Tag Archives: postmodernism

Jim Booth guest commentary over at Southern Creatives

If you’ve been paying attention you know that our boy Jim Booth recently published a novel. And that it’s really good. And that it presents us with the opportunity to consider fame and substance at war over the soul of an artist.

He has now authored a guest essay on “Southern Rock Stardom, Postmodernism, and the Persistence of Memory” over at Melinda McGuire’s outstanding Southern lit-focused site, concluding, appropriately enough that:

Here in the South, rock stars respect memory as all good Southerners do and, after all their wanderings, come back home where memory matters, Thomas Wolfe and postmodernism be damned.

Hear, hear. Give it a read.

Even better than the real thing: mass media and manufactured beauty

Give me one last dance
We’ll slide down the surface of things

You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing

I figured out a long time ago, even before I began encountering grad-level feminist critiques, that our media’s stylized construction and portrayal of female beauty was problematic. It’s bad enough that unattractive people don’t appear in movies, on TV or in magazines unless the narrative expressly requires someone unattractive, and sometimes even that isn’t enough. I mean, the star of Ugly Betty isn’t really ugly.

But it goes beyond this. Read more

Can the center hold?: a response to Pastor Dan

Pastor Dan has an absolutely must-read piece on faith and politics over at Street Prophets, and while I feel wholly inadequate for the task of matching the depth of his analysis, he raises a number of issues that got me to thinking. So to use a sports analogy, he’s just crushed an overhead at me, and I’m going to see if I can get a racquet on it in hopes of lobbing something weak back over the net.

For starters, his thoughts on the history and function of civil religion are spot-on, and as I consider how dramatically our culture is changing, they lead me to an obvious conundrum. Read more

Verse Day: an ode to banality and the poetry of consensus

We live in an unfortunate age artistically. There is more freedom than ever, more tools for creation, more outlets to publish and display, but we have largely used this freedom to fetishize banality. The great leveling, as it were – everybody is an artist, everything is poetry.

When I entered my Master’s program at Iowa State the prof who would eventually become my advisor, the estimable Dr. Neal Bowers, told my first poetry workshop that there was no subject unfit for poetry. Steeped in the traditions of the old masters, I guess I recoiled from that idea a bit. Read more

9/11: the end of Postmodernism and the beginning of … what?

My wife and I had recently moved back to Denver from Boston and September 10 had been my first day at my new job with Gronstedt Group. When I got up that morning I flipped on the computer and when my home page loaded the first confused images were waiting for me. I flipped on the TV and called Angela. I guess I could describe for you what I saw and and felt, but you saw and felt exactly what I did, didn’t you?

I got very little done that day at work. Read more

The WTC Memorial Debate and the End of the Age of the Big Target

(Warning: Reality is never as neat and clean as theory, I’m afraid, but humans are inherently theoretical animals. So bear with me. The following may be a tad obscure in places, but it’s going somewhere worthwhile.)

University of Texas-Dallas Professor Frederick Turner has penned an interesting take on the current WTC memorial debate, and makes some very well-considered arguments about how the whole process is off the mark. In short, he believes the current proposals “express, as clearly as if it had been written all over them, that America was defeated by the terrorists,” and asserts that we should take this opportunity to erect something “more splendid, more beautiful and more truly symbolic of New York and of America than its predecessor.”

To his credit, he offers his own proposal for the memorial, complete with a nice set of sketches illustrating how it would look from various vantage points around the city. I have to say I’m impressed with the power of his vision, especially as it addresses the basic tenets of his larger argument. Read more