Dear all, I woke up this morning and was all out of sorts. What used to make sense to me in my dissertation all of a sudden has taken on a degree of complexity that has surpassed my own control, which is ironic, as part of my dissertation focuses on complexity theory. In any case, it seems as though my dissertation has grown into an autonomous entity (I long suspected it had a life of its own, but this morning it basically presented with with its official declaration of secession from the union that used to be my mind). I am still producing apple turnovers, have run out of good coffee and just noticed that just yesterday I purchased two giant tubs of cream cheese, which expired two days ago. So I am not really sure what to do today. I should be working toward finishing another chapter, but now I am wondering if I even agree with the things I wrote over the course of this last week. Tricky. I am thus wondering what to do in order to avoid that problem. I am currently looking into the possibility of also suing for the rights to Anna Nicole Smith’s deceased body. I do not really have a plan for what to do with it, but I assume having her dead body and writing a monograph on how that changes my life can still get me a job in a cultural studies program. Ok, that was mean. Maybe I should just re-read White Noise today.
As I increasingly felt that I was indeed all out of sorts, I decided to, well, get me some new sorts. So I figured what better place to look for new sorts than the place where you can get pretty much anything: amazon. Upon looking for sorts, the first things that came up, however, were a “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” T-shirt, a novel called The House of All Sorts (which I should probably read–could provide me with a possibility to inform myself about what kinds of sorts are our there before I decide to purchase new ones), as well as a DVD of Pimp my Ride. Strange. Made me think, though. Not sure if I want to look into pimping my sorts, or pimping my dissertation first. Again, it seems as though it would increase my job prospects for cultural studies departments if I put some nice rims and maybe an LCD screen that plays episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on my dissertation. Ok, sorry, I will stop now.
By the way, I would like to propose a new sport called “extreme amazoning.” Two disciplines: 1) find the weirdest thing amazon sells, 2) find something amazon in fact does not sell (amazon’s seller-network included). I will put one out there: they do sell a guide for how not to get burned while trying to obtain mail order brides.
Now my actual concern for today: postmodernism. Figured when things get too complicated I need to get back to the basics. My question for you today is: where do we locate the beginning of postmodernity (i.e. the actual period, including socioeconomic changes, corresponding subjectivity, etc.)? I would like this explanation to be as precise as possible. What is the date? If there is not a precise date, what historical moment do we consider the marker? Yes, we are all familiar with Lyotard, Jameson and all those people, but when did the whole thing practically begin? By this I mean: we talk about decentered subjectivity, all of us becoming postmodern etc. If we look at postmodernity as a state of Being (in a Heideggerian sense) the question is simply: are we postmodern? Why? Why not? If so, how precisely does that manifest itself (in actual, practical consequences on the level of being)? Can anyone help bring more precision to this debate apart from quite imprecise theoretical cliches that dominate this debate. Just to put that out there: I would argue that we have not become truly postmodern when it comes to Being until recently. I disagree with Jameson on the timeline here. But there are other timelines as well (Harvey: 1973, Nick Brown: 1964, …). This is precisely what I mean by being all out of sorts. This is a very basic question with large consequences. What does it really mean to be postmodern? Is this a cultural dominant, or something emergent? When has it become dominant? May it even be over? How so? Just wondering if people have ideas here, or if you can suggest someone who has put this in writing other than the already slightly dated biggies (Jameson, Haraway, Lyotard, Hassan, Baudrillard, Foucault, Harvey, Deleuze/Guattari, etc.).