So… this little article I wrote got picked up by ABC Unleashed (which is great), spread around the world on Google News (which is also great), and suddenly lots of people wanted to say stuff (which was the whole point of it). Some of it was thoughtful, considered, erudite; some of it was extreme, rash, ill-conceived; a small amount was just rude (which is disappointing, but expected). Such is the postmodern world.
Most people came to the debate with an opinion on the skit, but not really an opinion on the piece – which is fine. Some didn’t seem to have understood my point, which could be a fault of my writing (although others did get my point), but still felt compelled to make a comment about it, and/or postmodernism. The mere fact that so many people felt compelled to, and could, comment on the issue strengthens my argument that the whole saga is representative of postmodernism. I did notice that the Herald-Sun website comments were up to 1086, with a very particular perspective coming through – read them here.
I decided to write a response on the ABC site to much of the comments, because I think part of the whole postmodern thingy is about discourse – rather than some “idiotic moron” (this is a comment from one of the posts) having a “rant”, and then expecting it to represent some absolute truth.
Some of the comments I found funny were from contributors who assumed the term “Discuss” meant that I would then compile the comments, and give a final decision on what the answer was (or maybe people wanted me to give them a grade – High Distinctions all round). All very modernist, don’t you think?.
Anyway, here is my response – it is comment 245 on the ABC site.
“For those modernists, who would like me to define postmodernism (thus establishing a “truth”), I might say my favourite (in relative terms) interpretation of it is a state embodying and embracing complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, interconnectedness or interreferentiality. I adapted this definition from Wikipedia, which is probably one of the most cogent examples of postmodernism.
The article wasn’t about establishing what was wrong or right about the skit (although I do state my personal perspective in the article – see para 12), but how the entire experience, including the response, can serve as an example of postmodernism (or late modernism), which as Richard Eckersley says is “marked by ambivalence, ambiguity, relativism, pluralism and contingency.
The response on this site, and on all the news sites, provides examples for each of these, and also reflects how people come to most texts with their own agendas, and personal biases. Everybody has a view (including the 242 so far on this site), and these views reflect a diversity of opinion, but ultimately your opinion is relative. As I say, I agree with some, and disagree with others, but at least people feel strongly enough to debate the issue.”