Love and praise are dispensed freely for all things vacuous. And those who produce this bland nonsense become deified.
Apotheosis, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is, ‘the act of making someone into a God’. You take a mortal being and raise, deify them so that they have a status above that of a mortal.
Near the beginning of the film 1984, based on the book of the same name, there is a scene which shows Wilson (played by the late John Hurt), working in the Ministry of Truth, doctoring articles to fit with the party line. Twenty-five years on and whilst the modern office is far from a dystopian nightmare, the world inside our computers is.
We have all become, thanks to social media, members, eternal subscribers to the Ministry of ‘Love’. We have signed up to devote ourselves to our own self-love and to fan the love and egos of others or, ‘influencers’. We are now encouraged to shout: ‘Go you! Yeah, go for it! Woo-hoo! Yeah!’, in an extroverted fashion at the most ordinary statements these people make on social media. Where has the filter for applause gone?
It’s strange because the vast majority of influencers are not worthy of that term. It grates against me like an itchy jumper or an insect bite. They can tweet or instagram benign points of view, such as: ‘I might go for a coffee’ or ‘I think I might get my hair done’ and they will get 100+ likes. The rest of us vomit and get nothing. And yet, they don’t really influence anything important bar bodily aesthetics or where a few hundred people shop.
But because of the zeitgeist of our time these people wield more followers than some political parties. They are religions in and of themselves; social media is their church and the outlets within that are their Old and New Testaments.
And this is wrong, this is fandom beyond logic. Social media allows all of us to create a following, to be eternal, to lay down our own Ten Commandments and develop loyal apostles who will cheer, whether we declare our love of culling badgers or float the idea of dying our hair the colour of orange vomit. This is not to demean them but let’s be honest, many influencers are truly vacuous — even if we do find this simultaneously fascinating as well as irritating.
So I leave you to think for yourselves with this one question: five fingers or four?