Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Death of Postmodernism Part III

David Foster Wallace was the star of stars of the literary intelligentsia. Dave Eggers, George Saunders, and many others borrowed DFW's hyper-talkative style, if not the full madness of his hyper-intelligence. Where does their cause go now?

Philosophically, postmodern literature is a dead end; self-referential to the point of becoming an endless vortex collapsing into itself: untethered madness. Its writers convey not knowledge, clarity, or wisdom, but linguistic posing-- the most educated writers in history whose glibness hides a collection of know-nothings. They show the markers of schooling, the footnotes and academic jargon, prisms of theories and assumptions cribbed from textbook after textbook, which serves for them not as avenues into the truth of the world, but barriers layered upon it, which is just as well because the fundamental premise of their philosophy is that truth is an outmoded concept.

It's a philosophy without core meaning, with nowhere to go. Literature isn't a way for them to become better persons, or to touch the soul-- another concept they disbelieve-- but serves instead merely as an affirmation of self. Members of a privileged class, they've already arrived at the end of their journey. Their nonsensical scribblings are celebrations of this fact. Even when they're critical of something the emphasis is on the scribbling: Look at me! SEE George Saunders care about the environment with attention-getting prose. SEE Dave Eggers befriend starving Africans. What they create isn't truth, but illusion; linguistically gaudy movie posters. Not gaudy enough to reach the populace of course, which has never been their goal, but to impress their elevated beings along with a coterie of similarly miseducated affluenti similarly in love with their stations and themselves.

It's not enough. It's not enough for literature and it's not enough ultimately even for them.

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