Tagged: Instagram

LA Famous on Plant-Based Instagram

Let’s face it. “Plant-based” is trendy.

Multiple people, who never would dared called themselves vegan, have recently been echoing the talking points of the 2019 Netflix documentary The Game Changers. In this trending doc, a UFC fighter dispels the idea that you need meat to be a body builder. You can be an aggro, muscly bro on a plant-based diet, too.

Also, in 2018, the New York Times‘s Kim Severson anticipated that plant-based foods would be big in 2019. At the time, she foresaw:

substantial vegetable entrées will become a fixture on restaurant menus, in the way that alternatives to dairy creamers became standard at coffee bars a few years ago. Many diners have started to eat less red meat or abandon animal protein altogether, whether for health, environmental or ethical reasons.

Severson also predicted that plant-based diets would integrate with the other fashionable low-carb diets of the day to create an army of plant-based paleos—or pegans—on the eve of the 2020s.

The prediction about the plant-based food being trendy seems to have borne out, and yesterday, as part of spending time with my friend Jennifer, we visited what she called the “lettuce food truck.” When we arrived at the Lettuce Feast LA food truck, parked on the Fairfax District’s namesake thoroughfare, I was surprise to learn that they didn’t just serve lettuce.

Instead, the “Lettuce food truck” serves plant-based chick’n sandwiches, with an emphasis on a Nashville-style hot chick’n offering.

While I did initially scratch my head about the existence and viability of a food truck serving only leafy greens, I also would not have been surprised either. I vaguely remembered that, in the same 2018 report about 2019 food trends, Severson predicted that new kinds of lettuce would be on-trend. She writes, “expect to see little-known varieties showing up on menus, and an explosion in lettuces grown hydroponically, many of them in urban container farms.”

Apparently, lettuce is too 2019 for the plant-based connoisseurs at Lettuce Feast.

I posted an Instagram story summarizing my surprise that the Lettuce food truck actually serves chick’n sandwiches.

Because I tagged them in the story, they responded and mentioned my post in their story, sarcastically adding, “who knew? 🤣🤣🤣.”

I mentioned their story in a subsequent story of mine—a small Instastory vortex—labeling it “That time @lettucefeastla made fun of me for not knowing they sold chick’n sammies.”

About an hour later, a guy I know IRL messaged me to tell me, “you’re LA famous now, my dude! I saw their post before I saw yours hahahaha.”

Not just “LA famous,” I replied, but LA famous on plant-based Instagram.

Because their post was an Instagram story, it disappeared within a day. In the digital age, things move fast. My fifteen nanoseconds of fame were over.

That Time I Shot and Posted a Video to Instagram and It Became a Beat

Last week, a few of my friends and I went on a tour of four breweries in the Hudson Valley. At Plan Bee Farm Brewery in Poughkeepsie, they had a cornhole set up and a basketball court on the side of their building.

A cornhole board rests against a barn wall underneath a basketball court.

It was a cold day—somewhere in the low 30s—and the cornhole board was put away, resting against the barn. Also, because it was the coldest day in memory, we were all bundled up in winter coats: our unacclimated bodies weren’t yet used to 30° F.

One of us grabbed a basketball and took a few shots. I shot a few photos, and also a couple of videos. My friend Jackie, wearing a winter coat and boots, took a jump shot and made a basket. I had starting shooting just before she took the shot, and I stopped it after she walked away triumphantly. The video lasts all of two seconds.

I posted the short video to Instagram as a post. Over the last few months, I have really taken to posting Stories, but something told me this would be a good video post.

Watch the Instagram video with the sound on. It should loop, and if you listen to it a few times, you should start to notice a beat. I hadn’t noticed the beat until my friend Walter posted a video of my video playing with the sound on and looping. All the while, his girlfriend starts singing to the beat.

The song is one made popular by Sam Cooke, “Bring it On Home to Me.”


It was one of the coolest things I have ever unwittingly and unknowingly participated. A lot of things had to go right:

  1. Jackie’s shot had to hit all of the things it did: first, it hit the basket and the rim. It also had to hit the out-of-place cornhole board and the concrete below. Also, our friend Ian had to affirmingly comment offscreen “there it is!”
  2. The start and end points of the video had to be in the right spot. Remember that I shot and posted the video without any editing. Also, I’ll confess that I forget that recording and posting videos to Instagram include sound. In my mind, I was shooting silent—or MOS, if I can use a term from film studies.
  3. Instagram had to loop the video and maintain a low and consistent latency to keep the start the loop again without missing a beat—so to speak.
  4. Walter had to have his Instagram app with the sound on. And he had to be in the room with his girlfriend within listening range to notice the beat.
  5. Walter’s girlfriend had to have a song come to mind and begin singing it.
  6. The two must have had two iPhones nearby: one to play my looped video, and one to record her performance.

For someone who studies creative works all the time, but can’t make anything to save his life, I am thrilled to have been a part of this. But all I did was having the right friends do the right things at the right time.

The Looming Tower, Stormy Daniels, What Susan Douglas Called “the Turn Within”

In the first episodes of the Looming Tower, the Hulu original series based on a book by the same name, there’s a reference to the public being distracted by the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinski sex scandal in 1998. This was despite Al Qaeda having attacked two overseas American sites that same year. The series uses the coverage of the scandal as a metaphor for the turf wars between three parties: the CIA, and between the Washington and the New York field offices of the FBI. The three units’ failure to cooperate in the aftermath of these attacks outside the US in 1998 were contributing factors in the authorities’ failure to prevent the attacks within the US on September 11, 2001.

Just as the public was distracted, breathlessly following the presidential sex scandal, all of us Americans took our eyes off the proverbial ball. Instead of paying attention to a terrorist attack against the United States, largely because it was on foreign soil, we were obsessing over the details of, as one character in The Looming Tower quips, “a cum stain on a dress.”

American broadcast historian Susan Douglas made a similar point about the American public aftermath of the September 11th attacks. In 2006, she wrote in “The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World” that while American isolationism is nothing new…it is striking that during this particular period, when technological capabilities and geopolitical exigencies should have interacted to expand America’s global vision, just the opposite occurred.” She terms this the “turn within.”

One can make the same argument today. The only time most Americans see a foreign place represented is, perhaps, in the Instagram posts of our friends, who shared some stylized snaps and stories of their trips to whatever place they went to, what remote terrain they encountered, and what exotic snacks they ingested.

And that brings me to the just-aired 60 Minutes interview with Stephanie Clifford, more widely known “Stormy Daniels.” I agree that this scandal is more about the salacious details over an extramarital affair between a then-TV celebrity and a porn actress—it is also about abuse of power in trying to silence her during the 2016 presidential campaign. It further begs the question whether did this patten of behavior continued against others after Trump assumed the presidency.

News coverage such as this comes at the expense of reporting on other things, such as what the Trump Administration is doing with regards to foreign policy. In the last month, the Trump Administration’s top diplomat and its national security advisor were replaced by two hawkish ideologues—Tea Party nationalist Mike Pompello and right-wing warmonger John Bolton. As tensions are high between the US and several other nuclear states—Russia, China, North Korea—it would be great if we could learn more about what elevating these two men to such high positions might mean. It would also be great if we had a clue about where else we might face a potential conflict in the future.

Then again, we Americans might just satisfy ourselves with surveiling and harrassing our friends on social media.