An insider’s view of the corruption of social justice spurred on by the mass social media fameoisie narcissism, where everyone gets to spout off and get their 15-minutes of “fame:”
Because of social media, never before have so many people been famous. Many friends of mine have 40,000-plus followers; many of them have close to a million. Of Instagram’s one-billion-plus users, only 9.1 percent have fewer than a thousand followers, whereas 30 percent have between 1,000 and 10,000, 36.7 percent have 10,000 to 100,000, 19.5 percent have 100,000 to a million and 0.5 percent have over 10 million. This is a large and entirely new social demographic: a ‘famous-class’, or ‘fameoisie’, if you will. Unlike material wealth, there is no tax on this fame, and yet it creates divisions in society and confers advantages to people which are extremely unjust. It is often very un-meritocratically derived — an inordinate number of the fameoisie have parents who are also famous. In fact, I can’t think of a single other industry that is so nepotistic. Yet they are almost all strict followers of woke ideology.
The character trait that typically accompanies fame is extreme narcissism. Many friends quickly went messianically deranged when their social media accounts exploded with followers. I remember being in the ‘backstage’ area of a Bernie rally thinking that it felt less like a protest and more like the greenroom at a pop concert. People chatted to each other distractedly, glancing every few seconds at their phones or over each other’s shoulders for someone more famous to talk to before going on stage to passionately expostulate on the evils of inequality. For all its supposed utopianism, this is a cynically competitive and rigidly hierarchical scene.
Social justice has become a product of social media, which itself exists not to make the world more equal but to make a small number of people in Silicon Valley excessively rich.
The blurring of the lines between social media and social justice was exemplified with excruciating awkwardness by the patronizing trend of white celebrities giving black celebrities the logins to their social media accounts. The famous Brit Victoria Beckham let a slightly less famous Brit, June Sarpong OBE, take over her Instagram, which will undoubtedly go down with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts as a seminal moment in the history of the civil rights movement. The last time I saw June was in the ‘Equality Lounge’ at Davos, where guests drank Veuve Clicquot courtesy of sponsors, PwC, who had just been exposed for their role in helping Isabel dos Santos steal billions from Angola.
We are so trapped within the algorithm that we’re blind to the fact that social justice is no longer a political movement but a branding exercise. We are not activists and revolutionaries but consumers, liking and sharing videos and memes about democracy and equality on phones built by serfs in faraway fiefdoms. This is why the social justice movement has been so rapidly and seamlessly adopted by corporate America. It’s all PR with no action. When you walk into the lobby of Netflix’s headquarters in LA, you are greeted by a huge megaphone prop with the words ‘Stay Woke’ spray painted across it — this from a company that edits its content at the request of the Saudi Arabian regime.