How to Speak Post-modern

Stephen Katz:

First, you need to remember that plainly expressed language is out of the question. It is too realist, modernist and obvious. Postmodern language requires that one uses play, parody and indeterminacy as critical techniques to point this out. Often this is quite a difficult requirement, so obscurity is a well-acknowledged substitute. For example, let’s imagine you want to say something like, “We should listen to the views of people outside of Western society in order to learn about the cultural biases that affect us”. This is honest but dull. Take  the word “views”. Postmodernspeak would change that to “voices”, or better, “vocalities”, or even better, “multivocalities”. Add an adjective like “intertextual”, and you’re covered. “People outside” is also too plain. How about “postcolonial others”? To speak postmodern
properly one must master a bevy of biases besides the familiar racism, sexism, ageism, etc. For example, phallogocentricism (male-centredness combined with rationalistic forms of binary logic).

Finally “affect us” sounds like plaid pajamas. Use more obscure verbs and phrases, like “mediate our identities”. So, the final statement should say, “We should listen to the intertextual, multivocalities of postcolonial others outside of Western culture in order to learn about the phallogocentric biases that mediate our identities”. Now you’re talking postmodern!

Hyperbole and a Half’s Latest Webtoon

This is a good deal lighter than our usual fare here, but hopefully you’ll forgive my indulgence in it on the final post of the week:

All I knew was that being a dinosaur felt very different from being a person, and I was doing things that I had never even dreamed of doing before. Of course, I had always had the ability to do these things — even as a person — but I didn’t know that. I’d just assumed that I was unable.  As a dinosaur, I didn’t have any of those assumptions.  It felt like I could do whatever I wanted without fear of repercussions.

Unconventional Shakespeare director sets play in 16th century Europe

The Onion for the win:

MORRISTOWN, NJ—In an innovative, tradition-defying rethinking of one of the greatest comedies in the English language, Morristown Community Players director Kevin Hiles announced Monday his bold intention to set his theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in 16th-century Venice.

“I know when most people hearThe Merchant Of Venice, they think 1960s Las Vegas, a high-powered Manhattan stock brokerage, or an 18th-century Georgia slave plantation, but I think it’s high time to shake things up a bit,” Hiles said. “The great thing about Shakespeare is that the themes in his plays are so universal that they can be adapted to just about any time and place.” …

Some of Hiles’ actors, however, have reacted negatively to his decision. Some are worried Hiles lacks the knowledge and talent to pull off the radical revisionist interpretation, while others characterized it as “self-indulgent.”

“I guess it’s the director’s dramatic license to put his own personal spin on the play he is directing, but this is a little over-the-top,” said Stacey Silverman, who played Nurse Brutus in Hiles’ 2003 all-female version of Julius Caesar. “I just think Portia not being an aviatrix does a tremendous disservice to the playwright.”

Added Silverman: “You just don’t mess with a classic.”

The Deepak Chopra Wisdom Generator

File this under: Things that exist on the internet and make me very happy: The Deepak Chopra Wisdom Generator. It takes random words from Deepak Chopra’s real Twitter account and randomly generates wisdom from Deepak. A few samples from my two minutes of using it:

“Everything arises and subsides in positive external reality.”

“The Higgs boson opens new balance.”

“Perception fascinates the doorway to truth.”

“The secret of the universe regulates a symphony of happiness.”

(Also, as long as we’re on the subject, I hope you’re aware of the Martin Luther Insult Generator.)