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Monday, July 19, 2010

Post-Modernism, Banjos and Metaphysical Literature

I was trying to explain post-modernism to someone the other day, so I looked it up.  One definition was this: "Post-modernism is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative".
Another place says that post-modernism is a reaction against the rationality of modernism and the expectation that progress is inevitable or even possible.  
The best definition of post-modernism I ever saw was a bumper sticker that said, "S.......t  happens!"  You'll have to fill in the first word as it's uncouth and is not allowed by my own pre-modernistic belief system.

Post-modernism, as nearly as I can tell is the trend in literature and the arts, philosophy and music that, where the modernist says things make sense if you puzzle them out and that we can actually improve things, the postmodernist artist says, "Uhn Uh!"

Postmodernism has crept into the American culture in insidious ways giving us trendy movies in which nothing happens, no lesson is learned and there is really no reason for watching the movie other than a morbid curiousity about pointless lives depicted in the movie.

So what has this got to do with the banjo - an instrument associated with the most moralizing body of musical works in history.  I mean wretched people do tend to die in banjo tunes or, at least, if good people die, somebody usually sticks on a moral in the last verse to rationalize it all.

Post-modernism is relentlessly miserable and why not? The post-modernist sees no point in anything anyway, so what's he got to be cheerful about?

Banjo music, however, sounds relentlessly cheerful even when the lyrics are the most mournful words ever laid down on paper. Your girl may have left you, you may be broke and your dog may have died, but the banjo plunks along all the while reminding you that somewhere in the world there's a little bit of fun to be had and that the song is driving relentlessly to its end anyway, so buck up!

Actually, nobody else has written anything else about postmodern banjo, so I figured this would get me my own first page on Google Search (if you happen to be searching for "postmodern banjo").  Wait till the search engines get a load of this title! Note I've deliberately used both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated spelling of postmodernism so that either way you Google search it, the web crawler robots will have this post catalogued.  Also, I'll stick it on my Banjo Hangout website so it gets maximum exposure too and I'll add a link back to this site for no other reason than to get even more Search Engine Optimization (SEO) points.

Truth is, this post has no other purpose other than to get people to look at it and go "Huh?" 

My first foray into post-modernist literature!  Maybe next time I'll write one about "Peanut Butter and the Bedpan Ukelele".  Who knows, maybe that one will wind up a reference in someone's doctoral thesis on postmodern literature.  I can see the title now, "The Impact of Postmodernist Thought on the Metaphysicality of Banjo Hangout Forum Posts During the Late Mike Gregory Era".  

Hey, I can dream can't I? 


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