Postmodern Methodology is Hypocrisy "What is striking is precisely the degree of consensus in postmodernist discourse that there is no longer any possibility of consensus, the authoritative announcements of the disappearance of final authority and the promotion and recirculation of a total and comprehensive narrative of a cultural condition in which totality in no longer thinkable". So there is a consensus that there is no consensus, an authority saying there is no final authority and a totalizing narrative that totality no longer exists. These three ideas could lead one to believe that postmodernism is hypocrisy. In a way, it has to be hypocritical. If a definition of postmodernism is the erosion of the six pillars of modernity but those six pillars still exist regardless of postmodernism that how does postmodernism exist? Postmodernism seems to have two completely separate trains of thought.
The first train of thought is the idea of para logy and disrupting the hegemony. The second train of thought is the idea of commodification. The two seem to have nothing to do with each other. On one hand, one could think that postmodernism is a good thing because it frees people's thought processes. Postmodernism is the destruction of hegemony, opening up plurality, diversity, and heterogeneity. On the other hand, it commodities culture and feeds into capitalism... though back over in the first hand it seems to be against capitalism because capitalism is hegemony.
Why does postmodern thought try to disrupt the modern capitalist hegemony that it is also feeding into? Postmodernists can claim to argue against everything modern, but where does that actually get them? They use the claim that there are no patterns or archetypes as a paradigm for postmodernism, therefore defeating the purpose. Postmodernism seems to be a push for Lyotard's idea of para logy. We " ll define para logy as "faulty or deliberately contradictory reasoning, designed to shift and transform the structures of reason itself".
It seems that postmodernists are argumentative to modernists in hopes of changing reality and power structures, but appear to create a new just as static reality and power structure in their places. This new reality becomes hegemony, becomes modern. So do postmodernists need to evolve to stay ahead of the ever-changing modernism that they help create? Is the purpose of postmodernism only to engage modernism in some sort of power struggle? This is, of course, only my own speculation. Culture is Com modified After an arduous analysis of the reading, class notes and discussions, the author of this paper has come up with the following summary: All the forces of media and cultural production are interrelated.
Everything fits into a system; an industry linked with the economy. Culture is produced in the same way as light bulbs and toilet paper. The media is a tool in maintaining this industry of culture. The general public is manipulated and become unable to criticize their society. All the ideas one may have about culture have been com modified to fit into the system of culture created by the economy. Art and culture become systemized.
Terms like avant-garde and original are used to sell art that is neither because it is part of the system. Anything truly avant-garde eventually becomes com modified and assimilated into the system. Turning social and cultural objects into economic objects diversifies capitalism. Everything can be bought or sold". ... all contemporary life has been dismantled and reproduced in scrupulous facsimile. But the mood of all this is far from that of quiet satisfaction or indifference; rather, it produces 'a panic-stricken production of the real and the referential' (Simulations, 13), such that simulation takes the form, not of unreality, as many of Baudrillard's followers wish to believe, but of manufactured objects and experiences which attempt to be more real than reality itself - or, in Baudrillard's term, 'hyper real'".
We substitute monetary value for the value of the aesthetic experience. Art becomes controlled by the economy. The market determines what is recognized as art. Gallery owners, driven by the economy, assign values. Curators in museums and art historians do the same thing. This goes along with Jameson's ideas about commodification of representation.
We buy and sell representations (monetary exchange) as part of a capitalist market system. Culture is central to economic relations. Art is supposed to represent emotions and memories, but we see it now as value and culture. Art has its value only because people have placed a value on it. This goes for most anything that can be bought or sold. We place this value because we are told, we are convinced, that the art has worth.
The media and the academy, for the most part, tell us this information and we go along with it. People are not left to make their own value judgments because all values have been set for them. Regardless of whether we even find something aesthetically please we still buy into its value. In order to affect change, art must gain critical and public recognition without being assimilated as commodity or historical object. Also, it must not be so ambiguous as to be indecipherable by the educated gallery / museum audience. And it must be understood as subverting the conditions that have reduced art to simply monetary value.
"If art must always seek to protect itself from the threat of this commodification by art galleries, theatres, TV networks and universities, then the logical extreme of this attitude is to refuse to be art at all, to refuse to embody oneself in stable or reproducible forms... ". We further commodify art by selling off trinkets and replicas. Almost any museum one could go to will have a gift shop. They have become an accepted and expected part of one's museum visit. Gift shops reproduce art and artifacts into everything from posters and postcards to coffee mugs, aprons and children's games.
One can send a postcard of a Monet painting they saw (but not necessarily understood or appreciated) to a friend and in some way prove to themselves and other that they are cultured. One can convince oneself of the reality of culture, that they have some hold on culture, all in exchange for money. One can therefore purchase culture. Some museums even have their gift shops on the web, eliminating the need to even visit the museum and see the art first hand. Along the same line with this are the chains of museum shops popping up in malls across the country. The original piece of art is no longer needed.
One can now gain happiness from putting a Van Gogh magnet on their fridge because one can feel as if one is bringing culture into one's own home. The idea of art, what defines art, the actual piece of art being com modified - none of this matters. What the viewer feels when they look at a painting is a simulacrum. The feelings of like or dislike they have about a particular piece of art have been assigned to them. Art no longer needs to have any connection with reality. "In the regime of simulation which is contemporary culture, Baudrillard diagnoses the incessant production of images with no attempt to ground them in reality".
Postmodernists would see the mass production of Monet coffee mugs as an example of commodification and the power of the economic market. A humanist or 'enlightened' person may argue that this is just a way to spread the joy of art, and that people still have the ability to make personal value judgments. Either way, all the power is in money. Money creates hegemony regardless of modern or postmodern views. The argument of postmodernists that most objects and ideas are com modified is valid.
Capitalism has run away with culture. However, the idea of postmodernism seems unstable... but maybe that's the point.