in the phatic zone

by uzwi

Recognition-signalling is the weirdest product of web culture. It is downright creepy, but also ensures that a trope can never be used except as a celebration of itself. A trope appropriated, loaded and directed at a target, is instantly stripped of its new framing, divested of any additional rhetorical mechanisms (as in, say, sarcasm) and redirected towards a lively recognition of its recognisability. This is achieved either by outright repetition; or by a further but not complex re-coding of the reference–a weak extension of the joke the only purpose of which is to reveal that you know the trope. Echo, reaffirmation & celebration deny repurposing: they trap the user of the trope in the trope, possibly so that it can always be comfortingly reaffirmed that we are trapped by tropes and have thus never been able to say anything new in the history of language or maybe even the species, etc etc.