6 thoughts on “Ambivalent Affect (feminist killjoys)

    1. Depends on what you mean by postmodernism, I guess.
      1) historical label: some theorists label the contemporary era “postmodern,” which the define as subject to time-space compression (Harvey), the inability for master-narratives to provide world historical meaning (Lyotard), and a cultural logic of late capitalism characterized by pastiche and the crisi of historicity (Jameson). I largely agree with them.

      2) art and literature. Postmodernism in art and literature movements is interesting, but Im mixed on it. Postmodern lit, for instance Delillo and Pynchon, borrows from the best of modernism but drops the pretension yet only achieves mixed results. I think the moment of postmodernism has largely passed here. I do enjoy th scifi and cyberpunk in particular the came from this moment.

      3) “postmodernists”. There was a time when certain groups of thinkers or creators called themselves postmodern. It was never very consistent and it seems to be out of fashion now. Some strong postmoderns claims included complete relativism, the unverifiability of truth, nihilism, and solipsism. It would be hard to find serious people committed to these ideas now, and it was mostly sloppy thinking when it was done previously. There are important insights to come out this era, however, so I don’t want to discount it completely. However, I always felt post structuralism was much better than Pomo.

  1. In order to be in a situation that can be accurately depicted as postmodernism, it would be necessary to experience modernity. It seems to me that where it concerns politics, postmodernism remains the favoured and derogatory term of many on both the right and left, to describe a vast assortment of thought that they otherwise have no clue as to where to begin understanding any of it.

    1. i agree. when “postmodern” is used as an insult in place of a clear analysis of a situation, it reveals a carelessness of thought.

      this might be controversial, but i think that certain aspirations of modernism are commendable and worth continuing. modernist aesthetics and modernist literature are incredibly innovative. those too quick to jump on the anti-modern bandwagon probably haven’t read enough Beckett or Joyce or seen enough avant-garde art to have an honest idea of what they’re critiquing. (don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe habermas or other perfectionist blowhards i/r/t modernism)

      then again, there were some interesting and innovative things to come out of postmodernism. experiments in non-meaning, the infinite plasticity of things, or ideas without foundation. but when it became the hegemonic ideology, postmodernism helped underwrite things like american neo-conservativism (see shadia drury on this) or relativistic nonsense (like all the anti-science stuff) that deserve our political scorn.

      i’ll say this again: i think post-structuralism was level-headed and useful. postmodernism often went a little too far and was such a diffuse phenomena it’s hard to clearly account for it.

  2. Even account for it’s existence perhaps, apart from as a slur. Yes, I don’t see it as being necessary or desirable either to oppose modernized pursuits in every instance, including the sciences. When people refer to what ‘they’ve’ done with modernity and science after all, its generally one of those occasions where the closest truth is unrecognizable as its being spoken.

    Incidentally, I have to say your latest series of entries relating to Feminism have been engaging.

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