quarta-feira, março 29, 2017

Anything Goes: "The Cambridge Introduction to Postmodern Fiction" by Bran Nicol



Postmodernism scrutinizes the accepted ways of producing art and finds new ways to portray interesting things. Without this approach everyone would still be scratching stick men onto cave walls. In a world in which change happens so fast, it's useful and important to think in terms of what changes, why it changes, and how the change helps or hinders us. Having said that, and in the long run, post modernism is as irrelevant as any other “ism”, all of which had their own junk philosophies to contend with, what matters at the end of the day is the content of art and how society or an individual responds to it that matters. Sadly post modernism could have provoked a radical and revolutionary response to society but its adherents proved conservative, more interested in money and their careers to make any meaningful art. So unlike so many “isms” whose adherents created great works in spite of a particular ism´s junk philosophy, post modernism hasn´t produced many works of literature worth remembering. Postmodernism is not throwing a whole lot of weird stuff together and seeing what craziness happens. This, however, is what a lot of people, including artists, curators, critics, and journalists who all should know better, think it is, This "anything goes" postmodernism is what winds people up and makes them say 'That's not art!' as if there's something which art ought to be. Postmodernism should scrutinize the accepted ways of producing art and find new ways to portray interesting things. It's not an era, it's an approach that asks 'Is the way we make art/literature/film etc. the only way?' Some things that are called postmodern are rubbish, no doubt, but then a lot of things that aren't called postmodern are rubbish too. Postmodernism in the arts is what people produce who grew up in modernism, but are now bored either with modernism itself, or with the idea of modernism. They express this boredom either by breaking a few modernist rules and "referencing" or "appropriating" non-modernist sources, or by simply asserting that their perfectly modernist products are actually postmodern.

In Kant's time that dogma was usually of a religious type. In our time, it's more likely to be of a scientific, or rather scientist type, e.g., that neuroscience and evolutionary theory prove that competition, rather than collaboration, is the natural state of mankind. And that therefore Darwinian competition is self-evidently the best way forward for both individuals and organisations, whether they be (free) schools or global corporations. The political right hate postmodernism because it's inherently critical of this kind of traditional dogma and regularly refers to late capitalism, as if it's on the verge of collapse, which it probably is. The political left hate it because postmodernist thinkers regularly view the left's founding ideology, Marxism, as one of the Utopian but perniciously misguided 'grand narratives' that has tragically blighted millions of people's lives. People don't like exposing their most deeply held and bred-in-the-bone beliefs to skeptical doubt and interrogation, so no wonder postmodernism has become such a whipping boy for both the left and the right. To use postmodernist philosophy as a tool you have to be skeptical of post modernism itself, something one seldom witnesses of post modernists. If you believe in postmodernist philosophy is to be intellectually dishonest, which I suspect most post modernists are. You certainly see the cynicism in postmodern visual art where irony is the excuse for lack of belief in the artist and a perpetual excuse for rubbish. Postmodernist architecture is really neo-modernism, modernism without the belief in modernism. One also gets the impression from postmodernist novels of a lack of belief in the story/narrative being told, which is fine if the irony and jokes are good enough but they seldom are. Even from the supposed good authors, you don't so much escape into another world as laugh at the world half constructed with one foot in and one foot out. Though I see postmodernist fans claim a lot to be post modernism that I would argue isn't. To me, postmodernism is more like punk, more an attitude than a philosophy, something that makes you stop and think, reassess before moving on. Postmodernism is intellectually tiresome and I came to that conclusion when I read a postmodernist text deconstructing physics. Well, even Portuguese intellectuals when they jump off a very tall building are subject to gravity and will fall at 9.8 m/sec/sec. Maybe when they splat on the ground, they will realise we are all subject to the same physical laws.

And here’s my attempt at being postmodern as well…

A dire jump-out from a cul-de-sac?
A big Yippy-eh! Mixed with a "couldn't care less"
(Oh yeah! a huge ego trip as well...)
The thing is, I do not recall anyone involved at the time being able to construct a solid profile or solid comprehension of the postmodern tag... it was a big, huge stream, some swimmers ahead of the rest, but not everyone trying to, consciously, have good ropes to hang from...
Am I implying almost everyone could not make much sense of it and followed and enjoyed?
Yes, indeed!
Spot-on on the mockery!
As often, we could be picked by today's distance and perspective...
Long time no read, no hear no see. I like the Nicol’s book. Was busy and I sold a Painting!
Envious Artists told me Overpaid....
I replied Oversexed and if you do not Go Overyou.
To those who tried to call me and got the answering machine it was a Joke....
Sincerely Apologies.
For the record
Peep. If it is the P.M. tell him I will call back. If it is, someone else tell them to F.O....

Sorry. Silly me, forgot to Change the Voicemail. Long Time as well no hear of Spielberg's Work. Looking Forward to.

2 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

I see it as a deliberate act to destroy the very ideas of Right & Wrong, Good & Evil. If there is no evil, there can be no good. If there is no devil, there can be no God. And if there is no God, then we can do whatever the hell we want with no eternal consequences.

And that is why I oppose post-modernism in all its guises and forms.

Manuel Antão disse...

You nailed it in a nutshell. I was trying to find some conclusion to what I'd written, like you just did, but I could only come up with the story. It was better than nothing...

Thanks for your "bottom-line" comment. It's a nice finish.