A podcast by Ezra Klein featuring guest Angela Nagle, author of Kill All the Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right:
Perhaps why we’ve so far struggled to make ourselves comprehensible is that our closest intellectual cousins, the post-modernists, were largely content to deconstruct things without reconstructing them. Comparing ourselves to them we are forced to explain how postmodernism failed despite having a good start, but if we compare ourselves to the metamodernists then the story is simpler because we also look to move beyond deconstruction to reconstruction, and not in spite of deconstruction but in the spirit of it. In this way our divergence from the rationalists seems to go beyond epistemological differences to a belief that the world can be deconstructed while maintaining its shape rather than being reducible.
Whereas postmodernism rejects or deconstructs narratives, metamodernism constructs them. The ‘metamodern condition’ is the unification of multiples themes and narratives that describe post-2013 society, which ties in with the themes covered in Angela Nagle’s book.
-strengthening of U.S.-China cultural and economic relations, especially since 2008. Stories out of China are broadcast by U.S. media; likewise, news out of China is picked up by U.S. media. But the U.S. media does not care about what is happening in Africa, not because Africa is foreign, but because the elite have no interest in it. China is becoming like America, and America more like China. A ‘new world order‘ of China, United States, and Northern Europe. This can be broken up further into regions such as Manhattan, Silicon Valley, Davos, Stockholm, Cambridge (Massachusetts), etc.
-the ‘panopticon’ that is social media (people getting fired for posting stuff on social media or even being seen on social media); posts on Twitter and other social media are immortalized in screenshots, long after being deleted by their creator.
-’world in crisis’, whether it it be social, cultural, governmental, political, or economic. These is a general sense by the high-IQ left and the high-IQ right that a lot of things are ‘broken’ in the world, with no solutions. This also ties into shared narratives concept because it connects both the left and the right.
-social networks as contiguous organisms, sorta like a giant spiderweb, and also the meme propagation process. It’s like a giant cargo net, in which by tugging one of the corners, however slighlty, the entire net moves. Posts on ‘weird Twitter’ can reverberate to the alt-right and on the alt-lite, which spread to Reddit’s hugely popular /r/politics, and 4chans’s /pol/, and then also picked up by Vox media, Quartz, and other more mainstream publications. Nothing is too small or insignificant to be amplified. Social media puts a microscope and stethoscope to everything. A small campus demonstration/protest gets tweeted, which gets re-tweeted by a large account, and then it gets posted to Reddit and 4chan, and then picked up by Vox and Qz, becoming in less than an hour a full-fledged story. But at the same time, the elite and smart of the world–such as journalists, politicians, the rich Chinese, and elite college students–have a microscope/spotlight on social media. Some of the smartest, most influential people in the world read Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, /pol/ etc. to take the pulse of the ‘vanguard’ before it becomes propagated. By posting on pol, you’re effectively a representative of your ‘tribe’ broadcasting a message read by these elites, and if the message is compelling or interesting enough, it will be propagated. The irony is that although the far-right is nationalistic, 4chan and Reddit are international communities. It’s sorta like the UN, where representatives of all countries converge in single location.
-shared narratives that unite the far-reaches of the ‘right’ and ‘left’ over issues such as social anxiety, the inadequacy of democracy, the frustration of dealing with ‘normies’, anomie & ennui, and the ‘postmodernist condition’. The high-IQ right and and high-IQ left are ‘plugged in’ into a giant narrative. Whereas the mainstream left and mainstream right are fighting age-old cultural battles that ceased being as relevant, the high-IQ right & left on social media care about deeper, more existentialist matters, as well as economics and other ‘great debate’ and shared narrative topics. Each story, whether it be about gender bathrooms , campus protests, Milo, etc. is a puzzle piece or node of a larger tapestry/system/narrative, with everything interconnected, whereas the ‘old school’ left & right treat such events in isolation and are not ‘plugged in’ into or participants of this grand narrative. The ‘old school’ media are like reporters, from a distance, than participants. It’s like gonzo journalism, but extended to include everyone as participants even if they aren’t physically there. A story about campus protests isn’t just an isolated event that affects only students of that school, but affects everyone connected on these social networks, who are connected through shared narratives and demographics.