Now my social media feed is full of people scolding others who have the audacity to try to salvage a shred of joy and pleasure from their lives. The lens seems largely political: as if anyone experiencing pleasure or expressing joy while Trump is president is tacitly endorsing Trump. The communally encouraged state of being is dread and misery and rage. People who eat at restaurants, people who let their kids play on playgrounds, people who walk around the lake without a mask — all condemnable, contemptible. Selfish. How dare they?
But maybe, Perry suggests, the universality of scolding is having an unanticipated consequence. She describes a recent mini-vacation with a friend:
We didn’t share a single picture or post about the trip online. Not on Instagram, not on Facebook, not on Twitter. On the one hand, it felt like a naughty indulgence — something we had to do on the DL to keep from getting in trouble. On the other, it was a revelation: This chance to rediscover privacy. To inhabit my experience without broadcasting it or framing it for public consumption.
A ray of hope, this thought. That what the scolds will achieve is to push the rest of us “to rediscover privacy.” To take photos that we share only with friends; to articulate thoughts just for friends. To leave Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to the scolds, who will then have no choice but to turn on one another.