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Exhibits of the New Sincerity and Mass Audience Appeal

The following essay served as my final paper in History of Digital Media at Towson University:

The New Sincerity is a bourgeoning philosophy devised to combat the pessimism and cynicism found in post-modernism and the popular culture of the twentieth century. A variety of alternative philosophies have also come to light, including post-post-modernism and metamodernism, but in my opinion, the New Sincerity has more compelling arguments for a uniquely modern mode of philosophical thought. Whereas postmodernism focuses on the loss of meaning in the signifier and the hybridization of ideas, the New Sincerity focuses on authenticity and sincerity in one’s ideas. In the twenty-first century pop culture mediums of film, television, music, animation, and internet-based media, we can see this idea becoming increasingly apparent. However, we can trace these ideals to as early as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in the 1960’s and compare them to their modern depiction in Adventure Time, introduced in 2008.

Freelance journalist and educator John Fitzgerald states that the New Sincerity’s emphasis on sincerity and authenticity creates opportunities for discussions of morality in modern American society (28). Whereas post-modernism was marked by decades of cynicism, degrees of pessimism, and detached irony, the New Sincerity seeks to resolve those issues for a new generation. The popular culture of today is rife with depictions of changing morals in the arenas of music, television, literature, and film, dealing with topics of family values, religion, patriotism, and self-esteem (Fitzgerald 4).

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