Readathon: Postmodernism

There was never any shortage of good conversation when I worked at a university. At my most recent university job, postmodernism was a big topic, and a colleague of mine taught a class on it. Friendly debates arose in the hallways and break rooms of our department over the virtues and dangers of using technology to replicate real life through photos, Internet, video games, and even mass reproduction of art. Taken a few steps further, this topic can morph into the nature of reality today, and to what degree the replicas (art, digital “matter,” man-made versions of everything, even language and history) have now become reality, instead of just duplicating it. It’s a fun topic to touch on, but it can become overwhelming quickly. And so it was with this book.

I had previously read a few works written by people who are commonly associated with various aspects of postmodernism. But the term “postmodernism” is used in so many different ways and contexts, it often defies definition. I looked to this book for a quirky, whirlwind overview of postmodernism, and it delivered. And made me dizzy. It was like hanging out at a undergrad coffee shop and overhearing three naively pretentious conversations at once. And it seemed like every few sentences I had to retrace my steps and see whether the logic connecting the ideas presented was actually sound (often it wasn’t). Wait, how does romanticism relate to Y2K and then Al Qaeda? But the goal of introducing post modernism was achieved quite well, and with tons of clever illustrations.

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