History Main / Postmodernism

16th Jul '17 11:35:54 AM nombretomado
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* In a reference to Creator/ReneMagritte's "It's not a pipe" drawing, the city of Potsdam, Germany, has build its new Landtag building in the form of an old castle that was destroyed during WW2, with the slogan "Ceci n'est pas un château" (It's not a castle) on its side. Of course, since it's not a castle, it only ''looks'' like one.

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* In a reference to Creator/ReneMagritte's "It's not a pipe" drawing, the city of Potsdam, Germany, has build its new Landtag building in the form of an old castle that was destroyed during WW2, [=WW2=], with the slogan "Ceci n'est pas un château" (It's not a castle) on its side. Of course, since it's not a castle, it only ''looks'' like one.
27th Jun '17 12:03:04 PM JulianLapostat
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Post Modernism first emerged as a philosophical movement amid the ruins and tribulations of postwar Europe and stems from a general disillusionment with thirties-era modernism brought about by UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. It was natural, and almost inevitable, that people who had suffered through the war (and the preceding [[TheGreatDepression Great Depression]]) would question the ideals of perpetual progress inherent in modernism, and that would lead to a philosophy of questioning everything in general. It has been pointed out that much post-modernist thinking originated in the countries (France, Germany) with a history of wartime devastation (there are also those who say [=Post Modernism=] was primarily a French reaction to their postwar insignificance, but that's just being snide[[note]]an argument that makes the French ''more'' significant. ''See?''[[/note]]).

Post-modernism in books and movies was largely a questioning on the nature of narrative and plot and characterization. An epic story with TheHero at the centre with everyone else a SatelliteCharacter to him, was succeeded by stories with LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters with TheHero, if it is used, openly presented and critiqued as an AudienceSurrogate. Essentially, authors wanted readers to be more aware of how storytelling works and interact and question it so that they become active rather than passive audiences, and this was related to the ViewersAreGeniuses, the aversion of SmallReferencePools and all kinds of GeniusBonus enforced in these books. In Europe this was related to the fact that modern democracies and totalitarian governments are too vast for any single heroic figure to have a resonance since UsefulNotes/WW2 wasn't won by a single great general's gambit or small heroic actions but a complex series of interconnected decisions and a GambitPileup so vast that the world is still trying to put it together. And ultimately, both the Soviets and the Americans were [[YouAreTooLate too late]] to do anything to halt the FinalSolution aside from counting the bodies and helping the survivors. After that, artists and philosophers felt that old forms of storytelling would no longer work in this new reality. The Frankfurt critic and philosopher, Theodor Adorno, famously stated that poetry was impossible after Auschwitz, which he did not mean as a literal statement but a general feeling, that was echoed and felt by many artists who felt that conventional storytelling no longer explained the tragedy and horror of the times and that any artist or philosopher who tries to come up with a "Grand Narrative" that ties everything together is either delusional or dangerous.

This led to all kinds of TakeAThirdOption in storytelling, efforts that echoed conventional pre-war genres but with a more contemporary, darker twist, the HappyEnding was often shown with StylisticSuck or a parody, and while DownerEnding never went out of style, we now had the GainaxEnding where the story goes beyond the fate of the characters and the confines of the story, sometimes directly addressing the viewer, other times leaving them with a sense of irresolution and uncertainty, sometimes yes veering to TrueArtIsIncomprehensible levels but with the intention that audiences should think and engage with the work, however difficult it may be, as per their own experience without the story telling them what to think and how to feel. {{Deconstruction}} was developed as an independent strain in this time and post-modernism generally features a strong deconstructive aspect. Generally one can say that what distinguishes post-modernist narratives is the fact that characters rarely have large scale agency. When a vast event takes place, the true actors are governments, institutions and societies and the story deals with the ways in which the characters fit or don't fit into that picture.

In general, postmodern writing involves a blurring of boundaries. An example of this is blurring the boundary between the reader or viewer and the fiction -- for example, a TV show that acknowledges that it is not real (contrast ThisIsReality). However, [=Post Modernism=] can also be applied to fiction that mixes different genres into something new, such as the way that ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' [[GenreBusting combines]] western tropes with science fiction and various movie [[SatireParodyPastiche pastiches]].

Here, [=Post Modernism=] describes a self-referential fiction, a fiction which references other fiction, or a fiction which displays some [[MediumAwareness awareness]] that it is a fiction. The SubvertedTrope, DiscreditedTrope, [[GenreSavvy lack]] of GenreBlindness, {{Deconstruction}} of conventional boundaries, and PlayingWith the FourthWall ([[NoFourthWall or lack thereof]]) are all hallmarks of [=Post Modernism=]. Expect MindScrew.

[=Post Modernism=] is also a popular school of thought in the social sciences and humanities, largely revolving around the idea that a cogent argument doesn't necessarily have to make points that are actually true, while arguments that may "''technically''" be true in some sense are not necessarily either convincing or valuable.

In general practice however, a lot of the serious and intellectual character of the movement tends to be too hollow or too obscure to register. [=Post Modernism=], whether in fiction or in the theoretical sense of textual criticism, can most often simply be about [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic spoiling everything for everyone]] without having to adopt any unspoiled or easily spoilable ideas of your own, which is also what produces the "Huh?" factor in postmodern texts (books, films, shows, art, etc.) -- they treat themselves as already didactic and spoiled, and instead attempt to generate enjoyment through the [[TropesAreTools adroitness of their use of their own tropes and medium]]. WorldOfSymbolism tends to come up, even when it's not necessarily obvious, so best try to have fun when EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory.

The contemporary definition of [=Post Modernism=] is extremely ambiguous, and some of the definitions are extremely metaphysical, so don't go out into the world thinking this article is all there is to the concept. That the very term "Post-modern" is inherently self-contradictory is freely acknowledged -- indeed celebrated -- within [=Post Modernism=] itself.

Not to be confused with {{Irony}}, ''per se'', although both terms have been frequently [[IsntItIronic misused as such]] since TheNineties. Interestingly, the DeathOfTheAuthor is a {{Criticism Trope|s}} that both groups can [[EnemyMine often agree on]]. Modernists can claim it's possible to come to a {{canon}}ical conclusion about the text regardless of the author's [[WordOfGod changing opinions]], whereas postmodernists can claim that ''[[ShrugOfGod "there is nothing outside the text"]]'' and that [[LostInTransmission their opinion of]] what the ''author was trying to say'' is equally likely to be true as [[FanonDiscontinuity their opinion of]] what the work itself states. [[MindScrew Confused?]]

A.K.A. [=PoMo=]. Compare UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}. See also AffectionateParody and SurrealHumor. May sometimes border onto TrueArtIsIncomprehensible territory. Related to MediumAwareness, BreakingTheFourthWall, NoFourthWall, FictionIdentityPostulate (which states that all fictions are equally fictional). Compare RecursiveCanon, HeavyMeta, FootnoteFever, FoRK.

to:

Post Modernism first emerged as a philosophical movement amid the ruins and tribulations of postwar Europe and stems from a general disillusionment with thirties-era modernism brought about by UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. It was natural, and almost inevitable, that people who had suffered through the war (and the preceding [[TheGreatDepression Great Depression]]) would question the ideals of perpetual progress inherent in modernism, and that would lead to a philosophy of questioning everything in general. It has been pointed out that much post-modernist thinking originated in the countries (France, Germany) with a history of wartime devastation (there are also those who say [=Post Modernism=] was primarily a French and in reaction to their postwar insignificance, but that's just being snide[[note]]an argument that makes the French ''more'' significant. ''See?''[[/note]]).

threat of nuclear war which reared its head at the end of the war.

Post-modernism in books and movies was largely a questioning on the nature of narrative and plot and characterization. An epic story with TheHero at the centre with everyone else a SatelliteCharacter to him, was succeeded by stories with LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters with TheHero, if it is used, openly presented and critiqued as an AudienceSurrogate. Essentially, authors wanted readers to be more aware of how storytelling works and interact and question it so that they become active rather than passive audiences, and this was related to the ViewersAreGeniuses, the aversion of SmallReferencePools and all kinds of GeniusBonus enforced in these books. In Europe this was related to the fact that modern democracies and totalitarian governments are too vast for any single heroic figure to have a resonance since UsefulNotes/WW2 wasn't won by a single great general's gambit or small heroic actions but a complex series of interconnected decisions and a GambitPileup so vast that the world is still trying to put it together. And ultimately, both ultimately the Soviets and the Americans Allied Powers were [[YouAreTooLate too late]] to do anything to halt the FinalSolution UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust aside from counting the bodies and helping the survivors. After that, artists and philosophers felt that old forms of storytelling would no longer work in this new reality. The Frankfurt critic and philosopher, Theodor Adorno, famously stated that poetry was impossible after Auschwitz, which he did not mean as a literal statement but a general feeling, that was echoed and felt by many artists who felt that conventional storytelling no longer explained the tragedy and horror of the times and that any artist or philosopher who tries to come up with a "Grand Narrative" that ties everything together is either delusional or dangerous.

This led to all kinds of TakeAThirdOption in storytelling, efforts that echoed conventional pre-war genres but with a more contemporary, darker twist, the HappyEnding was often shown with StylisticSuck or a parody, and while DownerEnding never went out of style, we now had the GainaxEnding where the story goes beyond the fate of the characters and the confines of the story, sometimes directly addressing the viewer, other times leaving them with a sense of irresolution and uncertainty, sometimes yes veering to TrueArtIsIncomprehensible levels but with the intention that audiences should think and engage with the work, however difficult it may be, as per their own experience without the story telling them what to think and how to feel. {{Deconstruction}} was developed as an independent strain in this time and post-modernism generally features a strong deconstructive aspect. Generally one can say that what distinguishes post-modernist narratives is the fact that characters rarely have large scale agency. When a vast event takes place, the true actors are governments, institutions and societies and the story deals with the ways in which the characters fit or don't fit into that picture.

picture. In general, postmodern writing involves a blurring of boundaries. An example of this is blurring the boundary between the reader or viewer and the fiction -- for example, a TV show that acknowledges that it is not real (contrast ThisIsReality). However, [=Post Modernism=] can also be applied to fiction that mixes different genres into something new, such as the way that ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' [[GenreBusting combines]] western tropes with science fiction and various movie [[SatireParodyPastiche pastiches]].

pastiches]]. Here, [=Post Modernism=] describes a self-referential fiction, a fiction which references other fiction, or a fiction which displays some [[MediumAwareness awareness]] that it is a fiction. The SubvertedTrope, DiscreditedTrope, [[GenreSavvy lack]] of GenreBlindness, {{Deconstruction}} of conventional boundaries, and PlayingWith the FourthWall ([[NoFourthWall or lack thereof]]) are all hallmarks of [=Post Modernism=]. Expect MindScrew.

[=Post Modernism=] is also a popular school of thought in the social sciences and humanities, largely revolving around the idea that a cogent argument doesn't necessarily have to make points that are actually true, while arguments that may "''technically''" be true in some sense are not necessarily either convincing or valuable.

valuable. In academic disciplines, the biggest impact that Postmodernism introduced was to sever the idea of history, society, or existence, being linear and progressive (i.e. the world is going to get better and better) and that led to the popularity of AlternateHistory and ForWantOfANail not only in speculative fiction but also in serious works of non-fiction where people showed that a lot of things people saw in history wasn't inevitable but in large part accidental or came down to pure dumb luck. Postmodernist theorists by extended research also pointed out how the idea of society going somewhere was NewerThanTheyThink, based on EntertaininglyWrong assumptions that have become DatedHistory (a strain that is called Historicism or New Historicism). Contingency and agency became watchwords in post-modernist inspired works. Post-modernist inspired accounts insist that life is in large sense a RandomEventsPlot and much of what we consider the "pursuit of knowledge" is a narrative that distracts us from realizing that, drawing inspiration from UsefulNotes/{{Existentialism}}[[note]]But differing in that existentialists insist on agency to choose and engage actively with one's ideas and views, i.e. if "the pursuit of knowledge" is not inherent in society, then it is up to humans to actively make a society that promotes knowledge knowing fully well the limitations of that choice. Postmodernism generally doesn't advocate engagement, which has led many to accuse it for promoting nihilism[[/note]].

In general practice however, a lot of the serious and intellectual character of the movement tends to be too hollow or too obscure or [[AndIMustScream too bleak]] to register. [=Post Modernism=], whether in fiction or in the theoretical sense of textual criticism, can most often simply be about [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic spoiling everything for everyone]] without having to adopt any unspoiled or easily spoilable ideas of your own, which is also what produces the "Huh?" factor in postmodern texts (books, films, shows, art, etc.) -- they treat themselves as already didactic and spoiled, and instead attempt to generate enjoyment through the [[TropesAreTools adroitness of their use of their own tropes and medium]]. WorldOfSymbolism tends to come up, even when it's not necessarily obvious, so best try to have fun when EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory.

EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory. In such instances, postmodernism becomes a posture, using [[DudeNotIronic irony as a defense]], an attempt to dodge responsibility and more or less advocate preserving the status-quo from the comfort of learned and knowing distance. This is considered the conservative strain of postmodernism which allows it to be co-opted and adopted in a number of consumerist media. The contemporary definition of [=Post Modernism=] is extremely ambiguous, and some of the definitions are extremely metaphysical, so don't go out into the world thinking this article is all there is to the concept. That the very term "Post-modern" is inherently self-contradictory is freely acknowledged -- indeed celebrated -- within [=Post Modernism=] itself.

itself.

Not to be confused with {{Irony}}, ''per se'', although both terms have been frequently [[IsntItIronic misused as such]] since TheNineties. Interestingly, the DeathOfTheAuthor is a {{Criticism Trope|s}} that both groups can [[EnemyMine often agree on]]. Modernists can claim it's possible to come to a {{canon}}ical conclusion about the text regardless of the author's [[WordOfGod changing opinions]], whereas postmodernists can claim that ''[[ShrugOfGod "there is nothing outside the text"]]'' and that [[LostInTransmission their opinion of]] what the ''author was trying to say'' is equally likely to be true as [[FanonDiscontinuity their opinion of]] what the work itself states. [[MindScrew Confused?]]

Confused?]]. A.K.A. [=PoMo=]. Compare UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}. See also AffectionateParody and SurrealHumor. May sometimes border onto TrueArtIsIncomprehensible territory. Related to MediumAwareness, BreakingTheFourthWall, NoFourthWall, FictionIdentityPostulate (which states that all fictions are equally fictional). Compare RecursiveCanon, HeavyMeta, FootnoteFever, FoRK.
23rd Jun '17 4:24:43 AM lakingsif
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Added DiffLines:

* Music/TheKillers' "Spaceman", discussing the state of what is real with anti-realism. Taken even further by [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc16Y9fiCvQ the music video]], and then that goes further with the ending of the video showing the soundstage on which it was contained and filmed.
11th Jun '17 6:13:35 PM nombretomado
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* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPv7BIbyUoo Meta Anti Poop]], takes all the editing techniques of YouTubePoop, and yet instead of mocking the original like most poops, it actually embraces it by refusing the go OffTheRails. It's still funny.

to:

* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPv7BIbyUoo Meta Anti Poop]], takes all the editing techniques of YouTubePoop, WebAnimation/YouTubePoop, and yet instead of mocking the original like most poops, it actually embraces it by refusing the go OffTheRails. It's still funny.
4th Jun '17 10:26:22 AM nombretomado
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* What about ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}''? MegaCrossover MetaFic FanWebcomic with almost NoFourthWall and MediumAwareness, where the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality and {{Fanservice}} are acknowledged forces of "nature", readers are encouraged to think EverybodyIsJesusInPurgatory and plant as many {{Epileptic Tree}}s as they can, with so many {{lampshade|Hanging}}s it makes hard to see the sun, an AuthorAvatar, a world built on {{Transfictionality}} so much it questions the reality of RealLife (probably the only work on TVTropes with a Fridge Existential Angst entry), and it also shows signs of running on the ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve of the readership.

to:

* What about ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}''? MegaCrossover MetaFic FanWebcomic with almost NoFourthWall and MediumAwareness, where the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality and {{Fanservice}} are acknowledged forces of "nature", readers are encouraged to think EverybodyIsJesusInPurgatory and plant as many {{Epileptic Tree}}s as they can, with so many {{lampshade|Hanging}}s it makes hard to see the sun, an AuthorAvatar, a world built on {{Transfictionality}} so much it questions the reality of RealLife (probably the only work on TVTropes Wiki/TVTropes with a Fridge Existential Angst entry), and it also shows signs of running on the ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve of the readership.



* Marshall [=McLuhan=], Canadian philosopher, sociologist, and the father of media studies, may well have been a living TropeCodifier for [=Post Modernism=]. Aside from coining the phrase "The Global Village", he also had a lot of really ''out there'' theories. He stated that "The Medium is the message, and therefore the content is the audience". He believed that [[MakesSenseInContext light bulbs were an information medium]], and proclaimed "I refuse to appear on television, except on television" meaning that, if interviewed, he'd never set foot in a TV Studio himself, but rather talk through a TV screen. One can only imagine what he'd think of TVTropes... We know [[NewMediaAreEvil exactly what he thought of the internet.]] Remember, the term "global village" was an insult.

to:

* Marshall [=McLuhan=], Canadian philosopher, sociologist, and the father of media studies, may well have been a living TropeCodifier for [=Post Modernism=]. Aside from coining the phrase "The Global Village", he also had a lot of really ''out there'' theories. He stated that "The Medium is the message, and therefore the content is the audience". He believed that [[MakesSenseInContext light bulbs were an information medium]], and proclaimed "I refuse to appear on television, except on television" meaning that, if interviewed, he'd never set foot in a TV Studio himself, but rather talk through a TV screen. One can only imagine what he'd think of TVTropes...Wiki/TVTropes... We know [[NewMediaAreEvil exactly what he thought of the internet.]] Remember, the term "global village" was an insult.
4th Jun '17 10:25:41 AM nombretomado
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* In addition to being an example (as a scripted film shot on-location at a real-life historical anti-war riot), ''Film/MediumCool'' (1969) is named after [=Marshall McLuhan=]'s book, ''The Medium Is The Message'', which stated that [[TVTropes TV is the ultimate]] "cool" medium, whereas theater and, say, flash-mobs would be a "hot" medium that requires audience participation.

to:

* In addition to being an example (as a scripted film shot on-location at a real-life historical anti-war riot), ''Film/MediumCool'' (1969) is named after [=Marshall McLuhan=]'s book, ''The Medium Is The Message'', which stated that [[TVTropes [[Wiki/TVTropes TV is the ultimate]] "cool" medium, whereas theater and, say, flash-mobs would be a "hot" medium that requires audience participation.
3rd Jun '17 2:45:08 PM Morgenthaler
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* ''TheWayOfTheMetagamer''. NoFourthWall, AuthorAvatar, AltText presenters, MediumAwareness, physical [[PlotHole plot holes]] used as gateways to other works, time-traveling changing history by actually changing [[StripArchive previously uploaded comics]] need we go on?

to:

* ''TheWayOfTheMetagamer''.''Webcomic/TheWayOfTheMetagamer''. NoFourthWall, AuthorAvatar, AltText presenters, MediumAwareness, physical [[PlotHole plot holes]] used as gateways to other works, time-traveling changing history by actually changing [[StripArchive previously uploaded comics]] need we go on?
20th May '17 11:41:02 AM nombretomado
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* The Avatar, the FeaturelessProtagonist of the ''Franchise/{{Ultima}}'' series from ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'' onward, was rather directly stated in ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'' and all games afterward to actually be the player himself, using his computer to journey from the "real world" to the realm of Brittania. The player/Avatar enters Britannia physically in person through a Moongate. At the beginning of ''VideoGame/UltimaVII'' on the other hand, the BigBad Guardian taunts the player, and by the extension the Avatar (or other way around) through his/her computer monitor.

to:

* The Avatar, the FeaturelessProtagonist of the ''Franchise/{{Ultima}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Ultima}}'' series from ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'' onward, was rather directly stated in ''VideoGame/UltimaIV'' and all games afterward to actually be the player himself, using his computer to journey from the "real world" to the realm of Brittania. The player/Avatar enters Britannia physically in person through a Moongate. At the beginning of ''VideoGame/UltimaVII'' on the other hand, the BigBad Guardian taunts the player, and by the extension the Avatar (or other way around) through his/her computer monitor.
16th May '17 1:52:16 AM PaulA
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* ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'' -- the book, not the movie -- is about the relationship between the reader and the writer, and goes so far as to tell the reader to choose his or her preferred ending. It also has multiple layers of unreliable fictional authors, including a grossly fictionalized WilliamGoldman, and the only thing everyone in all the layers of the book agree on is a triumph of Surrealism: "True love is the greatest thing in the world except for cough drops." It doesn't get more postmodern than that in a novel. Interestingly, the movie plays the same plot relatively straight, still with a metafiction framing but less intensely post-modern.

to:

* ''Literature/ThePrincessBride'' -- the book, not the movie -- is about the relationship between the reader and the writer, and goes so far as to tell the reader to choose his or her preferred ending. It also has multiple layers of unreliable fictional authors, including a grossly fictionalized WilliamGoldman, Creator/WilliamGoldman, and the only thing everyone in all the layers of the book agree on is a triumph of Surrealism: "True love is the greatest thing in the world except for cough drops." It doesn't get more postmodern than that in a novel. Interestingly, the movie plays the same plot relatively straight, still with a metafiction framing but less intensely post-modern.
23rd Apr '17 9:18:31 AM nombretomado
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* ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' is a post-modern ballet, so every episode has uses classical piece for themes and several episodes have plots that reference famous ballets, with ''SwanLake'' being the most prominent. Also, one of the characters is a prince that escaped from a fairytale, and it's later revealed that [[spoiler:the writer of that fairytale is now controlling the town the show takes place in]]. Once the characters learn about that, they start BreakingTheFourthWall and manipulating the medium of fairytales to their advantage.

to:

* ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' is a post-modern ballet, so every episode has uses classical piece for themes and several episodes have plots that reference famous ballets, with ''SwanLake'' ''Theatre/SwanLake'' being the most prominent. Also, one of the characters is a prince that escaped from a fairytale, and it's later revealed that [[spoiler:the writer of that fairytale is now controlling the town the show takes place in]]. Once the characters learn about that, they start BreakingTheFourthWall and manipulating the medium of fairytales to their advantage.
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