Pathos as a resource

Many Flickr accounts, mine included, are currently accumulating Likes from girls with lower-case composite names (“faithgoodman,” “kaylaromero”) and identically formatted Flickr pages: every one brand new and displaying nothing but four or five unrevealing pictures of the girl (or “girl”) herself (or “herself”). Moused over to become revealing, each picture obligingly displays a text invitation on the short affective gamut from coy (“I like to wear tight underwear”) to wistful (“Will you be my sex friend?”). And the pages link to sites in, no surprise, Russia.

It’s an extractive industry — an industry whose raw material is pathos.

Several pictures of flowers on my Tumblr page have recently been Liked by somebody with a pseudonym, an egg avatar, and a small collection of pictures of adults wearing diapers.

His raw pathetic nature is open to extraction. The industry will process him, then equip him in his processed state with a hat, a gun, and an identity: Trump voter.