Contributor is exactly Ainslee Moorehead
Vampire Weekend’s “Campus” TikTok trendFor many in gen Z, TikTok has become a form of escape during the quarantine. The range of content on the app means there is something for everyone and really allows anyone to find a niche. Towards the beginning of the semester, one of the big trends on the app was to show clips of your college/university set to the song “Campus” by vampire weekend. For many, this was a reaction to the fact we are missing out on a significant part of our young adulthood, actually being at college and on campus. Many people also did the trend in a different way, showing clips of their house or apartment, which has become their campus. I decided to take my own spin on it, and take clips whenever I found myself doing schoolwork in cool spots. The college experience looks very different for everyone right now, but I think it is fair to say that my generation has struggled with the fact that we are losing out on time that we will not get back. Adults who are in the middle of their careers might not be having a great time, but by and large, they are not missing out on much other than their normal routine, but that feels much more significant to college students, who only have four years at their school and so have lost off on basically a quarter of their undergrad experience
COVID in the Navajo NationWhen I was originally planning my trip, I hoped to visit Antelope Canyon, as well as a few other parks on the Navajo Reservation, but the Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit regions in the country, so by the time I was in the area, the parks were closed, and even if they had been open, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable visiting and spreading it more, even if I would have been outside and away from people. Because of that experience I wanted to take this space to try to amplify their experience. This Instagram account records the experience of an organization providing relief to members of the tribe. There are only 45 search results for Navajo in the archive, which I would constitute as an archival silence considering that many cities with comparable populations have hundreds of entries. I know that taking a screenshot of a website can only tell you so much, but it is the best way I could come up with of elevating the voices of the Navajo Nation, which is an important practice to engage within the context of archival work.
Angry journal entryTranscript: It’s been a wild like week and a half. The Grand Tetons are so fucking beautiful. I want to look at seasonal work there in the summer. Yellowstone is pretty dope as well, but I am fully obsessed with the Tetons. I spent like an entire week in that area, then I went to salt lake city and spent the night with aunt Debbie (first shower in like two weeks) and now I’m at little grand canyon, which is a dope random spot, Last Tuesday was the first presidential debate, which was a shit show. Trump couldn’t stop talking for more than like twenty seconds. Today was the vice presidential debate, which was also a mess, but not as bad. The star of the show was a fly on Pence’s head. But, the real news is that Trump has COVID. He was diagnosed last Tuesday and then ended up being brought to the hospital, He only stayed in the hospital before he went back to the White House, which he entered without a mask. I’m really kicking myself that I didn’t write this week. But it's been weird for sure. There was a lot of speculation at first that he was faking it, but after seeing a video of him, he definitely has me. What scares me is how this will change his attitude. He keeps telling people “not to be afraid” of it. This man had an entire team of doctors using experimental treatments and he has the audacity to tell people not to be scared. It’s disgusting. My first journal entry that mentioned COVID was from March 1st, 2020. I was complaining about the fact that my spring break school trip to Madrid might get canceled (spoiler alert, it did.) there were another one or two entries pretty much just ranting, and then on April 5th I wrote my first entry consciously thinking about the long term impacts of Corona. Well, I say long term, but at that point, I still thought COVID was going to go away by summer. I’ve never been the type of person who’s good at routine, so I don’t write every night, but since then I’ve been journaling at least once every few weeks. In this way I’ve been curating my own personal archive since pretty much the beginning of the pandemic, engaging with ethical archiving practices by thinking (sometimes intentionally sometimes not) about what I deem important enough to include in my ‘archive’, which in this case is my journal. This specific entry also illustrates the significance of the election and also the impact that covid has had on everyone up to the president.
Visitor guide at Canyonland National ParkThis object is an informational poster that provides information to visitors at canyonland, allowing them to choose hikes and plan their visit without having to interact with rangers. This information could be useful to future historians studying how outdoor recreation and the parks service were affected by Covid. Because so much was shut down, and because experts recommend being outdoors if you’re going to spend time with friends, outdoor recreation has been one of the sectors that have been positively affected by covid. Because of this, the way the national parks responded to covid is a significant part of 2020, even if it might not seem like it at first glance.
Voting by Mail in Moab UtahWhen I was planning my trip, one consideration I had to make was how I was going to vote. I requested my absentee ballot very early and decided I would have my mom mail it to me to pick up through general delivery wherever I ended up being at the time. Where I ended up being was Moab Utah, exploring Arches and Canyonland National Parks. This picture shows me dropping my ballot in the dropbox in Moab to send it back to Connecticut. I think this object is indicative of 2020, specifically the presidential election. Though elections are always important, this one was especially so and will have a significant impact on the future of this country. This object demonstrates the importance of voting by mail in this election, but also in general, as I would have needed to vote by mail if I were on this trip in a normal election cycle as well. I would say that my personal experience is also emblematic of my generation’s determination to exercise their right to vote.
Joe Biden becomes president-electThese photos represent my experience of the day that Biden was declared president-elect. I happened to be near a family member during the election, so I stayed with them, so it was easy to have access to watching the news, but after four days of being glued to the results, I needed to get back on the road for my own sanity. On the morning of the 6th, I felt confident enough in the numbers in Georgia and Pennsylvania that they were going to continue to be in Biden’s favor to leave service behind and go into Yosemite national park. I wanted to be able to listen to the news while I was in the park, so I screenshot the local radio stations while I still had service, but they all ended up being either conservative stations that weren’t reporting on the results, or Spanish speaking stations. The next day I woke up to the news that the associated press had called the election for Biden, and celebrated in Giant Sequoia National Park, while I was there, I wrote Biden in the snow as a way to celebrate and feel in community with other people also on the trails. This was an important day for American history, and while my experience was not something particularly significant, It could be an interesting story to a future historian researching how people responded to the election.
Social Distancing reminders in Joshua Tree National ParkThis sign caught my eye because of the last item on the list “Still don’t use slower friends as bear bait” made me laugh. This could be of interest to future historians because it demonstrates how different places try to use humor to spread some positivity, while also reminding people how to hike while staying COVID safe. I was reminded of “the strange lives of objects in the coronavirus era” article, and the way simple objects can tell stories. The information outlined on this poster is not new, it outlines the same practices the CDC has advocated for nine months, but the way it is presented gives insight into how national parks are handling the pandemic.
A snarky mask reminderSlab City California is a very unique place. I would describe it loosely as being part squatter and snowbird encampment, part artists’ colony, part homesteading community. The one description that is agreed upon, at least by its residents, is that it is the “last free place on earth”. Given this fact, I was a bit nervous to visit, but I was also really excited to check it out and figured that if nobody was wearing masks or social distancing and I wasn’t comfortable, I could just leave. I was very pleasantly surprised therefore when I arrived and found that residents were all taking the pandemic seriously. I stayed away from people as much as possible, as I did everywhere I went and was able to safely enjoy the art. I snapped this picture in East Jesus, an outdoor art museum/sculpture garden, and felt it was a good representation of the general attitude in the area. I think this item illustrates an interesting part of people’s response to covid which is that while there are many people who refuse to take the pandemic seriously, there are also a lot of people who are doing the right thing because they genuinely care about others. Slab City is an unincorporated community with no government and nobody to enforce state mandates. People might get fined if they threw a big party and word got out to someone who could do something about it, but it’s unlikely that there would be consequences. And yet, people were being responsible, Which to me says something significant about the fact that I would say that most people who are wearing masks and social distancing it are doing it not because they are required to, but because it is the right thing to do.