metaphorge: (the old one)
This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

metaphorge: (international dateline) that The Sopranos is finished with us, you might want to read this excellent analysis of the final episode (and the whole series) by [ profile] nobody_.

You'll probably be glad you did.
metaphorge: (beating a dead horse)
I object to advertising that does not work on me.
metaphorge: (foucault's pendulum)
I've noticed that a lot of folks on my friends list are critical of "postmodernist" thought as a philosophical category. I'm curious, though: who, exactly, do you mean when you use the term "postmodernists" and what, exactly, do you mean when you use the term "postmodernism"?

For example, Kierkegaard, Nietzche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Kuhn, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Rorty and Baudrillard are all generally considered to have been influential to "postmodern" thought, but each covered different areas and came up with disparate conclusions... is a refutation of "postmodernism" a refutation of all these scholars' work on a wholesale basis, and if not, which ones (if any of them) is such a criticism a refutation?

For what it's worth, I find the following passage from Jay Lemke's "What is Postmodernism, and Why is it Saying all these Terrible Things?" to be a concise contrast of "modernism" vs. "postmodernism":
"From the postmodern point-of-view, modernism is defined by its belief in objective knowledge, or at least in the possibility of objective knowledge, and by its assumption that such knowledge refers directly to an objective reality which would appear in the same way to any observer. A further characteristic modernist assumption is that knowledge is a product of the activity of the individual mind, fashioning its ideas or mental schemas to correspond with this objective reality.

Postmodernism, on the other hand, argues that what we call knowledge is a special kind of story, a text or discourse that puts together words and images in ways that seem pleasing or useful to a particular culture, or even just to some relatively powerful members of that culture. It denies that we can have objective knowledge, because what we call knowledge has to be made with the linguistic and other meaning-making resources of a particular culture, and different cultures can see the world in very different ways, all of which "work" in their own terms. (emphasis mine) It argues that the belief that one particular culture's view of the world is also universally "true" was a politically convenient assumption for Europe's imperial ambitions of the past, but has no firm intellectual basis.

Many postmodernists go further and point out that just as Europeans temporarily imposed their view on other cultures by force, so within European cultures, the upper social classes, and particularly middle-aged, masculinized males have dominated the natural and social sciences (as well as politics and business), and so this would-be-universal worldview is even more narrowly just the viewpoint of one dominant social caste or subculture."

I submit that a wholesale rejection of "postmodern" thought is almost meaningless since "postmodernism" is far from a monolithic idea. I also submit that at least a portion of such criticism may originate in a fundamental discomfort with uncertainty and ambiguity, rather than an analysis that finds postmodern thought lacking.

I feel the most important topics typically stressed by "postmodern" theorists relate to the inherent ambiguities of language and experience of culture and its associated contexts*.

(Also, since this is getting posted really early Saturday morning when it is unlikely many of you will stumble across it, so I'll probably rerun this post at a more "prime-time".)
*To draw a parallel, think of the differences between reading the Torah in Hebrew and an English translation.

February 2010

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