“The New Aesthetic, as it exists in drone technology and Google Maps imagery and data surveillance, represents a ground-level change in our existence. Instead of shocking society, New Aesthetic art must respond to a shocked society and turn the changes we’re confronting into critical artistic creation. Artists are only just starting to take the raw material of the New Aesthetic and aestheticize it in a conscious, intelligent way.”—Kyle Chayka, In Response To Bruce Sterling’s “Essay On The New Aesthetic”
by Kyle Chayka
It’s possible that her blond hair has the inner glow of Monet’s pink hay bales, but
Those eyes still glare balefully just when her mouth comes across the bullshit.
It’s not pink-gum anymore but it’s cigarettes she pulls out of a pack.
The rest of the compatriots they share are fallen infantry in the line of adolescent duty:
Get blown up by a beer keg, dude.
Crack troops couldn’t have forestalled that teenage tragedy.
Fuck it, she eulogizes as the soft edges harden and she drags till it glows.
“I guess I no longer understand the line between irony and non-irony, between sincerity and sarcasm. Maybe instead, it’s just an aesthetic continuum, where sincerity can continue to have its lofty perch at one end of the spectrum and the blackest of morbid humor can anchor the other? It would be more fun that way.”—
from Kyle Chayka’s Why Irony is Healthy for Hyperallergic
I’m very annoyed by contrived personalities. I mean the types of people you look at, speak to, and can’t detect an ounce of authenticity in them. [Link to a specific Tumblr redacted.] I feel like this is particularly common in people who strive to be “cool.” I’ve written in the past about how weird it feels to seek approval and reject it simultaneously from “cool” people, but beyond that - and I don’t mean to sound too cynical - I feel we so often only experience other people through the well-crafted lens they want us to. Even if it isn’t “cool.” Likewise they only experience us within a limited context. We are either being our work-self or our party-self or our sincere-friend-self or something. We definitely all put on an Internet-self, even when we try not to. And the “raw” and “vulnerable”-selves we see (online) are often the most contrived and inarticulate regarding the person’s actual wants, needs, or beliefs.
I like this quote (and the article) because it makes a good point (within a very specific context) about how the ironic can be just as truthful as something readily “sincere.” It’s easy to forget that a (figurative) smirk or a wink actually invites you to engage something more deeply. It’s easy to believe in something superficial rather than discover something genuine. Recognizing how and what people communicate about themselves is the first step to knowing something truthful about them.
That is if you’re the type to care.