Monday, March 15, 2010

Post-postmodernism: Danger / Caution! Peligro / Precaución

If, as I have demonstrated, and others believe also – that faith is a characteristic of the Post-postmodern (Po-pomo) – I fear that we may be in for a bumpy ride, for the Pied Piper’s melodic vehicle is driven by a tyrannical maniac. And, where there is a tyrant, there are the foolish faithful ready to follow, like rats to the sea. *

In the last journal entry, I wrote of the American, French, and Russian Revolutions to demonstrate that paradigm shifts in the Arts have adjunct massive cultural and social upheaval, sometimes beneficial, more often life threatening to millions before the potential benefit (sometimes) comes to the fore. I also wonder which comes first, the shift, or the upheaval? Perhaps it is a bit of both interacting and egging each other on (pun intended). Sometimes, the resultant conflagration is seized and used by a maniacal leader such as Stalin in the second, Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, or Hitler, in the Second World War to steer a people and /or nation into the jaws of hell. Often the Arts are used to aid and abet the political / religious leader’s obsession as was Adolph Hitler’s ambitious use of Architecture through willing architects Albert Speer, Hermann Giesler, and Fritz Todt to glorify the state using slave labor gathered from the Jewish and other ghettos. At the same time Hitler managed a Brobdingnagian heist of great art by sacking the museums of conquered nations and by confiscating the art of wealthy Jewish families. Raoul Eshelman in Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism discusses "Oruzhie vozmezdiia" (Weapon of vengeance) briefly, and describes how the Nazi horror is somehow relegated to the banal through the protagonist's reduction of evil by an act of faith.*2


Scene from "Oruzhie vozmezdiia" (Weapon of vengeance)

Instead, the fact that survivors of the Nazi concentration camps somehow overcame the horrors encountered through a blind faith in goodness does not in any way mitigate the experience, and knowledge of the Nazi evil.

Blind and / or dogmatic faith - in a philosophy, a particular religion, a religious and / or political leader, in an institution - leads to war, revolution, and economic calamity. Blind faith is fatal to civilization and people, even if it is accomplished as a temporary state imposed through the vehicle of a character in a work of fiction. I am not predicting a calamity based on a mass Popomo faith based mentality, though I am worried about the possibility.* Instead of making that prediction, I, like Candide will tend my garden, and hope that mankind’s self-inflicted catastrophes do not find me, which, I suppose is a kind of performative faith based act.

H-m-m-m-m-m, are actual people capable of performatives?


* The word faith is used here in the general sense of the word, not in the Christian sense.

* 2 Eshelman's Performatism allows that the identification with the protagonist is only temporary, and only for the duration of the reading / viewing.


Eshelman, Raoul. Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism. Aurora, Colorado: Davies Group, 2008.
--------------“Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism,” Anthropoetics 6, no. 2 (Fall 2000 / Winter 2001), Viewed 1:27 EST, Tuesday, March 9, 2010.

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