First, what is postmodern? Postmodern
"reacts against earlier modernist principles, as by reintroducing traditional or classical elements of style or by carrying modernist styles or practices to extremes."
Okay. So what is modernism? Modernism
is "an artistic and cultural movement generally includes progressive art and architecture, music and literature emerging in the decades before 1914, as artists rebelled against late 19th century academic and historicist traditions."
Nothing is new under the sun. Everything is built upon a foundation--even ideas. Modernism is no different.
During the early part of the 19th century, much of Europe embraced the idea that Nature and/or the individual experience was the focus of art, literature, music and philosophy--Romanticism. This seems to be a response Europe's many wars.
Romanticism birthed twins, Realism and Rationalism. Whereas Romanticism approached ideas with subjectivity, Realism and Rationalism focused on external objectivity (i.e. what is reasonable and ordered). This reflected Europe's political stability.
By the late 19th century, industrialization marked a shift in ideas which questioned the progress of civilization--enter four of the most influential writers of our times: Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche and Marx.The Modernist Movement
"argued that the new realities of the 20th century were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their world view to accept that what was new was also good and beautiful." Basically, the Modernists stated, "To hell with tradition. Everything before us was wrong. We've got the answers and we're remaking civilization in our own image." Interestingly, they stood at the doorway to the bloodiest century in human history.
Intellectuals concluded that they couldn't stop industrialization so they might as well accept it and promote it. A good example of this in architecture is international design--buildings like Chicago's Sears Tower. Compared to the Palais Garnier, the Sears Tower is a very large, ugly black building.
Modernism primarily grew in capitalistic societies though rejected the consumerism aspect of society. In art, Wassily Kandinsky is a good example of modern art. In literature, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound are prominent examples of modernism. Postmodernism
"is any of a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding modernism... Postmodernism can also be used as a pejorative term to attack changes in society seen as undesirable as they relate to questioning of absolute value systems other forms of foundationalism."
The writer, Don DeLillo, provides an example of postmodern literature. Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Ikarus provide a narrow definition of postmodern music. In art, there really is no postmodern movement. A result of postmodernism in art might be the scumbling between high art and kitsch art as evident in the artist Christo.
Postmodernism, in general, is difficult to define as it tends to know what it doesn't like in society but doesn't offer a lucid example of what it promotes. One example of this is globalization, which postmodern intellectuals tend to accept and reject as part of a postmodern world. One could argue that Postmodernists, like Noam Chomsky, are actually late Modernists while Johan Norberg might be considered an early Postmodernist.
All that to say I was surprised at the result of the Quizilla answer to "What kind of postmodernist are you?"
You are a Theory Slut. The true elite of the postmodernists, you collect avant-garde Indonesian hiphop compilations and eat journal articles for breakfast. You positively live for theory. It really doesn't matter what kind, as long as the words are big and the paragraph breaks few and far between. What kind of postmodernist are you!? brought to you by Quizilla
Like Dismarum (see comments
), I thought I'd end up a "Tortured Conceptual Artist" or an organic food munching "Grassroots Activist." Even Michael's suggestion of being "some kind of weirdo" was a reasonable guess. But "Theory Slut" surprised me. Then again, maybe it didn't. I've always looked good wearing black eye liner.