Before I went out to dinner tonight I took a bath. And in the bath, I searched the indices of a couple of history books for “postmodernism” (it’s dangerous to take your laptop into the bath.)
And the truth is I almost drowned I was so bored and lost by what I read.
So Madonna wins … we may or may not be living in a material world, but the problem with ideas and abstractions is that our brains are built for conrete and material examples. And in that way, if not others, I am a material girl. Even if, like me, you can get into conceptual stuff … all of us still crave a concrete footing and a few specific examples to get our heads around a complicated idea.
Ideas by themselves are nothing without story.
But as per the last 2 posts, I couldn’t let myself off the hook, so here’s what I found out about postmodernism when I got home from dinner, procrastinated about having to do this, watched “Jaws 2”, sent a few texts and finally faced the music:
- Postmodernism is a reaction to modernism, which was a reaction to realism
- No one agrees what any of these 3 movements are about
- Though if you studied art history or architectural design you’ll know more than most …
- Even though these ideas aren’t just about paintings or buildings, paintings and buildings have a lot to answer for in wrecking my head with these abstract labels about stuff no one will explain to me
- In a nutshell, modernists appreciate functional (code word for ugly) buildings and more broadly (that is, beyond buildings and paintings and stuff) they believe in right vs wrong, black and white thinking, linear progress and absolute truths
- Or so some people say and others disagree
- Whereas postmoderists argue that life is ambiguous and more complicated than that and that nothing is actually really true for sure. At least not for definite
- Postmodernists have a particular problem with meta-narratives or BIG STORIES (once again no one gave an example, but I’m thinking they meant stories that might explain how we got here, or why we’re here or any story so brazen as to be prance around like it’s the only possible explanation for something — again, I’d like to know if they are talking about whether Santa is real and delivers all the presents or whether they are talking about how getting 8 hours sleep is good for us — I don’t know what they mean by a big story or meta-narrative)
No doubt there is more to these ideas than what I found, but the truth is the whole thing reminds me of the worst kind of dinner table lecturing — where only the most intellectual are allowed to sit at the table to debate with words that actually mean nothing at all, or worse … everything possible (depending on your view.)
In the interim, after reading in the bath, scouring the net, stopping at Wiki only to be traumatized — searching “postmodernism for dummies” and the like, I did come across 3 things that put my mind to rest. If you’ve journeyed with me so far, I highly recommend a quick peek at what The Simpsons have to say, followed by the most enlightening of 4 minute videos. If that leaves you hungry for more — I did land on one blog that wasn’t half bad. The blogger had gone to the trouble of offering an actual story or two.
As for me, I’m off to bed to dream postmodernist things and shall not worry if I meet this term in the future. I’ve got it well-covered now.