Shutterstock, Harbinger of the End Times
I just want you to know that this exists. Apparently, the Shutterstock universe is more happy, more diverse, and more interracial than ours.
I can’t get over this feeling that it’s like watching enslaved people work in a field (tell me if that’s wildly inappropriate). While we are fighting to recognize the legacy of slavery, we are all enslaved by the larger system that created it. We escape from one prison to find that we are in another larger one. A prison that gives us more choices, but fundamentally: We work to create wealth for others. Or we die.
These young people, because of where they happen to live, because of the options given to them, because they are young and beautiful humans are trapped in this moment, in this work, in this system. These young people are selling their bodies and their minds as certainly as any field worker or office drone or sex worker, feigning authenticity with no control or choice over their labor.
Afterward, they are discarded like used tissue. Will they later suffer poverty, addictions, struggle with homelessness, and say, “You know, I used to do some modeling? I think some of it is still out there.”
Does anything mean anything? Is it all a cycle of living death followed by plain old death death? An endless cycle of hopeless struggle repeated everywhere? Is the final prison just life itself?
Meanwhile, the dance of fake happiness lives on eternally, resurrected from the digital vaults periodically by low-rent ad agencies and regional chain marketing.