The Metamodernity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


We are generally very careful to avoid identifying individual humans as “being” metamodern. A person is far too complex to be reduced to one epistemic essence. The same goes for any complicated structure, such as a political party, a national culture or a religion. So, we’re not going to say first-year Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is metamodern, but we can say that she sure does seem to be employing metamodern sensibilities in her public presentation and especially in her responses to attacks from her opponents.

As the youngest woman ever elected to the United States Congress and a self-described Democratic Socialist, Ocasio-Cortez has been the subject of attacks intended to cast doubt on her maturity and seriousness. Most notably, somebody dug up some old college video (link here) of her participating in a tribute to the dance moves found in the Eighties classic film The Breakfast Club. Thinking it would embarrass her, they tweeted it out, referring to the Congresswoman as a “nitwit.”

We feel her response is tonally metamodern. Instead of apologizing or trying to explain it away, she comes back with a brand new dance video staged outside her new office. It’s consciously goofy, but it’s set to a song with a substantial message: “War — what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” (Edwin Starr) It’s a hard pushback, delivered with a genuinely warm smile. It’s Internet-savvy. And it proclaims that Congressional representatives are real people, and that real people can be in Congress.

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