Categories as fundamental as fact and fiction, news and entertainment, gender and sexuality, have eroded away. In literature and architecture, in cuisine, in music, in fashion and furnishings, everywhere, everything—it’s fusion and mix.
Barack Obama emerged as a literal embodiment of this age. To educated people, especially younger people with generally progressive views, other candidates suddenly looked parochial by comparison—or simply outdated. In his ethnicity and biography and in his personality and politics, Obama, the conciliator, was above all a combiner. Because he was from virtually everywhere—Kenya, Indonesia, Honolulu, Harvard, Chicago’s South Side—he was also from nowhere. The pastiche of his persona made him “his own man” in a new sense of the term.
On the Politics of Pastiche and Depthless Intensities: The Case of Barack Obama
posted by Rumple
on Aug 25, 2011 -
William Chace, former university president (Wesleyan and Emory) and Eng. Prof., on the decline of the English department
, with lots of good ideas for why and how, as well as some thoughts on what to do about it. (Albeit no explicit blame to the true scourge: postmodernism and the relativity of it all…).
posted by JL Sadstone
on Oct 19, 2009 -
. "This is drivel about drivel — “metadrivel” as some stucturalist, post-structuralist or deconstructionist might say."
posted by Xurando
on Apr 7, 2008 -
A society without power relations can only be an abstraction. Which, be it said in passing, makes all the more politically necessary the analysis of power relations in a given society, their historical formation, the source of their strength or fragility, the conditions which are necessary to transform some or to abolish others. For to say that there cannot be a society without power relations is not to say either that those which are established are necessary or, in any case, that power constitutes a fatality at the heart of societies, such that it cannot be undermined. Instead, I would say that the analysis, elaboration, and bringing into question of power relations and the "agonism" between power relations and the intransitivity of freedom is a permanent political task inherent in all social existence.
"Saint" Michel Foucault (1926-1984)
transformed Western thought. Institutions -- prisons
-- define the rhythm of our daily existence; Foucault found that they also determine the way we think. The search for the political and philosophical implications of this insight led him to biology and economics
and the study of sexuality
. In Foucault's eyes, intellectual activity, however radical, could never be divorced
from the techniques of power
. This is why some have accused him of political quietism
. Other critics say he was simply a bad scholar
. Who was the real Foucault? "Anarchist, leftist, ostentatious or disguised Marxist, nihilist, explicit or secret anti-Marxist, technocrat in the service of Gaullism, new liberal,"
gay saint, charlatan, or something else entirely? Perhaps we have posed the question incorrectly...
posted by nasreddin
on Aug 17, 2007 -
Made in Criticalland.
Sociologist Bruno Latour
reflects upon the way social construction and social critique have been instrumentalised by lobbyists, conspiracy theorists, "instant revisionists" and other unsavory people: We, in the academy, like to use more elevated causes–society, discourse, knowledge-slash-power, fields of forces, empires, capitalism–while conspiracists like to portray a miserable bunch of greedy people with dark intents, but I find something troublingly similar in the structure of the explanation, in the first movement of disbelief and, then, in the wheeling of causal explanations coming out of the deep Dark below.
This from the guy who, thanks to his Relativistic account of Einstein's relativity
, was one of the targets of the Sokal hoax
posted by elgilito
on Dec 23, 2006 -
Greeks, postmodernity, and the rethinking of democracy
Found this fascinating interview on openDemocracy by way of meat-eating leftist
. Greek opposition minister George Papandreou, son of former socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou
, says some interesting things about the changing nature of representative democracy and the new fluidity of citizens' political and social identities.
Given our diminishing democracy in this country, it is refreshing to hear a politician say that individuals in society need to be empowered and that political leaders must listen to and trust individuals.
posted by mountainmambo
on Dec 27, 2004 -
Nick Hornby discusses pop music in this NY Times essay:
"Maybe this split is inevitable in any medium where there is real money to be made: it has certainly happened in film, for example, and even literature was a form of pop culture, once upon a time. It takes big business a couple of decades to work out how best to exploit a cultural form; once that has happened, 'that high-low fork in the road' is unavoidable, and the middle way begins to look impossibly daunting. It now requires more bravery than one would ever have thought necessary to try and march straight on, to choose neither the high road nor the low. Who has the nerve to pick up where Dickens or John Ford left off?
In other words, who wants to make art that is committed and authentic and intelligent, but that sets out to include, rather than exclude? To do so would run the risk of seeming not only sincere and uncool - a stranger to all notions of postmodernism - but arrogant and vaultingly ambitious as well."
posted by grumblebee
on May 26, 2004 -
How to Speak and Write Postmodern
. Here is an etymology of the word postmodern
--it begins with Walter Toynbee. Who'd athunk? All of this comes from Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought
. The names lead not to essays but thorough links pages, like Ludwig Wittgenstein
or Edmund Husserl
. All the usual suspects are here--your Adorno, Baudrillard and the infamous Frankfurt School. *spooky ghost voice* Whoo-oo-oo! */spooky ghost voice*
Well, there is Edward Said, but that one confuses me--I mean I read Edmund Husserl, and he, sir, is no Edmund Husserl. He actually makes sense. Which is more than I can say for Edmund Husserl. And it's all one huge page so you can scroll on down. Even I can do that. Hope I didn't brain my damage!
To trump the smarty-pants who's going to link the Postmodernism Generator, I'm upping the ante--here's your Postmodern Mr. T
. Hey man, This time we're gonna do it my way!
posted by y2karl
on Feb 21, 2003 -
a take on the ways in which American society might change. Interesting in itself but it adds little to what's already been posted here before. The purpose is not more of the same arrrgghh, history just chaaaaanged
guff. The purpose of linking is for any anti-post-modernists to gloat at the author, Francis Fukuyama, who has at least once before proclaimed the end of history.
posted by vbfg
on Sep 17, 2001 -