“How To Speak and Write Postmodern”

Although postmodernism is losing ground in the academic world, it has trickled down to us at the layman and student level, and it seems to be trying to camp there. So instead of scholars debating it, most don’t take it seriously anymore, and for good reason. However, it’s free game to your average college student taking introductory philosophy, soon after the realization that they don’t really believe the faith their parents professed.

That being said, I was linked to a satire by Stephen Katz,  who is a Professor of Sociology, at Trent University and thought it would be appropriate. It is entitled “How To Speak and Write Postmodern”. Here is a quote  from the article:

“First, you need to remember that plainly expressed language is out of the question. It is too realist, modernist and obvious. Postmodern language requires that one uses play, parody and indeterminacy as critical techniques to point this out. Often this is quite a difficult requirement, so obscurity is a well-acknowledged substitute. For example, let’s imagine you want to say something like, “We should listen to the views of people outside of Western society in order to learn about the cultural biases that affect us”. This is honest but dull. Take the word “views”. Postmodernspeak would change that to “voices”, or better, “vocalities”, or even better, “multivocalities”. Add an adjective like “intertextual”, and you’re covered. “People outside” is also too plain. How about “postcolonial others”? To speak postmodern properly one must master a bevy of biases besides the familiar racism, sexism, ageism, etc. For example, phallogocentricism (male-centredness combined with rationalistic forms of binary logic). Finally “affect us” sounds like plaid pajamas. Use more obscure verbs and phrases, like “mediate our identities”. So, the final statement should say, “We should listen to the intertextual, multivocalities of postcolonial others outside of Western culture in order to learn about the phallogocentric biases that mediate our identities”. Now you’re talking postmodern!”


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