September 19, 2019

The Power of Internet Astrology

“In a recent post on Courtney Perkins’s Instagram account, two gray-haired women stand with their arms around each other, their gazes purposeful, their mouths unsmiling. It’s not clear who they are or what they’re doing, but the two have planned their outfits for the occasion: One woman is wearing a turquoise T-shirt that says i get us out of trouble in a white block print. Next to her, the second woman’s coral shirt declares, i get us into trouble. She’s also wearing sunglasses, presumably because she’s the cool one.

To make the photo into a meme, Perkins, a 24-year-old comedy writer living in Los Angeles, divvied up the 12 zodiac signs under the two shirts’ proclamations. She then posted the finished product to @notallgeminis, an astrology-meme account she created in 2017 that now has nearly half a million followers. The comments underneath the post are full of thousands of people, mainly young women, tagging the Thelmas to their Louises with messages like “thank u for looking after me n my heart.”

Different corners of the internet are devoted to different pastimes: yelling about current events, posting vacation photos, sharing recipes. Each medium tends to have its own conventions about how to appropriately express emotion, which might mean ironic detachment on Twitter, placid domesticity on Facebook, or political rage pretty much anywhere. But research shows that young Americans are acutely aware of their own emotional struggles and those of their peers, and many of them seem to want an online home for their more tender thoughts. In the past two years, millions of them have found a conduit to talk to one another about their real lives: massively popular meme accounts and newer micro-social apps, all devoted to astrology.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."

"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."

"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."

"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."

"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."

"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."