"Truth is what should be laughed at. One may dream of a culture where everyone bursts into laughter when someone says: this is true, this is real. " -- Baudrillard, Radical Thought
The initial article was created months ago, when ensorcel and my thoughts on the subject were significantly different. It's now archived for your perusal, forever. This document is like a sequel, only it's the same article.
This comes at a time when the discourse about "post-truth" has come and went, but it was drafted before then, at a time when anxieties in my region had seemed to manifest in violent or terrifying encounters involving people dressed as clowns. After nothing happened on a given date, prophesied by 4chan, the clown news faded rapidly.
Recently, I've learned that modern clowning has roots in the usage of blackface and minstrel performances, which makes "clown lives matter" all the more tasteless.
A perfect application of Baudrillard's philosophy with regards to Black Lives Matter is the simulacrum of
Blue Pig Lives Matter to BLM - due to the imitation's distance from the original, between that PLM claims to address the concerns of a class in no way oppressed, and that the role of police is strictly performative, and voluntary - one chooses to become a cop in much the same way one chooses to ruin his white sheets.
As actors, the reality cops perform is the reality somebody dreamt of. Maybe a sick man, genius only at convincing others to act out his wishes with intention (no conspiracies here), some calling it magic, but still ignorant so that he only sees issues as if they were performances. As if there was something performative about the labels you prescribe to others, without their knowledge, or with it without consent.
I spent a lot of time with a girl one Thursday last year who after several hours of talking and something else1 asked me if we could someday start dating. We can't, because I told her I wasn't straight and felt like a girl sometimes, usually when I'm wearing a dress. She said she accepted that, but she said it was because she loved people with alternative lifestyles.
I am not an alternative lifestyle.
I called Metamodernism quasi-political because I thought metamodernists were trying to force something unnatural, that they were trying to make it something. But in that light nothing is natural, we're all trying to make something or someone, ourselves for instance.
Metamodern sentiment has to fight two things: firstly, the irony since Baudrillard embedded into our reality, the nihilism that comes with it and how depressing the world can get. Because that nihilism gets so frequently packaged as realism, metamodernism might have all the elements of anti-realism, surrealism, and postmodernity.
Secondly, Metamodernism has to fight the reactionary optimism, the newly sincere pretending that something went wrong, that it shouldn't have happened, and if we keep pretending that nothing is wrong it'll be fine and peachy. That reality is just what it was before you started thinking, that bad things don't happen if you just don't worry about them. It's not just what was, but the nostalgia for what was thought, like rose-colored glasses you found in the attic, next to your father's Beatles records.
Metamodernists contest both realistic nihilism and reactionary enthusiasm, but any sentiment which challenges the two - someone well-informed but called naive, for instance - is a metamodern sentiment. If having that makes you a metamodernist, then we cannot all or always be metamodernists. It is an oft-fleeting moment of clarity, because like enlightenment or consciousness we don't always have it.
Somebody told me that's how Buddhists saw Nirvana, but I don't think that's correct and I haven't yet tried to verify. I'll do it in time2.
But that fleetingness is exactly why we could call metamodernism a zeitgeist, insomuch as we can have zeitgeists these days. Because even we can't all or always deliberately confront the underlying tensions of the world, they exist often when we can't see them, and we oftentimes confront or brush up against them regardless.
And in that light, metamodernism cannot be sanitized of politics, because it cannot be sanitized. Sanitizer kills, so you must be a little dirty, because if you were ever entirely clean you would die, or at least become very sick like some pills make you. Some things can only express , and only a complete alien would have none of our prejudice towards reality. But an alien could just have its own biases, and/or find us incomprehensible.
The necessary response to a reactionary history, or internalized sentiment you have isn't denial, and there may be no healthy expression for it. Acknowledge its influence on your own actions, stay informed and move forward. Nobody is clean.