(I've taken the liberty of copying Robert Kibler's attachment as some of
you seem to have had trouble getting it -- it's worth the large screen
space, it seems to me, but apologies to those who may be paying by the
word, as it were).
> Geraldo, Eat Your Avant-Pop Heart Out
> By MARK LEYNER
> HOBOKEN, N.J. -- JENNY JONES: Boy, we have a show for you today!
> Recently, the University of Virginia philosopher Richard Rorty made
> stunning declaration that nobody has "the foggiest idea" what
> postmodernism means. "It would be nice to get rid of it," he said.
> isn't exactly an idea; it's a word that pretends to stand for an
> This shocking admission that there is no such thing as postmodernism
> produced a firestorm of protest around the country. Thousands of
> critics and graduate students who'd considered themselves
> are outraged at the betrayal.
> Today we have with us a writer -- a recovering postmodernist -- who
> believes that his literary career and personal life have been
> damaged by the theory, and who feels defrauded by the academics who
> promulgated it. He wishes to remain anonymous, so we'll call him
> Alex, as an adolescent, before you began experimenting with
> postmodernism, you considered yourself -- what?
> Close shot of ALEX.
> An electronic blob obscures his face. Words appear at bottom of
> "Says he was traumatized by postmodernism and blames academics."
> ALEX (his voice electronically altered): A high modernist. Y'know,
> Eliot, Georges Braque, Wallace Stevens, Arnold Schoenberg, Mies van
> Rohe. I had all of Schoenberg's 78's.
> JENNY JONES: And then you started reading people like Jean-Francois
> Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard -- how did that change your feelings
> your modernist heroes?
> ALEX: I suddenly felt that they were, like, stifling and canonical.
> JENNY JONES: Stifling and canonical? That is so sad, such a waste.
> old were you when you first read Fredric Jameson?
> ALEX: Nine, I think.
> The AUDIENCE gasps.
> JENNY JONES: We have some pictures of young Alex....
> We see snapshots of 14-year-old ALEX reading Gilles Deleuze and Felix
> Guattari's "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia." The AUDIENCE
> oohs and ahs.
> ALEX: We used to go to a friend's house after school -- y'know, his
> parents were never home -- and we'd read, like, Paul Virilio and
> JENNY JONES: So you're only 14, and you're already skeptical toward
> "grand narratives" of modernity, you're questioning any belief system
> that claims universality or transcendence. Why?
> ALEX: I guess -- to be cool.
> JENNY JONES: So, peer pressure?
> ALEX: I guess.
> JENNY JONES: And do you remember how you felt the very first time you
> entertained the notion that you and your universe are constituted by
> language -- that reality is a cultural construct, a "text" whose
> is determined by infinite associations with other "texts"?
> ALEX: Uh, it felt, like, good. I wanted to do it again. The AUDIENCE
> JENNY JONES: You were arrested at about this time?
> ALEX: For spray-painting "The Hermeneutics of Indeterminacy" on an
> JENNY JONES: You're the child of a mixed marriage -- is that right?
> ALEX: My father was a de Stijl Wittgensteinian and my mom was a
> JENNY JONES: Do you think that growing up in a mixed marriage made
> more vulnerable to the siren song of postmodernism?
> ALEX: Absolutely. It's hard when you're a little kid not to be able
> just come right out and say (sniffles), y'know, I'm an Imagist or I'm
> phenomenologist or I'm a post-painterly abstractionist. It's really
> -- especially around the holidays. (He cries.)
> JENNY JONES: I hear you. Was your wife a postmodernist?
> ALEX: Yes. She was raised avant-pop, which is a fundamentalist
> of postmodernism.
> JENNY JONES: How did she react to Rorty's admission that
> was essentially a hoax?
> ALEX: She was devastated. I mean, she's got all the John Zorn albums
> the entire Semiotext(e) series. She was crushed.
> We see ALEX'S WIFE in the audience, weeping softly, her hands
> her face.
> JENNY JONES: And you were raising your daughter as a postmodernist?
> ALEX: Of course. That's what makes this particularly tragic. I mean,
> do you explain to a 5-year-old that self-consciously recycling
> detritus is suddenly no longer a valid art form when, for her entire
> life, she's been taught that it is?
> JENNY JONES: Tell us how you think postmodernism affected your career
> a novelist.
> ALEX: I disavowed writing that contained real ideas or any real
> My work became disjunctive, facetious and nihilistic. It was all
> parody, irony enveloped in more irony.
> It merely recapitulated the pernicious banality of television and
> advertising. I found myself indiscriminately incorporating any and
> kinds of pop kitsch and shlock. (He begins to weep again.)
> JENNY JONES: And this spilled over into your personal life?
> ALEX: It was impossible for me to experience life with any emotional
> intensity. I couldn't control the irony anymore. I perceived my own
> feelings as if they were in quotes.
> I italicized everything and everyone. It became impossible for me to
> appraise the quality of anything. To me everything was equivalent --
> Brandenburg Concertos and the Lysol jingle had the same value. ...
> breaks down, sobbing.)
> JENNY JONES: Now, you're involved in a lawsuit, aren't you?
> ALEX: Yes. I'm suing the Modern Language Association.
> JENNY JONES: How confident are you about winning?
> ALEX: We need to prove that, while they were actively propounding it,
> academics knew all along that postmodernism was a specious theory.
> If we can unearth some intradepartmental memos -- y'know, a paper
> -- any corroboration that they knew postmodernism was worthless cant
> the same time they were teaching it, then I think we have an
> shot at establishing liability.
> JENNY JONES wades into audience and proffers microphone to a woman.
> WOMAN (with lateral head-bobbing): It's ironic that Barry Scheck is
> representing the M.L.A. in this litigation because Scheck is the
> postmodern attorney par excellence. This is the guy who's made a
> of volatilizing truth in the simulacrum of exculpation!
> VOICE FROM AUDIENCE: You go, girl!
> WOMAN: Scheck is the guy who came up with the quintessentially
> re-bleed defense for O.J., which claims that O.J. merely vigorously
> Ron and Nicole, thereby re-aggravating pre-existing knife wounds. I'd
> just like to say to any client of Barry Scheck -- lose that zero and
> a hero!
> The AUDIENCE cheers wildly.
> WOMAN: Uh, I forgot my question.
> Dissolve to message on screen: If you believe that mathematician
> Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem has caused you or a member of
> family to dress too provocatively, call (800) 555-9455.
> Dissolve back to studio.In the audience, JENNY JONES extends the
> microphone to a man in his mid-30's with a scruffy beard and a
> around his head.
> MAN WITH BANDANA: I'd like to say that this "Alex" is the single
> example of pointless irony in American literature, and this whole
> heartfelt renunciation of postmodernism is a ploy -- it's just more
> The AUDIENCE whistles and hoots.
> ALEX: You think this is a ploy?! (He tears futilely at the electronic
> blob.) This is my face!
> The AUDIENCE recoils in horror.
> ALEX: This is what can happen to people who naively embrace
> postmodernism, to people who believe that the individual -- the
> autonomous, individualist subject -- is dead. They become a
> palimpsest of
> media pastiche -- a mask of metastatic irony.
> JENNY JONES (biting lip and shaking her head): That is so sad. Alex
> final words?
> ALEX: I'd just like to say that self-consciousness and irony seem
> fun at first, but they can destroy your life. I know. You gotta be
> earnest, be real. Real feelings are important. Objective reality does
> exist. AUDIENCE members whoop, stomp and pump fists in the air.
> JENNY JONES: I'd like to thank Alex for having the courage to come on
> today and share his experience with us.
> Join us for tomorrow's show, "The End of Manichean, Bipolar
> Turned My Boyfriend Into an Insatiable Sex Freak (and I Love It!)."
> Cynthia Virtue, Manager, Sales Operations 650-919-6239
> Network Computing Devices, Mountain View, CA [log in to unmask]
> It was once thought that lobsters were scavengers and ate primarily
> dead things. However, researchers have discovered that lobsters catch
> mainly fresh food (except for bait) which includes crabs, clams,
> mussels, starfish, sea urchins, and sometimes even other lobsters!
> ..=-=-=-=-=-=-= t h e = g i g g l e s = m a i l i n g = l i s t
> | This humourous interlude has been brought to you courtesy of the
> giggles |
> | mailing list, but its content is the sole reponsibility of its
> submitter. |
> | For information on how to subscribe/unsubscribe, send e-mail to
> | [log in to unmask] with the following line in the body of the
> message: |
> | info giggles
> ..=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- E n j o y ! = 8^D