Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy ( Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Jun. 21, 2019 4 min read

What Trump and his fans misunderstand—because they experience reality on a different continuum—is that voters and media would allow basically any POTUS of either party to quip once or twice about a third (or more) term. Trump gets heat because THIS continuum thinks he's unstable.

1/ Trump is "trolling" media only in the sense that if—say—Charles Manson had threatened to start a cult while in prison, media and onlookers would've taken it seriously because... he's Charles Manson. So Manson threatening to start a cult wouldn't be "trolling," but *plausible*.

2/ Because Trump and his fans occupy (I mean this ontologically) a different continuum than everyone else—with a different past, present, and future; with different core facts/understandings—they THINK this is "trolling" when it's actually a failed bid to speak "across" continua.

3/ So those who occupy an alternative continuum will say, "Look how he's getting under Democrats' skin!" because they THINK we're all in the same reality—and in their reality this tweet is trolling. The joke is on them—as they don't even occupy the continuum they believe they do.

4/ I'm being literal, not theoretical, BTW. The Trump era is one of "atomized" realities—and basically the only mistake one can make is taking the basic understandings of one's own continuum and applying them to someone else's or vice versa. It makes whoever does it look foolish.

5/ The reaction of someone in Trump's continuum ("Trumpworld") to Trump's tweet (above) should be something like, "What's the point of this? No one you could possibly be trolling occupies this continuum with us." And the reaction of those in my reality is, "Yep, you're unstable."

6/ I'm saying—as someone who studies cultural theory in my scholarly practice, not a political observer—we'd all waste less time thinking we're "dunking" on people or (as the case may be) needlessly getting upset by things if we "owned" the fact of us being in different continua.

7/ Yesterday, a big piece of news was Trump's announcement that he didn't think he needed to speak to anyone but his base (the "Trumpworld" continuum) pre-2020. In a #metamodern sense, this was huge—it *should've* led to *this* continuum tuning out his rhetoric (not his actions).

8/ Unfortunately, we're stuck in late postmodernism—so we think there's one continuum, then a bunch of "pretender" continua that must battle it out with the main one (in what theorists call a dialectic) until one wins. So we in my continuum *wrongly* feel Trump is speaking to us.

9/ So a #metamodern theorist looks at a tweet like Trump's recent one and says, "Uh, who was that *to*? What continuum do you think you're *in*?" And the conclusion would be that either Trump doesn't *know* or wrongly thinks his persona translates across continua.

Either is sad.

10/ That's why it's only exasperating when loser trolls come here and *think* they're taunting a #metamodern scholar with, "Ha! He's trolling you! He's under your skin!" When what *I'm* thinking is, "No, he's a sad, failed postmodern ogre. I want a POTUS from *my* continuum now."

PS/ Upshot is—if it helps—that a post-postmodern cultural theorist would say that the reason you're so upset that Trump is president is that he doesn't *live in the continuum he's president of*. He has an idiosyncratic past, present, and future—which is dangerously destabilizing.

PS2/ Under postmodernism, what I just wrote (the "PS") would signify simply that Trump is "crazy" and his fans are "crazy." In post-postmodernism, we accept that that framing doesn't change, advance, or achieve anything—certainly not in light of the *fact* of "elective continua."

PS3/ You don't try to talk people from a different continuum out of their beliefs; you probably don't talk to them at all. You identify those between continua and try to persuade them to yours. But someone *in* another? The only question is how to co-exist, *not* how to persuade.

PS4/ For clarity, something I wrote to a MAGA guy: "People living in different continua can and must co-exist peacefully. It's just that you shouldn't be trying to convince me to revisualize my past, present, and future, and I shouldn't be trying to do that to you. When I said...

PS5/ "'not talk across continua' I meant on unshared fundamental presumptions. But sports? Sure. I've also said that if one is in a) a face-to-face meatspace designated for such talks or b) a trusting relationship, efforts to compare presumptions across continua can be fruitful."

NOTE/ Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying this feed is for anyone who shares my basic—truly baseline—presumptions on rule of law, equal justice, and democracy (or anyone "on the fence"). Hopefully it also explains why I don't see much point in debating *policy* on Twitter.

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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