Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Brief Review: On Simulacra and Kitsch of Postmodernism

Even if one rejects the concept of the inherent and inevitable decline of civilizations, one cannot reject the overwhelming trend of evidence that chronicles the decay of America and Western culture. Crime, illiteracy, racism and economic volatility document the disintegration of our society. With the dawn of postmodernism, the central ideas of society have been replaced with abstractions and substitutions for meaningful objectivity. “Meaning implodes” as all contexts are absorbed into the communication medium and the “medium becomes the message.” The simulation replaces the objective context, thus creating simulacra, the “hyper-real,” to which an empty, false metaphysical value is ascribed. With only relative frames of reference for morality and meaning, denial of the objective content of living and the spirit of life produces an underlying metaphysical despair.

American life now revolves around self-indulgent delight and distraction from inevitable nihilism arising from postmodern thought –aversion to the authentic – through entertainment, artificial information and the hype of commercialism. This type of “kitsch” of commercialism falsely transforms the “phony, clumsy, witless, untalented or boring” into the “genuine, graceful, bright or fascinating.” Ignorance and self-delusion reduce the critical thinking skills of the mind in their frantic effort to deny the brutal pain of authenticity. Pursuit of the transcendent and the true acquiesces to the immediate gratification of delusion. In this pursuit of blissful ignorance, as Sir Joshua Reynolds observed, “there is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” As our desire for truth wearies amid this relativism and sensory overload, experience teaches us the futility of critical thought. Berman states that “thinking” within the postmodern society equates to “wandering through the latest mental theme park.” We have lost the ability to think through the ambiguity of the messages of commercialism to even “distinguish garbage from quality.”

See, in postmodern fashion and read full article to find references to quotes in the above excerpt.