The warped self

Levi Jed Murphy smolders into the camera. It’s a powerful look: piercing blue eyes, high cheekbones, full lips and a razor-sharp jawline – all of which, he says, cost him around £30,000. Murphy is an influencer from Manchester in the UK, with a large social media following.

Speaking on his approach to growing his fans, he says that, if a picture doesn’t receive a certain number of ‘Likes’ within a set time, it gets deleted. His surgeries are simply a way to achieve rapid validation: ‘Being good-looking is important for … social media, because obviously I want to attract an audience,’ he says.

His relationship with social media is a striking manifestation of the worries expressed by the French philosopher Guy Debord, in his classic work The Society of the Spectacle (1967). Social life is shifting from ‘having to appearing – all “having” must now derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances,’ he claims. 

Read more courtesy of Mark Miller and

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