The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time

This is one of those places you go for Instagram. The Manhattan Bridge looms, immediate and substantial, over a cobblestone street, framed on either side by a pair of old brick buildings; if you’re standing in the right spot, you can see the Empire State Building through one of the bridge’s uprights. Imagine a woman, young and ambivalent, staring into the middle distance, white sneakers aglow in the dawn, bridge overhead. This area of Brooklyn, once home to abandoned factories and warehouses, now hosts an annual festival for $3,000 German cameras.

All of this could be depressing, conceptually: Thousands and thousands of us cycling through a location for the same photo, then posting it to Instagram, a platform on which you’ve probably seen this photo and will see it again, an endless loop of likes. Restaurant owners think now about how a certain floor tile might look on Instagram, and light the room for the phone’s camera instead of the table; businesses paint ridiculous murals on walls, with human-size white space, so you’ll pop by and pose, ironic or earnest, between technicolor angel wings; Instagram stories of places and people extend out into the jittery forever.

And yet, on nice evenings in early September, on a half block of staggering wealth, the photo line can seem less like a grim tribute to our alienated reality and more like a fun carnival.

You know those little cartoons of a city, where a guy in a beret with a poodle is walking past a baguette-carrying chef in front of a pencil drawing of the Eiffel Tower? Here in Brooklyn, the tall, thin women in silver Birkenstocks pass by groups of two German tourists and three Chinese tourists. “Car coming!” a man shouted every few minutes one night; a Carvel ice cream truck would inch by, followed by a silver Mercedes G-Class, all while the Q train blared overhead as the metal subway cars crossed the steel bridge. Here a couple would pose in black tie; there some teens would be texting on the curb. Here a black Range Rover; there a guy in shorts with an ice cream cone. A shirtless rollerblader would weave through the groups of women in dresses, crowded around a phone.

“That’s a fine shot!” one bridesmaid lovingly called to a bride — who stood without the bridge in the background. “That’s a fine shot!”

None of this — the intersection of a hundred lives in one place, your own Instagram feed crashing into someone else’s — could have happened 10 years ago.

This long and wearying decade is coming to a close, though, even if there’s no sense of an ending. People are always saying stuff like: Time has melted; my brain has melted; Donald Trump has melted my brain; I can’t remember if that was two weeks ago or two months ago or two years ago; what a year this week has been. Donald Trump tells the story of 2016 again. Your Facebook feed won’t stop showing you a post from four days ago, about someone you haven’t seen in three years. The Office, six years after it ended, might be the most popular show in the United States. Donald Trump tells the story of 2016 again. One high schooler dances to a Mariah Carey song from 2009 (“Why you so obsessed with me?”) in a video that loops in 15-second increments on TikTok; then other teens do it; then a high school dance team dances that dance to this Mariah Carey song as a gym full of teens sings along, in a video that loops in 15-second increments on TikTok. Donald Trump tells the story of 2016 again. What was here yesterday no longer is.

The touch and taste of the 2010s was nonlinear acceleration: always moving, always faster, but torn this way and that way, pushed forward, and pulled back under. As the decade closes with an impeachment inquiry, Trump drags and twists the entire country through six turns each day.

If it feels like so much has happened, it’s because so much did happen. And when you go back and tally it all up — when this product got announced and when that platform launched this feature — so much of the way our phones and lives work today congealed during the 2016 election.

Katherine Miller is an editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Contact this reporter at [email protected]

Contact Katherine Miller at [email protected]

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Source: Read Full Article