Thursday, January 25, 2018

All that is solid melts into air.

As you know, "postmodern" is sometimes used as a general-purpose pejorative by right-wing types. I feel fairly safe in saying that none of these people have the first clue what the word actually denotes, historically. I mean, that's okay; it's really slippery and most people don't, but then again, most people don't use it to try to sound hifalutin while doling out abuse. Still, being a linguistic descriptivist, I have to accept that if a critical mass of people is using it to mean "stuff I don't like, librul elitists, something something moral relativism," we must accept that as one possible definition.

But I can't help feeling that we really are moving into a kind of postmodern (in a meaningful sense) fever dream, where words and concepts are completely disconnected from actual things. Like, Tony Perkins saying it's A-okay for President Mango Madness to have had an affair with a porn star? You might not have liked what it meant, but there really was a point in time when being a Christian fundamentalist actually did mean something. Nowadays, nothing appears to mean anything. Hyper-patriotic American hawks being cool with Russian agents fucking with our elections? The Greatest Generation having no problem with actual, honest-to-god homegrown nazis? These should be logical impossibilities, AND YET. Where will it all end?

You talk about "postmodernity," but nobody's really a postmodernist in the sense that they're advocating for the state of affairs that the concept describes; it's just a way to characterize the world, whether you agree with it or not. And yet, now I can't help noting that that's not true. If things mean anything, then the republican party and the right in general just collapses in on itself. Weakening to virtual non-existence the relationship between the signifier and the signified is the only way they can hold power. Okay okay, I know this isn't some sort of startling new idea that's just come into play since Trump has been around, but his election sure puts the whole thing into stark contrast. And I can't help but feel that until we don't have a political movement embracing the worst fucking kind of postmodernism, we have no chance of moving towards a healthy society.

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