A Letter to a Postmodernist

Dear Mr Postmodernist,

I have been trying to figure out what Postmodernism is, though any definition may destroy inquiry.  I have been seeing them all as Chicken Littles.  And rightly so, because the sky is falling.  The sky has been falling for a long time.  Yet we still remain.  And one might say that we have survived because of the Chicken Littles… and the artists.

If you had only pointed out that Beaudrillard was a poet http://soundcloud.com/interferencial/suicide-moi-jean-baudrillard-the-chance-band and Adorno was a musician… just as you are an artist and William Gibson is an author (because I think Gibson’s presentation of a modern dystopia through image and corporatism is right on) then perhaps I would have come around to this a lot sooner.  Or perhaps I had to be gripped by something more than my own problems.  Maybe it takes a bit of comfort in our own lives, with the proper timing and measure, to be able to look outside ourselves and see things.

Of course, maybe all this art reduces the Postmodernists to beat poets in the coffee shops, with saxophones, fiddle and bongo drums reading drunken poetry as Rome burns.  But perhaps they want Rome to burn so they can have something to discuss.  It is so hard to know, because Postmodernism is not a coherent movement, but neither is their poetry, music or art very coherent.  Is the incoherence supposed to represent the desperation and lack of hope of post-modern society, or is their coherence hidden within, if only we would use our brains to think for ourselves.

The scary thing is, JL David was coherent.  David’s medium, his style, is representative and supportive of the environment and the type of politics that it rises from.  Postmodernism is counter to that kind of structuralism; it is counter culture.  But I like David’s paintings.  Does that make me a Fascist? (See, I was paying attention in class.)

I think about Baudrillard and the May 1968 Revolution in France.  11 million workers went on strike organized by the Leftist Union Federation and they nearly brought the DeGaul Government down.  DeGaul made a secret deal with the Union and they brought all the workers back.  My argument in my paper (though I certainly got the idea from elsewhere) was that he became jaded afterwards and eventually gave up and was reduced to making bad poetry.  As I write, I am still listening to Beaudrillard’s poetry/sound/music montage.  Is this chaotic montage supposed to make us think?  Or is this simply what was left of Baudrillard when he lost hope?

Let me ask you then?  Assuming that Baudrillard was dissatisfied with the outcome – that it was a blow to his ideals and he felt somehow betrayed or jaded – what would have been a suitable outcome for Baudrillard?  Anarchy?

Let me be a bit more direct.  And I promise not to blindly follow your advice because as soon as a Postmodernist dictates they become what they criticize making it hard for Postmodernists to get anywhere at all.  I picture the mobs of the French Revolution destroying civilization.  I picture Brian screaming helplessly at the crowd.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqq3e03EBQ

Rome is burning.  How do we get out of this mess?


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