October 20, 2019

How to Become Famous on the Internet

“It’s humiliating to consider the things we know instead of the things we should know. I can’t tell you exactly how the Michigan Republicans are trying to illegally gerrymander their state, but I know why Lana Del Rey is angry on Twitter. So it goes: We want to be educated, conscientious, intellectually activated citizens, but occasionally (if not often) settle for the most fun thing in front of us, in order to avoid losing our minds under the burden of all there is to consider. You can call this self-care, but it’s better if you don’t.

So it’s with some knowledge of my own behavior that I understand why, of all current stories, the saga of Caroline Calloway has so fervently gripped people across the internet, or at least across a significant swath of East Coast-media (many of whom are my treasured peers), which tends to be parasitic towards stories about the internet on the internet because it means they never have to leave their seats. The abbreviated version: Calloway is a popular Instagram user who amassed a massive following around 2014, when she began posting rapturous, romantic dispatches about her art history studies at Cambridge and the attendant social experiences that were swiftly promoted by the platform’s algorithm. She signed a book deal for a proposed memoir, which mysteriously fell through shortly thereafter; she continued posting on Instagram to her still-present following, but came to more mainstream attention at the beginning of 2019, when she staged a series of “creativity workshops” that also fell through, outing her as a potential scammer in an era obsessed with them.

On her Instagram, she became increasingly obsessed with the negative media attention, frequently tagging journalists and Twitter users who’d written about her, funneling more attention to her because her behavior seemed so flagrantly gauche, and also because journalists and Twitter users simply love to be tagged. Finally, on Tuesday night, The Cut published a massive essay by Natalie Beach, a former friend of Calloway who says she was responsible for ghostwriting some of her material, that detailed their friendship and gave us the most behind-the-scenes look into the psyche of this seemingly unremarkable white woman who has nonetheless managed to capture the attention of at least hundreds.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"During the debate on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal in the United Kingdom’s Parliament on Saturday—which ended, as these things often have, with a vote calling for another delay—Johnson exposed the most basic blindness of Brexit..."

"Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, wants to change his story about Ukraine. On Thursday, at a press briefing, Mulvaney confirmed that when President Donald Trump suspended military aid to Ukraine in July, one reason was that..."

"I travelled with Bedouin in the Western Desert of Egypt. When we got a puncture, they used tape and an old inner tube to suck air from three tyres to inflate a fourth. It was the cook who suggested the idea; maybe he was used to making food..."

"The ultrasound technician places the wand on my daughter’s lower abdomen and moves it slowly across taut skin glistening with gel. I’ve been holding my breath since being ushered into the dimly lit cubicle to witness a sonogram that will..."

"Even many Democrats are criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit, in plain words, that her Medicare for All plan will require taxes to increase. They’re right to complain. The point could hardly be simpler: All presidential..."

"How do you update Watchmen for 2019? That might sound like a question with an obvious answer: You just do Watchmen. After all, the graphic novel, which has been consistently in print since its 12-volume run ended in 1987, is pretty terrific..."

"The climactic face-off of the 2019 Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg took place on a wide, sunny plaza, between a statue dedicated to the millions of anonymous miners who had toiled under inhuman..."

"Mark Zuckerberg has rarely been so compelling. Facing increased scrutiny — especially after leaked audio of an internal meeting in which Zuckerberg called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) an existential threat — the Facebook CEO outlined his..."