Something has happened to my Instagram feed. By which I mean, nothing has happened to my Instagram feed. It remains as artsy and overfiltered as ever, an infinite grid of happy little squares framing tidy apartments whose inhabitants wear things like makeup and jeans. This, in 2020, is crisis-level denialism. Authenticity has never been the currency of the Insta-realm—that would be Lightroom presets—but I really did believe that global tragedy would snap at least some of you out of your supersaturated daze and into this gritty, icky dimension. Where are the posts about the everyday catastrophes? Neglected kids screaming into crucial Zoom meetings? Asymmetrical bangs after a backyard haircut? The loaf of sourdough so collapsed and chewy the dog won't even sniff it? Something, anything, to capture the mise-en-scène of a year that has left so many of us defeated, or at least with more worry lines and grayer hair? But no. Instead of showing your true faces, you hide behind masks—the unhelpful, metaphorical kind!—and continue to post mirror selfies, perfect-morning macchiatos, and stacks of books about politics and the environment and racism that you are totally, definitely, absolutely never going to read. Worse still are the sunset photos of people touching one another, all normal-like. It's sick. (Those tend to come with a disclaimer: “Btw we're in a Covid pod and get tested every week, don't judge!” I'm judging.) Maybe artifice helps certain types, but not me. Not now. The more you lie, the more isolated and anxious I feel. Leave the fabrications to our feckless leadership. Here on the ground, I need the truth.
This article appears in the December 2020/January 2021 issue. Subscribe now.