February 12, 2003


We're still not past postmodernism: An archly ironic view continues to permeate pop culture despite claims that irony was dead after 9/11. (ROBERT W. BUTLER, February 9, 2003, The Kansas City Star)
One big attraction of postmodernism is its playfulness. Rather than becoming aggravated by the told-in-reverse chronology of the film "Memento," postmodern audiences find pleasure in experiencing this cinematic puzzle.

The downside is that postmodernism can seem terribly cool and uninvolving.

"It creates an intellectualized film-going experience," Poe said. "The problem is that it's more fun to think about some of these films than to actually experience them."

Thompson describes postmodernism as "all smoke and mirrors. It never lights on a topic. It refuses to be taken seriously."

Postmodernism is not so much about things, as about how we perceive things.

" 'Adaptation' is a good thing for American movies," Thompson continued. "It makes us question the nature of storytelling. For every corny movie like 'Titanic' that you have to let wash over you, it's nice to have another movie that brings attention to the process itself."

Even so, the appeal of postmodernism is limited, Thompson says: "A movie like 'Adaptation' is like a trip to your grandmother's house. It's really satisfying to visit now and then, but you don't want to move into your grandma's house."

Poe puts it this way: "Most people pay their seven bucks for the right to identify with the characters on the screen. Popcorn tends to go better with feeling than with thinking."

And Basinger doesn't see the old narrative conventions vanishing any time soon.

"People go to a movie that they can respond to," she said. "They find it, they tell each other about it, they go see it. As long as that process is still going on, the traditional movie has a future."

One of our favorite things about post-modernism is that it was central to the first novel, Don Quijote--where, in the second book, characters "recognize" the Don, having read about him in the first book--making it a pre-modern innovation. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2003 11:29 PM

I'd suggest that we're not even to
post-modernism yet, not as a whole, anyway. In fact, I'd go one further and suggest we never will be The idea that "post-modernism" is the inevitable next step in human thought, as opposed to merely one more philosophy to poke its head up out of the murk is just Marxism of Thought, and therefore absurd.

Posted by: Timothy at February 13, 2003 5:19 PM