It is hard not to feel at odd with any term that would try to prefix the word modernism with a new caviar in front of it. Modernism has been already so beaten up to rendition with all sort of prefixes, that bringing a new one and expecting that no one will notice builds the case for an elephant in the room type scenario, but unfortunately, like the emperor, that elephant wants to fool its audience to be even overdressed. For such Dumbo elephant, however, you have to look closer to hear how its ears sincerely makes your sensibilities fly.
Metamodernism has even built an strong shield against themselves. If you dare to criticise them and not to add them to your arsenal of ideas or at least recognise them as partially valid, you are most definitely being postmodern and stirring back into the very problems they have already solutions for.
Metamodernism preaches the mantra: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Yet, the problem with such mantra is that even when they see babies everywhere to rescue, they grant themselves the rights to decide when there is a baby rescue like situation.
It is a known fact that delusion uses rational thinking for its means even when is completely uninterested to prove itself rational. What is today unheard of and becoming alarmingly common is how delusion is conquering more and more terrains while zealously guarding them with the firm and tall flags of rationality. In the landscape of today’s Western intelligentsia, Metamodernism is one of the new “avant-garde” torchbearer of such delusion.
Why the anchoring in labels (memes) have become so virulently needed today? Why do we still think that adding another label would simplify and clarify better the already cluttered landscape of knowledge and information? Why do we believe that in order to witness novelty we need to give to it another “ism” while we re-arrange it with existing ones?
If what we have witnessed from Postmodernism is an over-saturation of “isms”, why do we want to appear as if that wasn’t the case and a new label would cure us, at leat a bit, from Postmodernism excessive relativism? Labels, no doubt, help. Like Postmodern Relativism, for instance, it helped to understand the cancerous spreading of labels it was promoting.
Yet, if a label like Metamodernism is chemotherapying the postmodern virulence, isn’t in the very drive of the Metamodern label the prerogatives to create the conditions for the self-annihilation of the Postmodern label while the Metamodern one, undetected, sets the conditions to become a new plague in the very same way Postmodernism did? Funnily, such concerns were at the heart of most postmodern research back in the days before postmodernism reached its virulent state of ubiquitous existence.
Metamodernism naiveté is an strategic one, not an ontological one, and whether it feels real or not to those affected or to their audience the performative display of sincerity makes no difference to distil real sincerity without the “oscillations” they so much preach about.
True sincerity doesn’t necessary require of any “oscillations” nor Marvel’s movies caricaturesque characters to give a solid convincing character to sincerity. Sincerity is not a movie thing, just in case we have forgotten that.
Metamodernists emphasis in “oscillations” is just a way of reenacting and manifesting episodic relapses from still being damaged and in the process of healing from the wounds of Postmodernism.
Back in the modern days of Darwin taxonomy made a lot of sense as it still makes today. Labelling is necessary to truly understand life, at least, in its biological modern sense. However, “toying” and “oscillating” with sincerity and expecting that the label Metamodernism won’t suffer of the same “toying” and “oscillation” it is not definitely. being naive in self-awareness, but being naive in the very old modern ways Metamodernists try hard to distance from. If you label water ice or vapour, it doesn’t stop being water. That is what happens with Metamodernism, it is Postmodern waters in vaporous states.
Metamodernism is political correctness taken to a high new level, which can be described as that of a Philosophical Mademoiselle of Rationality.
This rationality is the ambassador of a kind of compassion that doesn’t want to appear harsh but neither mellow. As a Mademoiselle she has a kind of thinking that doesn’t want to appear argumentative but neither too pleasing.
Metamodernism is the ultimate Entropy-Zombie-Zone-like and rationally Shiny-Armour Knight-like mental mindset ever created for deep thinking on the already dried out puddles of cynical Postmodernism. Postmodernism, however, had a solid philosophical foundation, along side its pastiche, kitsch, artistic, sociological, and political turns.
Metamodernism, contrastingly, lacks by all account of any philosophical gravitas. Its notion of sincerity is more on the side of irony than on the side of sincerity despite their effort to say otherwise. It seeks to neutralise and also listen to extremes, but it has its mannerism for synthetic outcomes and acted out ecological non-one-sidednesses.
Metamodernism produces true sincerity as a collateral effect of its own “in between” oscillations. It self-congratulate itself for being trapped in Marvel’s movies clichés echosystem, dreaming in the in between of Spiderman’s naive honesty and Deadpool’s ironic selfishness. They are making up their mind like an old modernist would, but just a little, the postmodern trauma rehab has still a great impact on them.
Metamodernism wants to include literally everything but metaphorically. It is the personification of Lady Justice, but with a twist: It wears a blindfold with holes, it preaches a balance while it leans more to one side unaware and instead of carrying a sword it meticulously holds syringes in her hands. to vaccinate all sort of rationality’s loopholes.
Metamodernism‘s “meta”, like with Platonic metaxy, wished to mean “an ontological betweenness”, but ends up truly meaning “after”, like in “post” of postmodern, but actually better, post-postmodern, like Aristotle’s work “after” Physics, Metaphysics. Derrida’s Pharmakon wasn’t meant to be poisonous, but it ended up delivery a poisonous bite to deconstruction.
Metamodernism’s sincerity is not meant to be artificially performative, but it ends up being a highly educated performative histrionism on sincery and knidness, as if Marina Abramovic’s performaces had parasitically inoculated into our daily lives as a Manifesto Software loaded into our brains. Sincerity has never been so joyfully vaccinated, even as a placebo. Postmodern cynicism was supposed to be ironic, but not too ironic.
Metamodernism sincerity is supposed to be taken with a pinch of salt, but its “oscillation” has not less of paranoia than its postmodern cynical counterpart. Both still conserve the pathos of their mise-en-scène and choreographic fakery.
Metamodernism is a revival of postmodernism, like its dolly, adult and truly evolved side but with “oscillation” as a buzzword replacing the old postmodern “flux” and with romanticism (“oscillating” romanticism to be precise) replacing the old relativistic cynicism.
Metamodernism is a “semantic” turn that diligently tries to purge a new Zeitgeist for millennials and delivers Zombies with graduation gowns.
The problem with Metamodernism is that it still believe in the old modern interpretation of Hegel that there is something to overturn even when it masks it with fancy words like “betweenness” and “oscillation.”
Metamodernism completely ignores that Postmodernism, from its insertion, was a very heterogeneous movement by which most attempts to pin it down often ended up in blunt simplifications. So much so, that even the blunt simplifications were taken on board in a frenzy race for no hierarchies and the favouring of “anything goes” motto.
Metamodernism leeches on the very freedom to partiality and bluntness that postmodernism was granted or even it granted to itself. A postmodern died in its own cross saying:
“Define me as you please. I am as venomous as the benign parasites you use from me to put me out of my misery.”