Beyond Based and Cringe (2021)

Title: Beyond Based and Cringe
Author(s): Nate Sloan
Date: 2021-06-21
Publication title: Do Not Research
Document type: blog article

Do not kill the part of you that is cringe...

... kill the part that cringes.

Nate Sloan discusses the various memetic and aesthetic movements which seek to variously overcome and move past the based-cringe divide.

Yeah as someone who has been online since 2011 I still don’t know what cringe really means. What I mean by that is what qualifies something as cringe. Since I can’t find any exact definitions other than something that makes you cringe or something that is embarrassing but what do all cringe things have in common other than being cringe that no non cringe things have. Cringe seems to be very subjective and I think that saying something is either cringe or not cringe is out dated. I did develop a cringe scale but even that is still subjective. What I find cringe someone else might find not cringe. For example my best friend ships Porky Pig and Daffy Duck which I personally think is cringe but they don’t think it is. It happens the other way around too. I like Warrior Cats but my little brother thinks that it is cringe while I don’t. Since cringe is so subjective does it even really mean anything?

Hmm this seems interesting

I want to write something about how Cringe is the only unforgivable sin. It's very analogous to how Christians are meant to forgive and love except when it's not God's people.

ZhuangZi, the ancient Taoist philosopher, wrote about this thing he called "this-yes". To a fish, the fish is this (as opposed to that). To a fish, water is yes (as opposed to air being no). The fish lives its life following along the this-yes of its situation. ZhaungZi's point here is to demonstrate that, although the lines can be drawn somewhat arbitrarily, every person, plant, animal, and even inanimate object has a "this-yes" to it. Of course, there is also a "that-no" of everything.

(Side note: combining the two is how we get to the Tao. For example, the "this-yes" and "that-no" of a cat taken as a whole could be called the Tao of the cat. The entire universe, taken as a single cosmic entity, has a "this-yes" and a "that-no". This is what the capital-T Tao represents, and it's also what the :yin_yang: yin-yang symbol represents.)

The point I want to make here is that Based and Cringe are just our new words for "this-yes" and "that-no", respectively.

Given a "this-yes", there is only one "that-no" to go with it. In this sense, cringe isn't so arbitrary at all. As long as it goes against the "this-yes" of the observer, it's cringe. I think you will agree that society and the internet do a great job at homogenizing homo sapiens. The CIA's researched this, and they found that there's only like 8-12 groups (I can't remember the exact number they found) people fall in. Everyone's in one of those, more or less, which really isn't a lot of variety. In other words, one person's "this-yes" is rarely just their own, most of the time it's shared with the people they hang around, or their community at large, if there's enough of em.

This is to say that cringe (and based, by extension) aren't completely arbitrary terms. Yes, they can vary from person to person, but not without rhyme or reason, and more often then not, if a community shares a "this-yes", it's practically an objective matter.