That awkward moment when…

    I’m sure that you’re all well aware of the disturbing and growing internet trend of escaping from uncomfortable incidents by dismissing them as “that awkward moment.” People use it do describe any situation of embarrassment, or absurdity. There aren’t really many rules governing it’s use, the most important thing is the self-effacing sense of irony in the tone.
    One thing that is vital, however, is that the awkward moment is always that awkward moment; it can never be this awkward moment. This may seem like a bit of grammatic over-thinking, but I think that is sheds some light on the motivation for the expression. You see, once the moment is that moment, it becomes the past, and therefore a different moment from the current one; if it’s a different moment, I don’t have to worry about the implications or deal with the absurdity inherent in the situation.
    The expression perfectly sums up the turbulent and worrying attitude known as post-modernity. If modernity consists in heroizing, the moment, being self-consciously self-conscious and creating oneself in the process, then post-modernity is the ironic acceptance of the ultimate futility of such a life. If modernity is about this absurd moment of self-creation, then post-modernity is about looking back at that awkward moment when I tried to encounter my own Being-in-the-World.
    Is there something disingenuous about that? Can authenticity and irony ever be reconciled? Is it really important?


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