Re: unusual language

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Wed, 9 Oct 1996 10:50:25 -0400

I think postmodernism has catches a lot of flack because for some reason
it makes us uncomfortable. I try to remember the reception psychoanalytic
theory received in its day -- theorists such as Jung, now widely
respected, then ridiculed -- in order to try and figure out why. . .

. . .because it ain't that hard to figure out what the basic ideas of pomo
theory are! Start with things like Werner Heisengerg's uncertainty
principle, and go right on through to reader-response theory, and the
basic idea, I think, is that humans take part in making their own world.
Reality is not an object "out there" nor is a human being a subject "in
here" -- reality and human being are both complexly "in-between," an idea
which implies greater human responsibility, not less, because one's
responsibilities no longer stop at one's own skin.

In other words, most people I've read associate modernism with
disciplinarity/compartmentalization (easy separations between human
subjectivity and objective reality, for example) -- and
whatever comes "after" the heyday of that way of seeing things is called
"post" modern, mainly because it adopts a more integrated way of
approaching all sorts of matters.

If images are important to understanding postmodernism, the images I think
are important are projections -- i.e., where our "pictures" of
postmodernism really come from, what pre-existing investments make us
want to write or laugh it off even though we might not understand it!!

Rather than "image in search of identity" as a definition, I'll
substitute "projections in search of a whipping post." :) But hopefully
we'll get to better definitions than either of these!