There’s nothing I can intelligently add to a discussion of postmodernism. Fortunately, in my role as Assistant Village Idiot, I do have an important perspective often missing from the debate: blinking in astonishment at the obvious being overlooked.
Whenever anyone says anything in favor of postmodernism, opponents will claim they are not talking about real postmodernism and are hiding what they really mean to make it look innocuous.
Whenever anyone says anything against postmodernism, pomos will claim that their opponents are not talking about real postmodernism and are confusing it with something else to make it look evil.
AVI observations: So, whatever you say about postmodernism, you’re wrong. How convenient for everyone. But what an advantage for me! If whatever I say, I’m going to be wrong, that’s my natural habitat.
Modernists believe in objectivity, absolute truth, and absolute stuff in general, according to the postmodernists. Postmodernists believe everything is entirely subjective, that truth is entirely local and relative, and relativity in general, according to the modernists. Lots of both dislike religion: the modernists because of its uncertainty, the postmodernists because of its certainty.
AVI observations: I think I’m seeing a pattern here. But back in the village, I hear modernist hard-science engineering types freely acknowledge, with no pressure from pomos whatsoever, that sometimes perspective matters and situations change. Yet the people who make the most frequent absolutist statements are the pomos, who are humanities and soft-science fuzzy types.
Modernists don’t like to examine their assumptions, their perspective, their meta-narratives. However, they can do it if they have to. They do like to examine everything else. Postmodernists love to examine their assumptions, perspectives and meta-narratives. They just never get around to examining their social, sexual, political, and religious assumptions. They do get around to examining yours.
AVI observations: So postmodernism is mostly just an attitude of condescension about what everyone else believes, plus a very serious look on your face that shows you are thinking very hard. Your aim is to seem deep.
Modernism, on the other hand, is mostly just an attitude of skepticism about what everyone else believes, plus a very serious look on your face that shows you are thinking very hard. Your aim is to seem precise.
Both get to keep the default beliefs of their class, generation, and training without having to examine them in the slightest. So long as a few of you do the examination honestly, the rest you can merely appear to.
In conclusion, both modernism and postmodernism make great fashion accessories for your personality. Choosing between them will depend on the look you are going for.