Double twist when you hit the air,
Look at Julie down below,
The levee doin' the do-pas-o.
Over at National Review's The Corner there is a half-serious debate about modernism and post-modernism. That used to be a big topic in the IndustrialBlog household. Took me a long time to get it, and when I got it it stayed got. So if you're one of the college students who tunes in here from time to time and you really want to know the difference between pre-modernism, modernism and postmodernism, let me help you. While there are epistemelogical considerations that I can't get into because that's the topic of a book I'm editing [allegedly], and I suppose you could actually think about modernism and postmodernism by reading modern and postmodern literature, but all that will confuse you.
Modernism and postmodernism are worldviews characteristic of certain time periods, and the biggest change during these time periods is technology.
So here's your answer:
Modernism = electricity. Postmodernism = television.
With the Internet and blogging, we have now left behind both modernism and postmodernism and are entering a new era, which is sort of an open source method of communication. Call it the age of the hypertext and the death of the individual author, or better, democratic dialectic.
There's another era following this one and following quickly, too. That one involves biological and genetic engineering we've been discussing here and there.
It seems historical centuries are down to 30 years now. Things are changing. Changes that took a hundred years now take a few decades.
That's the way it's been in town,
Ever since they tore the jukebox down.
Two bit piece don't buy no more,
Not so much as it done before.
I remember watching a movie with Nicholas Cage called Family Man. In the opening scene we seen that Cage's character is a driven, successful businessman. This left the screenwriter a dilemma: A driven, successful businessman is a villain in the movies. How to cue that Cage is not a bad guy, just a guy who is mistaken but fundamentally has a good heart?
Well, in the semiotics of Hollywood, that is, the language of symbols used to signify specific things, the easiest way to show someone is a good guy is to have a black person like him. I forgot who came up with the term, "Numinous Negro," but that's the idea. In the symbolic language, blacks are wise, specifically, folk-wise, and thus an approval by blacks signifies to the audience that the character is "one of us" who has just gotten lost.
This brings me to Billy Madison. Now I'm agnostic on Adam Sandler ... well, I lean toward not liking him. But what I saw with Billy Madison is that to signify that Billy Madison was a good guy, they showed him fully accepting childhood friends who were now gay.
There's a bit of a preachy scene where one of Billy's friends sees the other two friends kissing and says something to the effect that he's still icked out, even though he accepts that the friends are gay. Not Billy. He's not even slightly icked out and even gives a short speech on how nothing's changed just because the two friends are now gay.
Now, regardless of where you stand on that issue, the important this is the semiotic — Hollywood has drawn a line in the sand. The semiotic of good-guy-dom is not to be even uncomfortable with public displays of affection among homosexuals. In fact, the scene was written to ick out the audience so that Billy would be scene as even more tolerant than, well, you. Thus, it's preachy.
Don't hang your head, let the two time roll
Grass shack nailed to a pine wood floor
Ask the time baby I don't know
Come back later, gonna let it show.
Thus, according to Hollywood screenwriter semiotics, the way to tell a good person from a bad one is the degree to which they fail to distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
That is, no distinction is a sign of right thinking and thus foreshadows good things for our hero in the end. So we have a semiotic of numinous queers replacing the numinous negroes. And I believe the screenwriters are moving for a semiotic that implies a strong connection between the two — drawing an analogy between blacks' struggle for civil rights and homosexuals' struggle for ... whatever. To me, the comparison to me is obscene. But that doesn't mean I thought Billy Madison was a bad guy. Maybe I'm just a last-century guy (that is, the last decade) and my morality has already hit its expiration date. At least, hit its expiration date according to popular semiotics. I sure feel out of step sometimes.
I say row Jimmy row, gonna get there I don't know
Seems a common way to go, get out and row, row, row, row, row.