No, Instagram Influencers Didn't Flock To Chernobyl
Professional "influencers" are now greeted with the kind of loathing previously reserved for jobs like "pony strangler" or "lawyer." So a recent story about Instagrammers taking inappropriate pics inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone sparked a predictable amount of outrage. We're talking about the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, not to mention the graveyard of several brave workers. We can't let that become yet another backdrop for soft-lit selfies intended to promote trendy berries or start a feud with Chrissy Teigen.
Instagram, Via Reddit"There is no greater tribute to the victims who died here than my exposed ass."
But while the story was outrageous, it wasn't really true. The whole thing was started by a random Twitter user with a couple thousand followers, who posted a since-deleted compilation of a few shots they claimed influencers had marked as taken in Pripyat -- the ghost town located around Chernobyl. The most shocking photo, of a woman dropping a protective suit to reveal undergarments woefully insufficient to prevent radiation poisoning, was in fact taken 2,000 miles away. Another had a caption indicating it was taken during Men's Fashion Week in London.
Also, most of the people in the photos weren't influencers -- not even aspiring ones. One of the women pictured in the original tweet was a Ukrainian local with just 204 followers who said she had visited Chernobyl to pay her respects. It seems unlikely that she hoped her long post about history would get her invited to collab with James Charles. Another of the original photos was taken way back in 2010, when Instagram was still competing for startup capital with an app that told you which $#*! My Dad Says character was hottest.
Still, sites needed to gobble up those outrage clicks before everyone got bored, so this got breathless coverage in outlets like Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, The Independent, and so on. Anyway, that's the world we have now. Love it or go live in a cave. (Please invite us to your cave.)
No, The Tax Bill Didn't Screw You Out Of A Refund
When tax refunds came in this year, many Americans were surprised to see them smaller than usual. Blame went to the recent tax bill, which was seen as a GOP scam to give their cronies all our money. Trump opponents in general shared this idea, but so did many Trump supporters who were bitter over their own underwhelming refunds. Sometimes schadenfreude comes at a premium.