Author Topic: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)  (Read 3660 times)

Faust

  • Tyrannical Overlord
  • Deserved It
  • *
  • Posts: 82617
  • The Greasy Strangler
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2017, 09:17:53 am »
I have seen the counter argument that the majority of what masquerades as Irony is not irony at all, irony by its nature is not supposed to be the obvious path. Its not a new argument, proponents of the new sincerity were themselves accused of being an ironic reaction to what was as others attributed to nihilism.
I think when Irony becomes derivative it becomes nihilism and negativity.

Complex and layered Irony can still be incredibly clever, and original. Of course that becomes a relevance arms race, where Irony needs to constantly evolve to stay a step ahead of the populist use and dilution to banality.

Cramulus

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 130599
    • View Profile
    • Cramul.us
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2017, 02:57:22 pm »
I'm thinking about how the 'ironic racism' present in communities like /b/ and /pol/ created an environment where

(a) actual racists can say their sincere thoughts
(b) ironic racists embrace these ideas ironically... and evidently, less ironically over time



I wonder if irony is something you can maintain over the long term.


When I was in college, there weren't hipsters yet, they were still called Scenesters. Scenesters at my college could be identified by the way they embraced 'uncool' fashion like handlebar mustaches (which seemed pretty out of date in 2003), ugly christmas sweaters, old person clothes, obnoxious fixed speed bikes, etc.

But I think at a certain point, the irony was lost - they actually began to appreciated those things. Cosby sweaters became cool again.


For my own part, I've got this VHS cassette that came with a board game called DragonStrike. It is a terrible piece of film, a perfect balance of bad acting, bad writing, bad effects, and a weak premise. Its awfulness makes it funny. I have watched it probably 50+ times, and that's a low estimate. Do I like it ironically? Or do I genuinely appreciate the shitty VHS aesthetic? I don't know, man. I know that at first I liked it ironically, but now I want to share this experience with people because that VHS brings me legit actual joy.


random thoughts

Faust

  • Tyrannical Overlord
  • Deserved It
  • *
  • Posts: 82617
  • The Greasy Strangler
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2017, 03:55:47 pm »
That VHS was nothing as mundane as Irony, it was a holy relic empowered by divine bulldada. You don't ironically bulldada, you are subject to its glory and it's mystery.

Cramulus

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 130599
    • View Profile
    • Cramul.us
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2017, 05:36:13 pm »
I'm trying to find some poetry that's part of the "New Sincerity" movement. This article has a few links.


The Existentially Fucked Megamouth Shark (2007)
 


The article I linked above identifies these people as being on the same Sincere wavelength:


  • Wes Anderson
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • the Danielson Famile
  • the Decemberists
  • Arcade Fire
  • Joanna Newsom

That makes sense... To me, the Decemberists and Wes Anderson go hand in hand.. feel like they're aimed at this place of ... intimacy? Not quite nostalgia, but the type of sadness and joy you only feel as a child. Think Moonlight Kingdom, a movie who reviewers said would make you think about your first childhood love. I think the word Twee fits here? One blogger calls this movement "The New Childishness".


Another poem by Tao Lin:


it'll get different
at work i wonder
if i should take anti-depressant medicine
finally, i decide, no, i shouldn't
later i am feeling depressed
do it, i say, take anti-depressant medicine
still later i feel better
anti-depressant medicine, i say, ha, ha
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
an hour later i catch myself thinking extremely hard
about a bright green apple being where my heart should








I like putting some space after the poem so you have a second to digest it before moving onto the commentary








Some commentary on that poem
Quote from: http://thefrenchexit.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20New%20Childishness
I think this veers very close to the stated definition of flarf: "deliberate shapelessness of content, form, spelling, and thought in general, with liberal borrowing from internet chat-room drivel and spam scripts, often with the intention of achieving a studied blend of the offensive, the sentimental, and the infantile." Or, as Gary Sullivan put it, "A kind of corrosive, cute, or cloying, awfulness. Wrong. Un-P.C. Out of control. 'Not okay.'" Note how close this is to Ana Bozicevic's definition of the New Childishness as "a cultivated artful artlessness." The phrase "anti-depressant medicine" is funny because it is wrong, redundant, sounds misinformed in a Bushism way (a la "the interwebs"), an effect that's enhanced by its being repeated three times. There's also the implied understanding of antidepressants as something you take on demand, like a painkiller for a headache ("do it, i say, take anti-depressant medicine").

The end of the poem* is a caricature of a sentimental ending; what's more sentimental than equating your feelings to your actual physical heart? It is still surprising and strange -- the sudden image in this poem that has consisted entirely of straightforward reportage of thoughts and feelings. It's also weird ambiguous: would having a "bright green apple" for a heart be good or bad? It's a bit surreal, and Tao Lin poems aren't usually surreal. Is it moving in any way? Eh, not really. I think a poem like this works largely on the basis of self-mockery; if the real Tao Lin ever had these feelings, he's mocking them by writing them down, and if he didn't, he's mocking the mentality by proxy. It's an anti-poem. It could be called, "Poem About Depression." Oh ha ha ha.

LuciferX

  • Metanoia
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 28096
  • fripping moncrey!
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2017, 11:08:14 pm »
Something about how irony used to be, is that it would creep up on me.  Like some kind of unassuming ju-jitsu master that you would pretend to brush off, only to find that her legs are firmly wrapped around your neck, and you're going down.  I'm thinking Nabokov.  It's a calculated sequence of demolitions by shaped charges.  Instead now, with the chans, it's like irony just for irony's sake (look:  irony! ()).  It's a reactive bar-brawl where the principal of subversion stops at the quasi literal "up-endinding" of whatever (as long as it's not me...). Boring, pointless. The recognition of irony in itself is not a point of self-determination that can serve personal identity.  That last point seems lost on most who seek refuge in it, and then they choke.  slippery subject, irony is.



(would like to post better, more considerate responses, but time constraints only permit this.  Still very much enjoying the little time I can spend in here)
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______

tyrannosaurus vex

  • a gas giant of idiots
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 26657
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2017, 03:39:06 am »
It really seems that the currently ubiquitous sarcastic "irony" is a side effect of how our postmodernist society has taken all the sacred cows of the past and shat on them with extreme prejudice. I mean, people are sarcastic and ironic now not as a statement, not even as a conscious choice, but because that's all we have now. Everything else has turned out to be fraud, sham, superstition, or hoax. It leaves us assuming whatever the next thing is will, in its turn, also turn out to be an ultimately empty blip on a meaningless radar screen.

Religion is for rubes, spirituality is for dumb hippies, activism is for pawns, education is for condescending assholes. There's nothing to believe in sincerely, because the world is a great big complicated mess that nobody will ever understand, so thinking you have found something genuine is invariably an exercise in embarrassing naivete. The pace of social and technological change is faster than any institution can reasonably keep up with.

So, I like the idea of a "new sincerity" (though I'm not all read up on New Sincerity the Actual Thing™), but what can that be without being just another "dumb fad"? I get the concept of being sincerely satisfied with things as they are in the moment, but I'm not convinced that such a deeply materialistic approach is likely to succeed on a very large scale in a species that is so demonstrably obsessed with knowing everything, which always seems to take shortcuts through extrapolation and even metaphysics.
Evil and Unfeeling Arse-Flenser From The City of the Damned.

LuciferX

  • Metanoia
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 28096
  • fripping moncrey!
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2017, 06:54:27 am »
The thing is that I find the (profound) implications of irony ecstatically liberating.  Pure nihilism is that I believe sincerely in the complete emptiness of all things, which outstrips me with wet, slippery and entirely overflowing nothingness.  Yes, irony is the captain of my ship, I say, tripping over my fins.
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______

Cramulus

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 130599
    • View Profile
    • Cramul.us
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2017, 04:54:46 pm »
Pure nihilism is that I believe sincerely in the complete emptiness of all things, which outstrips me with wet, slippery and entirely overflowing nothingness.  Yes, irony is the captain of my ship, I say, tripping over my fins.

It seems like we're getting closer to the kernel. I posit that the power of irony is its defense against The Nothingness.


Let me invoke Camus

Camus recognized the emptiness of all things and asked the question "So why not just kill yourself?"

and his conclusion is that even if the universe is bereft of inherent meaning, meaning can be created.

Camus said: let's not make our lives about the emptiness. Let's fill it with something worth living for.


I think maybe that's the guts of what we're talking about




Religion is for rubes, spirituality is for dumb hippies, activism is for pawns, education is for condescending assholes. There's nothing to believe in sincerely, because the world is a great big complicated mess that nobody will ever understand, so thinking you have found something genuine is invariably an exercise in embarrassing naivete. The pace of social and technological change is faster than any institution can reasonably keep up with.

So, I like the idea of a "new sincerity" (though I'm not all read up on New Sincerity the Actual Thing™), but what can that be without being just another "dumb fad"? I get the concept of being sincerely satisfied with things as they are in the moment, but I'm not convinced that such a deeply materialistic approach is likely to succeed on a very large scale in a species that is so demonstrably obsessed with knowing everything, which always seems to take shortcuts through extrapolation and even metaphysics.

Why do you think that being sincerely satisfied with something is 'deeply materialistic'?

What do you mean by "success on a very large scale" -- like that New Sincerity will eventually replace Irony? I doubt that'll happen, culture is too diverse.

I went on a date the other day... I was talking about Discordianism (she actually knew what it was, lol - though she compared it to speaking Latin, thought it was a conversation that essentially wrapped up like 30 years ago. Fair!). And she asked me, do you follow Discordianism as a joke? Do you think Eris is real?

Short answer:


it's hard to discuss... personally I do have a spiritual life and a spiritual relationship with Discordianism that transcends it being a mere joke. When I talk about this, I feel like I have to veil it behind layers of humor and sarcasm. I have to qualify that I'm not a pagan, I don't believe in Gods, and I don't practice the occult. I have to say I'm interested in religion but not a participant. And I have to do this because the cynicism about these topics is not wrong. 4 out of 5 people who will talk about spirituality on a first date are probably intolerable (myself included ha). But it's almost like I have to nod my head to the whole cynical train before I can say what I actually like.

not saying this is some huge injustice - just an observation

tyrannosaurus vex

  • a gas giant of idiots
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 26657
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2017, 05:47:36 pm »
By "deeply materialistic" I mean the nihilism of the (not necessarily accurate or deserved) perception that life without meaning that transcends what we ascribe to it ourselves is unlikely to inspire large groups of people who expect -- demand -- an Ultimate Truth. Camus wasn't wrong, but he's also not very "fulfilling", at least not to most people.

By "success on a large scale" I don't really mean New Sincerity somehow becoming a dominant philosophy. I mean New Sincerity becoming a philosophy that even lasts very long, especially while maintaining its own internal sincerity and not becoming a self-effacing cynical joke. Even directly bringing up the context in which it makes sense seems like an invitation to make fun of anyone who dares to be genuinely happy in the face of such unrelenting nihilism as the kind our post-everything society keeps piling up.

"The Old Gods are Dead." The new ones are also dead, but they're wearing clown shoes.
Evil and Unfeeling Arse-Flenser From The City of the Damned.

Q. G. Pennyworth

  • Slimy Thing Who
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 82792
  • QUEEN BITCH OF FLYERS
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2017, 07:31:06 pm »
Okay, here goes.

There are people for whom Camus' resolution is deeply unsatisfying, and potentially unworkable. They're incapable of or unwilling to figure this shit out and come to a conclusion that's worth living for. They're cabbages, in Discordian parlance. They're the people who cannot handle the Strange Times. There's a million ways to end up there, intellectual laziness, poverty or diseased-caused lack of spoons, simple dullness, anti-creative indoctrination...

Discordianism fails is when it tells people to shit on the cabbages. It's not a crime to want the universe to make some fucking sense, and it's shitty as hell to dump all over people who haven't had the opportunity to sit around reading fucked up shit and practicing at thinking even weirder things. It's okay to want your basic needs met, and to not want people going GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE at you while you're handling your shit.

But the Future is coming, and right now I don't see where the cabbages end up in it. Where will they work? The factories full of literal robots? The fields full of actual robots? The service jobs replaced with self-serve kiosks? If you aren't a scientist or a creative, what the fuck does The Future have for you? Sure, they can regrow your liver from stem cells, but you were drinking yourself to death for a reason.

I remember a line from The Yellow Wallpaper, which I read for school because I went to a fantastic high school and I will fight you.
Quote
So I take phosphates or phosphites – whichever it is, and tonics, and   journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and chance, would do me good

Humanitarianism hasn't given people something meaningful to wrap themselves around, it delivers Camus. Tyson and Nye and the secularists all give us Camus, and expect everyone to be happy with it. It's not enough. If your Future doesn't have a place for the dull, for the intellectually lazy, for the sick and exhausted, what the hell kind of Future is it, anyway? And how can you expect the cabbages to do anything but fight it tooth and nail?
Overheating Pheremone Pustule of Last Saturday's Jiggle Fun| _xgeWireToEvent: Unknown extension 131, this should never happen.

Don't fucking judge me, I've got tentacles for a face.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87074
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2017, 08:44:59 pm »
I lean away from what I call the "Protestant Work Ethic" theory, where a human is only satisfied when they are producing something of value.  While I understand that most people do not want to be the hedonistic meat sacks in "Wall-E", I feel that most people wouldn't do that if their basic survival needs were met.  Some would, of course, since humans come in all flavors -- but once the initial period of relief passed ("I'm gonna sleep all day and get drunk a lot!"), I feel that people would start looking for something to do, independent of "earning money".  And again, many people would indeed want to make more money, but many wouldn't. 

So, the idea of people wanting something other than existentialism or science is understandable, but I don't think a line should be drawn straight from that to "everyone wants a job".

Cramulus

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 130599
    • View Profile
    • Cramul.us
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2017, 08:57:16 pm »
Quote
There are people for whom Camus' resolution is deeply unsatisfying, and potentially unworkable. They're incapable of or unwilling to figure this shit out and come to a conclusion that's worth living for. They're cabbages, in Discordian parlance. They're the people who cannot handle the Strange Times. There's a million ways to end up there, intellectual laziness, poverty or diseased-caused lack of spoons, simple dullness, anti-creative indoctrination...



I don't know how to address the economic side of it, how people will be okay in a jobless world. Better resources for going off grid is all I can think of right now.
 
But as for Camus & the quest for meaning - the Spectacle is a meaning factory. In the absence of jobs, I think a bunch of people will latch onto entertainment or volunteerism or the arts. Circus et paninis, etc.

Q. G. Pennyworth

  • Slimy Thing Who
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 82792
  • QUEEN BITCH OF FLYERS
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2017, 09:08:08 pm »
I lean away from what I call the "Protestant Work Ethic" theory, where a human is only satisfied when they are producing something of value.  While I understand that most people do not want to be the hedonistic meat sacks in "Wall-E", I feel that most people wouldn't do that if their basic survival needs were met.  Some would, of course, since humans come in all flavors -- but once the initial period of relief passed ("I'm gonna sleep all day and get drunk a lot!"), I feel that people would start looking for something to do, independent of "earning money".  And again, many people would indeed want to make more money, but many wouldn't. 

So, the idea of people wanting something other than existentialism or science is understandable, but I don't think a line should be drawn straight from that to "everyone wants a job".

I guess this is a little in Protestant Work Ethic territory, but I'm less thinking about Jobby Job Jobs and more Something To Do. I don't really think most folks can be happy long term without the perception that they are Doing Something, however vague that notion is and however little Something they do on a given day. There are of course the hedonists who will be okay with just consuming the culture others are creating, but I believe they'd be a minority.
Overheating Pheremone Pustule of Last Saturday's Jiggle Fun| _xgeWireToEvent: Unknown extension 131, this should never happen.

Don't fucking judge me, I've got tentacles for a face.

LuciferX

  • Metanoia
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 28096
  • fripping moncrey!
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2017, 11:47:04 pm »

Let me invoke Camus [...]
[H]is conclusion is that even if the universe is bereft of inherent meaning, meaning can be created.

Camus said: let's not make our lives about the emptiness. Let's fill it with something worth living for.


I think maybe that's the guts of what we're talking about



I also enjoyed M.M. Ponty's articulation of meaning-giving as having both centrifugal and centripetal polarities.  Problem there is how to understand the relevance-relation of meaningful differences.  Usually instantiated as subject/object, self/world, individual/society; they are always and only understood in the shadow of empty things.  Then also my meaning-giving becomes empty, a simulation/simulacra.  So the question is, how do things go from zero to one?

I don't go camping nearly as often as I should, a fact evinced on my last trip by the food and clothing I thought would be adequate.  Cold and hunger not registering, I rose to look at the moon a tad too quickly and had the strangest head-rush.  Practically fainting (probably the off oranges) I suddenly found myself in a Berkeleyesque staged-version of the campsite.  Similar yet entirely different, it was like the space had been Disneyfied to look like the ride Pirates of the Caribbean.  Anyhow, that was also all I had.

What I mean is that I knew something was different, but I had nothing upon which to base that comparison.  I was in some kind of a fugue state, like a short circuit, with no determinate access to my particular sense of self.  It was like I had jumped into a different time-line, or slipped into a crack between worlds (words...). Capacity to clearly identify things and people substituted with fuzzy facades.  Point being, even as the world slipped away, the past vaporized, self dismantled, there was not also a dissolution of meaning or importance.  To the contrary, the "realness" of that state was entirely inescapable, the moment was unpostponable.

So I suppose what I'm getting at is that just because we give something meaning, which may or not be inherent, this does not make the sense of meaning any less relevant.  It is an entirely too permissive universe that humbly calls for us to accept that it provides the ground of possibility for our interrelation with it to be meaningfully nurtured, or not.
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______

tyrannosaurus vex

  • a gas giant of idiots
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 26657
    • View Profile
Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2017, 01:58:33 am »
I think I'm getting an idea of what this New Sincerity is, but the more I gaze into the Navel of Omniscience, the less I see it as an advancement. What is needed to counteract cynicism and nihilism is not to do an about-face and consciously reject the temptation to irony. Forcing myself to be satisfied with a meaning which I am also consciously (or at least upon reflection) creating, to the exclusion of every other possible meaning, is -- at least to me -- the epitome of nihilism and cynicism. To say, "This means nothing, therefore make it mean whatever you want," is to admit the ultimate futility of communicating or participating with others in a grander, universal "reality" that applies objectively and regardless of your own mental prodding. It feels one-sided, solipsistic, and masturbatory. Not that that's evil -- it just doesn't float my boat, man.

At the same time, any such "universal reality", even if it did exist, is unlikely to translate any more readily than a subjective meaning we individually ascribe to things. As has been shown in psychological studies, the way we experience and remember the very physical world we definitely share varies from person to person and even from time to time in the mind of a single person. Thus it's nearly impossible to communicate anything of "profound" meaning even when all the variables can be agreed upon. New Sincerity operates at this layer of experience -- the one where you and I both see Evel Knievel, gasp at his sick mid-air motor-batics, and agree "that was awesome." And it is awesome. It's exactly the right amount of awesome, too, and furthermore, that's all it needs to be. And it's a beautiful thing.

But not everything in human experience is a kickass white dude driving a motorcycle through the sky. Some things experienced are incredibly personal, incredibly subjective, and yet we still find ourselves needing to communicate these things and finding some common thread there that connects us. Sure, a lot of this stuff is hocus-pocus and superstition. But just as the distinction between "inherent" and "ascribed" meaning has not bearing on the value of that meaning, neither does the distinction between an "objective" and "subjective" experience have any bearing on the realness of that experience -- or on the inevitable desire to share it with someone. How does New Sincerity deal with these things? Do we deny the reality of spiritual experiences just because they do not register on a Gauss meter? Or do we take some cheap and entirely dissatisfying cop-out by politely smiling and nodding while some loon tells us how he had an epiphany about something, only to find ourselves met with the same vacant politeness when we try to relate our own thoughts about life, the universe, and everything?

Probably, the most reasonable and measured reaction to such a question is some variation of "meh, just educate yourself about how <scientific field> work and you'll stop fantasizing about <insert ridiculous metaphysical claptrap here>." But this sort of attitude is exactly where cynical postmodernism gets its continuing life force. It's a whack-a-mole game of shooting down every nonsensical idea that pops up in an endless array of incarnations of something that keeps refusing to be satisfied. That something is the point that, I think, New Sincerity is blind to.
Evil and Unfeeling Arse-Flenser From The City of the Damned.