The Devil wears Etsy

Originally published at:


I think, you mixed up a Christine with a Caroline…


Thank you, fixed it.


Dealing with addiction is no small endeavor, take time for yourself to keep a fresh perspective of the ongoing issue.


I’ve known more than a few addicts.

I think one of the most difficult aspects of addiction is that you can’t “save” anyone who doesn’t want to stop using, and isn’t willing do the work to get well again.

It’s a heart-breaking reality.


Calloway. Oh yeah, I remember this 21st century Peter Principle case study from earlier in the year:

Among the red flags: Calloway ordering 1,200 mason jars for the event, which overwhelmed her small New York City apartment; asking guests to bring their own sack lunches after struggling to cook for them, as promised, in her apartment kitchen; and asking photographers and videographers to work her events for free (or, technically, in exchange for her “creative labor as a teacher”).


Donaldson’s entire thread is a dramatic and hilarious read, but in particular, she highlighted the high ticket price as questionable: $165 for four hours of teaching on topics such as “authenticity,” “making art,” and “heartbreak,” one hour of which Calloway would not even attend.

The discussion of drug abuse adds an interesting element, although Calloway wouldn’t be the first charlatan who got in over her head and then tried to compensate by self-medicating.


I thought that name looked familiar.

Her story was such a weird counter to Fyre Festival — while that was overxtended and seemed doomed from the start, nothing Calloway attempted seemed outright unachievable. Just every step along the way she refused to plan anything out. A bit Trumpian almost.


I found this to be a fascinating read, but tough for me to relate to as a crusty old white guy who ahem has never used or looked at Instagram.

(insert collective gasp of shock here)


“But she had to be the one to tell her own life story, even if she couldn’t.”…and she was 24 at the time of her book deal? A couple years of selfies and navel-gazing is a “life story”? Am I missing something?


It’s even odder as you look at her Instagram - I would guess she has 700k+ fake followers anyway.

Same here. It’s just wild how the author became envious and bewitched by the fiction she created. Maybe because it was a convenient excuse for things not going the way she wished in her own life?


That’s an interesting concept; social media as a vehicle to construct a “fake life” for yourself, which becomes real because hey, so many people believe in it, it must be more real than my “real life” life. Right?



Or, as my brother-in-law likes to say: once you start believing your own bullshit there’ll be trouble.


Fake it till you make it?
It took me years of instruction, practice, paid gigs, and a salaried position before I would allow myself to say I am a photographer (my main source of income is not photography).
But I am always amused/judgemental at the 20 somethings (it’s always a 20 something) that owns a camera and calls themselves a photographer because they took a portrait of a friend wearing a hat. Of course their social feeds are also full of the “I’m not as far along as I thought I would be”.

We all know social media is a lie in some regard, but yet in a way we all want to believe the lies. Same thing with the author of the piece.


I’m sort of struggling with reconciling how lying functions here. Because it doesn’t feel wrong for me for a young person to say “I’m a ______” when they really mean “I’m aspiring to be a ______.”

It only feels wrong when they start making promises they can’t keep? Like ok fine you’ve never sold an photo nor had your work hang in a gallery but you have a dedicated following on Tumblr - I’m ok with calling you an photographer. Meanwhile you scam your way into an event or nail a contract gig that you can’t deliver on based on that following and yeah now I have a problem here.

Edit: Which is to say if you’re calling yourself an influencer then yeah we have a lot of problems.


Yes, my mind was wandering through a couple of concepts.
What I was trying to drill into is how social media can instill this sense of “I see it, I want it, I can have that too”, in some people. But what they are actually seeing is likely fiction, either partially or entirely. Then I start thinking about the line between perception and reality, aspiring vs accomplished. At what point does a person (or specifically a 24 year old) have the experience to hand out life lessons commercially?
I also start thinking about table top games, when a person has a single focus to winning the game they are usually bested by a more general strategy that can adapt late in the game. Typically a focused strategy vs adaptive is the difference between beginner and experienced players. I kind of see the subject of the article as jumping experience and grasping at air.

See… mind wandering again. Good article. Excited to read more thoughts here.

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I hear ya.

Not directly, but sometimes if they can be moved to a completely different environment it gives them the psychological space needed to get better.

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The thing that strikes me about influencer culture is that it tends to suggest that seeing the thing/having an awareness of the thing is the same as knowing the thing/having experienced the thing. Honestly though we can shit on instagrammers all day long but inflating one’s personal experience and/or pretending to be something you’re not goes as far back as Usenet.

Your mind is wandering to tabletop gaming and mine is wandering to how many bad online dates I’ve been on wherein the person’s advertised concept of self does not line up with how anyone else would describe them.


And therein lies the rub…a successful career in well, anything, requires at least a modicum of practice, experience and planning, even presuming you are creative/talented. Meanwhile young people today are being increasingly ‘influenced’ (aka socialized) within a social-media ecosystem that celebrates instant gratification, youth, spontaneity, and celebrity culture. What could possibly go wrong?

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