Monday, March 23, 2015
Nicholas Reid reflects in essay form on general matters and ideas related to literature, history, popular culture and the arts, or just life in general. You are free to agree or disagree with him.
HEGEMONY MEANS POST-POSTMODERNISM
As I walked through the wilderness of the world, I met two daunting giants, posed on two neighbouring mountains.
And – lo! – one was called POSTMODERNISM and one was called HEGEMONY.
And as I approached, POSTMODERNISM did roar at me polysyllabically and with little style, with much hot air blowing to little purpose past my ears until I cried as loud as I could “Stop! Stop! Make this concession to me please. Say clearly what you really think.”
And POSTMODERNISM laughed. And POSTMODERNISM smirked. And POSTMODERNISM pretended that I was a person of little culture in that I could not follow his formless outpourings. And then POSTMODERNISM spake thus;
“Fool!” said POSTMODERNISM “Do you not understand there are no absolutes, no ultimate truths? For verily I tell you, before my dead brother MODERNISM was, all men said that GOD knew everything and therefore GOD was right and that was truth. But my brother MODERNISM brayed in a thousand voices and said that all men were right, and the truth could be found in each human heart. Since I slew my brother, I preach you the new reality – if every human heart is right, then no human heart is right. For there is no right and wrong, no truth and untruth. There are only truth claims. There is only the relative. There is no absolute. So I bring you liberty. For as there is no right and wrong, no true and untrue, then no one can lay claim to dominance. I liberate you. I give you a world in which all respect all as none have access to the infallible. Oh men! Oh women! Rejoice, for I lead you to a new tolerance, a new brotherhood and sisterhood where none are right and all are respected and true pluralism reigns in every land.”
And as POSTMODERNISM spake, a train of relativists and postcolonial theorists danced at his feet saying “Hosanna! Hosanna! All are equal. All are valid. Let all cultures be respected equally. Let all know that none is better than another. Let us live in the amity of uncertainty!”
But among them, there were those who cried “Hosanna! Hosanna! Your truth is no better than my truth. Your untruth is no better than my untruth! And I say that human rights are a fiction and a fable that cannot be supported by hard material reality, and what one society says about them is as good or as bad as what another society says about them. So bring on torture. Oh, bring on genital mutilation and female circumcision, for there are no truths or untruths and all is relative and who may criticise? And behold, I say the Holocaust never happened, for who may deny me and who dares make truth claims to oppose me? For truly I say that which POSTMODERNISM taught.”
Whereat POSTMODERNISM was sore wroth but knew not what to say.
But the Earth trembled and the two mountains shook and HEGEMONY rose to his full height and snorted flame and spoke with the clarity of a garish neon sign.
“Ha!” roared HEGEMONY in reply “Nature still abhors a vacuum. Tell all your fairy-tales of consensus and communality; of pluralism and particularity; of tolerance and variety. But I will speak with an older thunder.”
And he did puff and roar so that the tree-tops swayed and the mountains quaked and POSTMODERNISM was so abashed that he quivered and shook and then fell apart into the thousand-and-one unstable constituent pieces of which he was made. And POSTMODERNISM rolled, dead, to the bottom of his mountain as a heap of impotent pebbles for the rains to scorn.
And HEGEMONY laughed his godly laugh and said “There never was, there is not, there never will be a society without its norms, a people without its unexamined truths. Be they right or be they wrong, be they relative or absolute, they are still their truths. And with the force of my fist and the weight of my numbers, I say there has never been, is not, and will never be a society in which all truths have equal weight. Some dominate and those that dominate bear my name. Let those who followed dead POSTMODERNISM think he still reigns. Let them, in their limited and exclusive individual worlds, imagine they are free. But I say I now rule, for some truths and ideas prevail and some do not and all are not equal.”
And as he spoke and laughed ten million TV frontpersons and journalists and admen and publicists and propagandists and public relations experts danced at his feet chanting “We will drug them truly in your name! We will let them think that they think freely as we bend them to your will!”
And like a fist punching my face, HEGEMONY triumphed in every land, sometimes wearing his Cultural mask and sometimes wearing his Intellectual mask and always wearing his Moral mask.
And in sorrow and still seeking truth, I went my way through the wilderness.