Distrustful of (some) digital technology, yet resentful of the power others might gain by its use, CPAC attendees were asked almost nonstop to consume “conservative” or “alt-tech” technologies. In the hours-long general sessions each day, in a ballroom with thousands of chairs, flashy, high-tech displays showed video ads between every speaker or panel—for The Right Stuff (“a dating app for the right wing”), Tusk (“The Freedom-First Web Browser developed exclusively for Conservatives”), Parler (a “free speech” clone of Twitter), FourSure (“a powerful remote control for the content you already share” so you “Don’t get hacked or canceled”), and other tech companies.
When I visit places, it never occurs to me to take photos of them. I also know that if I take a photo, I will never look at it again. As a traveler, a place has meaning while I am there at the moment, however slight that meaning may be. It is the experience of the moment that matters, not a memory of it, which is what a photograph is.
In the way that burlesque, roller derbies, and tattooing and other body modifications were reclaimed in the postmodern age (though not without detractors), sideshows and freak shows have tried to become something different than their earlier iterations. Many say they intend to be inspirational, empowering, and to realign conceptions about difference.
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