And yet: those photos in the (msm) newspapers of the cool kids smoking at the Met, and a series like MadMen likely did more to help us than almost anything I can think of. They have an unbeatable subtext: Sexy. Normal. Fun. Relaxed. And, more recently, Defiant.
They’re very transgressive images. They’re down and dirty, borderline pornographic. Here’s a bunch of hot girls in party dresses, sitting on the floor of a public toilet, smoking. You’d think there might well be a guy standing at an urinal on the other side of the room, relieving himself. And in fact there probably was.
Was it planned? There were a lot of them.
Probably it wasn’t. It probably started with a couple of people sneaking off for a smoke in the bathroom, and the word spreading, and more and more people joining them until a whole separate (and much more fun) party was going on in the Met’s bathrooms than in the main area. A mass revolt had taken place. All the rules were being broken.
And they’re snapping pictures of themselves on their mobile phones. And then uploading them to Facebook or Imgur or Photobucket or Snapchet. In fact, maybe the photo the girl in the red dress (above) has just taken was uploaded the moment she took it. And it went viral, as it got shared and copied in a spreading wave across the internet. So when it got published in the Daily Mail at 19:15, 5 May 2017, it was already over 4 days after the moment this snap was taken.
Besides smoking openly in the bathroom at the museum, many stars took no pains to hide the behavior on social media.
Actress Dakota Johnson was just one celebrity caught on camera disregarding the Big Apple’s smoking ban during a star-studded event held Monday night [1 May 2017] in New York City.
A Snapchat photo of Ms. Johnson, taken by British singer Rita Ora and obtained by the Daily Mail newspaper, shows the “50 Shades” star lighting up a cigarette in what appears to be a smoke-filled bathroom. The photograph was taken during the annual Met Gala, a fundraiser for the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Other Met-attending celebrities caught smoking in the girls room, so to speak, were Bella Hadid, musician Courtney Love and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain, the Daily Mail said.
So would it really be true to suggest that these images really only got noticed when they were published in MSM newspapers? Almost certainly millions of people had already seen them online in social media.
It’s like asking whether the Beatles only really got noticed when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. But by then the Beatles had been wildly popular in the UK for a year (or more), and in Liverpool for even longer.
In late 1963, Sullivan and his entourage happened also to be passing through Heathrow and witnessed how The Beatles’ fans greeted the group on their return from Stockholm, where they had performed a television show as warmup band to local stars Suzie and Lill Babs. Sullivan was intrigued, telling his entourage it was the same thing as Elvis all over again. He initially offered Beatles manager Brian Epstein top dollar for a single show but the Beatles manager had a better idea — he wanted exposure for his clients: the Beatles would instead appear three times on the show, at bottom dollar, but receive top billing and two spots (opening and closing) on each show.
The Beatles had been “going viral” on UK “social media” for over 12 months. Their first hit single, Love Me Do, had been released in the UK on 5 October 1962.
If the internet had been around in 1962, the Beatles would have reached the USA at least a year earlier than they actually did.
And the Beatles were transgressive: they had long hair. They were breaking unwritten rules.
If you want to get noticed, it seems you need to do something transgressive that goes viral on the internet. And going viral is the important thing. When it makes onto the MSM, it’s because it’s already gone viral. The MSM just provides confirmation of the fact.