The thing that I won't mention

The thing I won't mention is the thing there's been so much hysteria about; as it usually happens with the one that's present in the new thing. It's slightly louder when it's also made by the other one (like the last time it happened). There's no pressing need for me or anyone to dissect it in detail immediately. As I usually add, "it's not a film review." Perhaps, those with big 'reach' and influence should so that they can contain the business prospects of the new thing (with good reason). But an analysis doesn't have that urgency. It actually requires that the consumer (of the analysis) have consumed the new thing. So I'll wait. In fact, the new thing's saturation got me completely, subconsciously indifferent to it. And the hysteria has significantly subsided too.

To the troll: for what it's worth, I might end up talking about it regardless of what you say (just as you can't stop fantasizing about you and the one doing whatever regardless of what I say). Can't you at least wait until then?

About Postmodernism

The simplest way to understand is to break the underlying concepts to its simpler components. You might have come across more complex definitions/explanations but for a beginner it may be a little too confusing. So at the risk of being inaccurate (or even incorrect), I'll say this:

Post-modernism is a framework that could be used to identify the nature of something: literature, aesthetics (of a building, painting, sculpture etc.) and other forms of 'human expression'.

In sociology, modernity refers to a historical period (just like enlightenment), roughly from the 15th century to the age of industrial revolution (mid-late 19th century). Modernism may then be understood as rules and forms of expression that was common for this period. However, most scholars argue that specific, identifiable characteristics emerged or were prominent between the late 18th century and early 20th century.

What are these characteristics? It varies depending on the field of enquiry. Lets take fiction, for example: how was fiction written? Was it linear/non-linear? Did the protagonist always the one whose point of view guided the narrative? Did it reject the zeitgeist of the day? Did it ponder the wider realities of existence than those set within the teleological complexities of the then human society? etc.

(One can do some reading on exactly what those characteristics were for, say, literature. Similarly, you'll find a set of characteristics for modernist architecture.)

Again, we need to keep in mind that the time period where they became prominent is not all that relevant as much as the characteristics themselves. Some of Nietzsche's writings could be categorized as postmodern even though they were written in the 19th century. Nevertheless, postmodernism can also have a temporal identifier because of the particular time period when its (supposed) charcteristics became predominant.

So if you know what the modernist characteristics of literature are, you can then identify another as postmodernist or not by checking its non/conformity.

Where it becomes a bit more complex is when we try to apply the framework on works that may not fit the Western context. The general debate among 'local' scholars has been about identifying some of the contemporary works -- say, films -- as postmodern because of its relationship to the nature of most films in Tamil/India or whichever 'micro-context' one is talking about. Yes they reject the 'norm' but what is the norm? If the norm itself isn't modernist (more like victorian), how could its rejection be called postmodernist? Where are its reflexive nodes situated?

But there are also several instances where the framework seemingly fits in very well because of their conformity to the western characteristics of postmodernism. This complexity arises, among others things, from the dichotomous 'growth' that many post-colonial, less-industrialized societies have gone through. Where the life and living conditions' 'diversity' allows the materialist existences to operate in one level (in pre-modern and even medieval conditions) and the mind and quasi-materialist (such as books and music) to exist in another.

Regardless of what 'it is', what it's been made to be is less than interesting. In its current usage 'postmodern' may not necessarily be a worthwhile categorization at all. Because, many of what we do and perceive as good/bad aesthetically and otherwise is firmly rooted in modernism. This is why Giddens would rather call it late-modern. Besides, it's not even a label that makes something readily identifiable, even in the broadest terms (like calling something Marxist). But given its extensive usage by all kinds of wannabes, it is most likely to be understood as this: postmodern something = crap.

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