"... a long-exposure nighttime shot of the van, cozy and lit from within, against a backdrop of stars; a woman on the van’s roof, in the middle of a sun salutation. (There are so many images of vans parked in improbably beautiful places—the middle of a lake, the edge of a cliff—that there’s an Instagram account called You Did Not Sleep There, devoted to collecting the least believable ones.)... The ideal vanlife image has something of the hazy impersonality of a photograph in an upscale catalogue, depicting a scene that’s both attractive and unspecific enough that viewers can imagine themselves into it. There is an undeniable aesthetic and demographic conformity in the vanlife world. Nearly all of the most popular accounts belong to young, attractive, white, heterosexual couples. 'There’s the pretty van girl and the woodsy van guy,' Smith said. 'That’s what people want to see.' At times, the vanlife community seems full of millennials living out a leftover baby-boomer fantasy: the Volkswagens, the neo-hippie fashions, the retro gender dynamics. But, for all its twee escapism, vanlife is a trend born out of the recent recession. 'We heard all these promises about what will happen after you go to college and get a degree,' Smith said. 'We graduated at a time when all that turned out to be a bunch of bullshit.'..."
From "#VANLIFE, THE BOHEMIAN SOCIAL-MEDIA MOVEMENT/What began as an attempt at a simpler life quickly became a life-style brand," by Rachel Monroe in The New Yorker.
I liked the description of the vanlife Instagram photographs, and I found the photograph at The New Yorker hilarious.
I'm interested in the comparison to the hippies of half a century ago. Hippies thought what the establishment had been selling them was a "bunch of bullshit" too. The alternative to establishment bullshit is also bullshit in its own way, so you've got to move on to comparative bullshit. I think the counterculture of today has a better shot at getting it right because they're hooked into social media and subject to instant mockery/criticism. Or is it the other way around? Social media tempts you to do things for the wrong reason. The man quoted in the excerpt above knows he gets the most clicks on his Instagram pictures that show his girlfriend posing in a bikini. How does he know when he's feeling what his heart desires and when he's projecting into the mind of the consumers of his media, wherever they are, getting their vicarious sustenance? How does he know he loves the woman or even her body or whether he's thinking of what other people love? Ironically, the other people are thinking about him living their dream.