Author Topic: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)  (Read 3711 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2017, 02:40:01 am »
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".

From everything I understand about human nature, this is true. Humans are weird in that we want to work as little as possible, but we become deeply unhappy if we aren't working in some way, whether it's art, design, gardening, hunting, manufacturing, etc.

This is why retired people become depressed and die early if they don't have a satisfying hobby or other pursuit.

It's also why people have hobbies, at all; job isn't satisfying the need to produce? Make something up!

We, essentially, have a fundamental need for strife. If we have nothing to strive for, we often simply shut down and die.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2017, 03:43:29 am »
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".

From everything I understand about human nature, this is true. Humans are weird in that we want to work as little as possible, but we become deeply unhappy if we aren't working in some way, whether it's art, design, gardening, hunting, manufacturing, etc.

This is why retired people become depressed and die early if they don't have a satisfying hobby or other pursuit.

It's also why people have hobbies, at all; job isn't satisfying the need to produce? Make something up!

We, essentially, have a fundamental need for strife. If we have nothing to strive for, we often simply shut down and die.

I'm having late-night drunken thoughts about Buddhism and the bolded statement.

Perhaps, when we no longer have strife to drive us, e.g. we stop struggling ("suffering," in most Buddhist parlance), some part of us figures "Ah ok, we're done here" and quits.

Whether or not this is desirable is up to the individual, I guess. But I didn't choose Discordianism over Buddhism for nothing, I suppose.

LuciferX

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2017, 03:46:23 am »
Strife serves the individual because it represents the inverted impression of work being done.  Without it's character of resistance, there would not b anything against which to cast our efforts:  purchase-less work, or, action without traction.  If this seems backwards, that's because it is, therefore, strife.

I can engage the world meaningfully without saying that it only runs on friction, noise and histrionics.   It's not work for the sake of distraction that I want.  It's a sense of relevant engagement that I'm looking for.

An image that comes to mind is Jean Claude van Dam, to illustrate what is wrong with strife.  He actually had very fluid kinetics from his dance training.  Putting that to work for martial-arts flix though meant that he was going to have to appear tougher than a ballerina.  So, to appease the gods of kayfabe, he's always flexing and holding all this tension to make him seem, well, more formidable.  This then informs the nether regions of what we think a confrontational stance looks like.  In actuality however, all that flexing is a waste of energy and motility that only serves the spectacle of combat at the expense of actually providing a lasting fighting strategy.

I'm so Discordian that I regect the limitations of strife, favoring a Daoist interpretation of it instead.  Otherwise it's just cognitive dissonance for the sake of cognitive dissonance.
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2017, 04:00:17 am »
Not sure what definition of "strife" you used to generate that banal pile of douchebaggery, but the one I generally use is the one that has the same etymological root as "strive", giving it connotations of working toward something of value.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2017, 04:12:03 am »
Not sure what definition of "strife" you used to generate that banal pile of douchebaggery, but the one I generally use is the one that has the same etymological root as "strive", giving it connotations of working toward something of value.

Same. The very name of Eris has this Greek connotation. The Romans renaming her Discordia "Heartless(bad-hearted) Goddess" seems to me a reflection of how they saw the "gods" and the place of humanity in things. Strife is conflict, sure, but not pointless conflict without direction or merely a thumb pressing you into "your proper place".

Of course to say one culture had a better version of a deity than another approaches comic-fanboy levels of pointlessness.
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Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

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LuciferX

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2017, 06:03:38 am »
Not sure what definition of "strife" you used to generate that banal pile of douchebaggery, but the one I generally use is the one that has the same etymological root as "strive", giving it connotations of working toward something of value.
:lulz:
I get the strive thing, only that the etymology conflicts with common usage of the English word /strife/. I'm all for root meanings, just not for pointless conflict.  For example, "working toward something of value", I like, given that the value I'd be working for would also lend significance to the present act.
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LuciferX

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2017, 06:27:52 am »
Not sure what definition of "strife" you used to generate that banal pile of douchebaggery, but the one I generally use is the one that has the same etymological root as "strive", giving it connotations of working toward something of value.

Same. The very name of Eris has this Greek connotation. The Romans renaming her Discordia "Heartless(bad-hearted) Goddess" seems to me a reflection of how they saw the "gods" and the place of humanity in things. Strife is conflict, sure, but not pointless conflict without direction or merely a thumb pressing you into "your proper place".

Of course to say one culture had a better version of a deity than another approaches comic-fanboy levels of pointlessness.

I'm rusty on the Roman misappropriation, though it seems there's room for a connection between heart, remembrance and vengenfulness.  Echoes of the less corporeal "misericordia" also play counterpoint.
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Roly Poly Oly-Garch

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2017, 04:33:37 am »
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?

https://salemplayback.org/

Quote
Playback is a unique type of performance where members of the audience come on stage and tell true stories about themselves, which the players then re-enact on the spot. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, playback performances seek to empower the teller and create a community among the audience.

I've done this. As a player. For me, empowering the teller and creating a community is a happy side-effect. I'm there doing what I'm doing to make my craft more awesome. I can't do that and fuck off some insincere interpretation of a story or idea someone has expressed. If the teller is saying something that, over coffee, would make me want to burn the place down just to alleviate the boredom, in the moment where I'm listening as a person about to construct a scene based on it, it's the most important god-damn thing in the universe.

In general, no one no ME wants to listen to other people's self-indulgent bullshit, but if someone else's self-indulgent bullshit serves our own self-indulgent bullshit..that's what makes the flowers grow.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 04:47:10 am by Roly Poly Oly-Garch »
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Roly Poly Oly-Garch

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Re: Post-Irony
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2017, 04:59:23 am »
I am liking sincerity more and more. I feel like gen-x really did irony to death, and then it lived on as a zombie, and much like zombies and zombie-themed merchandise WOULDN'T FUCKING DIE even when it was long past its sell-by date.

I was sick of it by 10th grade when at a school dance no one would boogie down until the New Kids on the Block came so they could safely disguise what they really wanted to do under a mask of irony.

Even though I was sick of it by 10th grade, at 41, it's still a reflex in way too many situations.

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Cramulus

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Re: Post-Irony
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2017, 02:11:14 pm »
I was sick of it by 10th grade when at a school dance no one would boogie down until the New Kids on the Block came so they could safely disguise what they really wanted to do under a mask of irony.

You nailed it -  too self conscious to dance sincerely, they needed the veil of irony so they could cautiously and inconspicuously enjoy themselves.

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2017, 02:17:32 pm »
Is that a self-generated irony though, or is it a fear-induced response to the very plausible possibility of social mockery?

Cramulus

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2017, 02:35:50 pm »
It sounds like a flinch

regardless, it's part of this culture of engaging the thing using sarcasm and cynicism - to position yourself in this hip cool space floating above everything, untouchable, unaffected.


"Are you being sarcastic, dude?" / "I don't even know anymore."


Here's a David Foster Wallace quote which unpacks what we're talking about a bit more clearly:


“Irony and cynicism were just what the U.S. hypocrisy of the fifties and sixties called for. That’s what made the early postmodernists great artists. The great thing about irony is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies and duplicates. The virtuous always triumph? Ward Cleaver is the prototypical fifties father? "Sure." Sarcasm, parody, absurdism and irony are great ways to strip off stuff’s mask and show the unpleasant reality behind it. The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, "then" what do we do?

Irony’s useful for debunking illusions, but most of the illusion-debunking in the U.S. has now been done and redone. Once everybody knows that equality of opportunity is bunk and Mike Brady’s bunk and Just Say No is bunk, now what do we do? All we seem to want to do is keep ridiculing the stuff. Postmodern irony and cynicism’s become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what’s wrong, because they’ll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving. There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cage.”



Cramulus

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2017, 02:51:55 pm »
And in the interest of showing both sides of the conversation - this essay comes out against New Sincerity: http://www.blackandgoldreview.com/2014/05/05/irony-david-foster-wallace-obsolete

The thrust of the essay is that Wallace (who himself watched a shitload of bad TV, perhaps for ironic reasons) was writing in the mid 90s... at that moment, the self-aware, sardonic side of the Internet was just getting started.

We have multiple identities, multiple ways of relating to things. I am a little different on Tumblr than I am on Facebook than I am here on PD. This means we have multiple ways to ingest and contextualize That Cultural Stuff.

The essay argues that irony is a mode which reconciles our self-conflicted points of view. It's going to be an inherent part of a medium like the Internet. Wallace just didn't get it because “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” was written in 1993.

The essay says that Irony is going to be an inherent part of a landscape like the Internet because of the way it builds multiple-relationships with the same material.



I will close with a link to MACINTOSH PLUS - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8HrO7XuiE

The reader is invited to consider whether Vaporwave music (like the above) is an ironic appreciation of muzak that you'd hear at a mall, or a genuine attempt to distill it into something good.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 02:54:14 pm by Cramulus »

Roly Poly Oly-Garch

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Re: Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2017, 04:19:04 pm »
Is that a self-generated irony though, or is it a fear-induced response to the very plausible possibility of social mockery?

There's some of both. Showing up to the dance with your spikes up. T-shirt and a tie. There's an ironic statement in that.

Finding yourself there, a little sick with cognitive dissonance, trying to act aloof in a room full of people un-ironically enjoying themselves. At that point you're just desparate for the lamest pop song to come on so you can ironically join in.

It's like what would happen if the host of an MST3K show suddenly found themselves legitimately moved by one of the movies they were there to mock.

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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Post-Irony
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2017, 09:29:27 pm »
I am liking sincerity more and more. I feel like gen-x really did irony to death, and then it lived on as a zombie, and much like zombies and zombie-themed merchandise WOULDN'T FUCKING DIE even when it was long past its sell-by date.

I was sick of it by 10th grade when at a school dance no one would boogie down until the New Kids on the Block came so they could safely disguise what they really wanted to do under a mask of irony.

Even though I was sick of it by 10th grade, at 41, it's still a reflex in way too many situations.

Yeah, I still find that I have to remind myself that it's OKAY to express genuine enthusiasm or emotion about something. I don't have to play it cool, no cadre of hipsters is going to mock me for expressing an authentic response.

And if they do, fuck 'em.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”