This weekend, I watched two documentaries on the Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival promoted by social media “influencers” that went spectacularly wrong, to the delight of many remote spectators. There’s something satisfying about seeing people who built a fortune (or at least a visible presence) on air and puffery brought to the ground with concrete disaster. For anyone who’s exposed to very self-assured influencers, it’s a little disorienting how much confidence they have in defiance of reality, and our own sense of reality gets flimsier the longer we watch them. We know that a lot of their performance is a fraud, a scam, a con game, but the longer the chickens wander before coming home to roost, the longer the emperor struts as if he’s wearing clothes, the more we doubt if it matters. When something fails so incontrovertibly that even the spin artists stop spinning in the face of visceral reality, it can help us get our bearings for at least a moment.

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