Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Something I still remember from either a Bournemouth Open Day, a very first lecture or perhaps something another student said when I started at Bournemouth, was that 'you will find that postmodernism is everywhere'. Back then, postmodernism was just another one of those words to put aside til the time came, like SPSS, Feminism, decontexualised and chlamydia. But now, whoever it was, I see, was right.

This year, postmodernism has been looking over my shoulder in almost everything I do: it's fuelling my dissertation argument, it's been at the heart of some of my essays, and generally, whether I've realised at the time or not, it's underpinning just about every text book I read on all my University projects at the moment.

The problem is, whoever warned me about postmodernism nearly three years ago got one thing wrong. They hadn't bargained on me actually liking it.

Perhaps Universities, if they do nothing else, really open your eyes to your place in society, and finally show you glimpses of the real world before you enter into it. They act as the central site for generations of young people to take on board and evaluate the great thinkers and ideas that have shaped our society up til now - right before we go on to try and shape it ourselves. And since postmodernism is defining the aesthetic of the society we find ourselves in (it IS everywhere), it seems not the worst thing to actually spend some time thinking about.

For I quite fancy myself as a bit of an intellectual in the making - again, going to University at all has probably brought this egotism on - in that I want to entertain and try to understand the ideas of the great 20th century names, Saussere, Foucault, Baudrillard, Derrida and so on; those names that, on the first day of Uni, simply washed over you into the part of your brain marked 'probably won't need this name again', so that I can better understand, exist in and, who knows, affect my lifetime. University has perhaps dampened my belief in politics, despite it being the breeding ground for various movements and causes and petitions and campaigns and so on, all of us young people despairing at the inability for anyone but ourselves to see the way things really are. That sense of involvement, a genuine conviction in being able to make a difference, has lost some of its charm for me now.

Instead, I can see great enjoyment in the pretentious life of sitting about, writing about social and cultural issues in a detached, superior manner, casually obliterating entire periods of history, social movements and cultural trends of the past and the misguided present, telling people what was definitely wrong about 'Then' and what 'Now' definitely is and is not. Yes, that's the life for me.

And the reason postmodernism appeals so much in my modest quest for reputation and intellect is because, as University has shown, it is in everything I'm interested in, it is the period of my life, it is inescapable, for now. As someone once said, very wisely as it turns out, "You'll find that postmodernism is everywhere."

Update, 8/3/2007. I had no idea at all at the time I posted this blog, that on the same day, the 6th of March 2007, Jean Baudrillard died. He was 77.

Was Baudrillard, as I wrote about aspiring to critique and emulate the great philosophers of the last century like himself, uttering his very last words? Could his death have coincided with my declaration, setting in digital stone, as it were, that I would love to be considered a writer or even a philosopher of MY time? As Baudrillard died...have I begun? We shall soon see.

Jean Baudrillard, 1929 - 2007. In death we find out that he did live in reality, after all.

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