the context of “I don’t want my boss to know I went to Hooter’s with my gram-gram for Easter”, but more so that they’re sculpting and purposefully editing out or exaggerating their own online persona to appeal to a seemingly larger audience. Even if you’re 100% authentic in real life there’s still aspects you might edit out within social media to present a more well-rounded auto-tuned version of yourself. It’s kind of like how MSG evens out the five main tastes to create a more pleasurable but inherently banal palette, some people use social media to quality control their own organic shortcomings. The same way reality shows have catacombs overflowing with 14-hour-a-day editing kiosks, social media can be used to crossfade or edit out our undesirable facets only to heighten and spotlight our glorious and nutrient rich accomplishments.