How best to describe the feeling that burgeoned within my breast when I read of the tribulations lately being suffered by numerous social media influencers? Hilarity? Yes, that’s part of it. Joy? No, not strong enough. Euphoria? Yes, perhaps that’s it. I felt positively euphoric that a gaggle of useless social parasites had found their attempts to live lives of unearned affluence by tricking millions of cretins into believing that they possessed any kind of insight, wisdom or talent of any kind floundering on the rocks of reality. It made my heart sing like only the purity of schadenfreude can.
Take the case of Belle Gibson. This “wellness” guru gained a massive online following, wrote a book and launched an app to spread her message, which was that you could cure cancer with weird diets and happy thoughts. She knew this to be true because she’d done it herself! Except…she hadn’t. She never had cancer, she had no actual knowledge of how to cure cancer, and she’d been taking the money people gave her for charitable purposes and using it to fund her lavish wellness lifestyle. Now she’s been exposed and fined over $400,000 – which she still hasn’t paid. She may or may not end up in prison – on one hand she’s not paid her fine, but on the other hand, she’s white and pretty – but even if she doesn’t, she’s been well and truly laid low by the public discovering that she’s a lying slab of pond scum, and that fact should give us all cause to rejoice.
Not all influencers are as egregiously fraud driven as Gibson, but they’re all still incredibly annoying. Logan Paul, for example. This prize YouTube knob got rich and famous by being a prize knob on YouTube in that particularly modern way whereby people become idolised by the masses not for their ability to sing or act or be funny or make any kind of work of art, but simply for sort of shouting at a camera. Paul even got roles in movies – albeit movies made by YouTube, which barely count. Then he posted a video where he went to a forest in Japan and showed everyone the body of a suicide victim, and the world kind of turned on him. Admittedly, it’s a shame the world hadn’t already turned on him for being such an incredible tool, but better late than never.
Swedish Instagram star Natalie Schlater posted a photo of herself in a bikini, looking over a Balinese rice field and “thinking about how different my life is from the man picking in the rice field every morning”. This caused a huge backlash against her, on the grounds of narcissism. It was a little unfair, given firstly that if you have a problem with narcissism, why on Earth would you follow Natalie Schlater on Instagram in the first place, and secondly that the entire profession of social media influencer basically exists purely for people to post pictures of themselves in bikinis staring at rice fields. But this is a minor quibble: the main thing is that Schlater suffered, and that’s enough.
It is indeed remarkable, that for the most part, social media influencers like the above and many more are finding themselves pilloried and friendless mostly for acting like social media influencers – which is to say, arrogant, self-obsessed and vacuous. But hoist by their own petards they are, and if you can’t enjoy the public humiliation of the kind of wanker who tries to inspire you on the internet, you’re just not human.