Limits of Postmodernism

I don’t agree with this but thought it was interesting to ponder nonetheless:

Use Google’s ngram viewer to look at the incidence of the word “postmodernism” in books since 1975 and you find a sharp rise, peaking in around 1997, then an equally sharp decline. Plot this against the use of the word “internet” and the comparison is startling. Almost unused before the mid-80s, “internet” overtakes “postmodernism” in 2000, and carries on rising. All avant-gardes are in the business of futurism. They make an attempt to inhabit the space they predict, and in so doing, they bring it into being. Postmodernism was, crucially, a pre-digital phenomenon. In retrospect, all the things that seemed so exciting to its adherents – the giddy excess of information, the flattening of old hierarchies, the blending of signs with the body – have been made real by the internet. It’s as if the culture was dreaming of the net, and when it arrived, we no longer had any need for those dreams, or rather, they became mundane, part of our everyday life. We have lived through the end of postmodernism and the dawning of postmodernity.

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It’s too tempting: why don’t you agree with this?

Also, one of the links on the page was “Which Pynchon is most filmable” and I saw it as “Which Pynchon is most flammable” and thought “hmm…I’d actually like to know that.” I propose we test it…and then add it to the Internet in a gesture of postmodern information overload…


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The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

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5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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