Sunday, May 5, 2013

another rant about Dick and Postmodernism

  • [Lord Running Clam had asked about when postmodernism "started," the Total Dick Head pointed out that you could go back to Shakespeare, then I replied:]

    Ted Hand  Another way to look at it is that there are no "postmodern" writers -- writers are just writers/don't fit into reductive categories etc-- only critics who use the term. And the term "postmodern" is certainly a 20th c. invention, usually employed by critics who have an agenda--and these critics are often not unjustly accused of obscurantism which explains why it's hard to find a simple answer (or hacks who are trying to get an academic job!). "Postmodern" is a term of art, and it's much easier to trace the use of the term rather than try to identify a trend in specific authors. I could argue all day that medieval authors like Chretien de Troyes, Chaucer, Pseudo-Dionysius, Cusa, Bruno etc already displayed many traits of the so-called postmodern.
  • Ted Hand But I digress. Perhaps the best way to understand it in the context of PKD's thought is that Heidegger was the "postmodern philosopher" that started it all. But then again, since Dick's often better situated in early modern philosophy, perhaps Hume was the "postmodern philosopher" that started it all. Then Again, Socrates was the original hipster ironist, and Heraclitus even more radically postmodern (explicitly cited by Heidegger as foundational in the continental giant's thought) so perhaps the greeks were the first postmoderns. That Dick was down with Heidegger, at least later in life as evidenced by Letters/Exegesis, is not controversial--although guys like Critchley can explain better than I can where Dick misunderstands Heidegger. Nobody ever said you have to be a GOOD postmodernist! Disobedience is the bread and butter of the postmodernist, and Dick was doing that before postmodernism.

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