What Comes After Post-Modernism?

October 10, 2004

Oh Waily, Waily! Derrida is Dead! No more lectures! No more glosses! What we have is all that we'll ever get! Will everyone take advantage of the lapse and not bother to understand deconstruction now? Will we continue on our reactionary, creative-writing-workshop-Margaret-Mead-did-it-best-hagiography-as-trash-compacter-tainted way? Will Bush win the election? Will Jacques have failed?

Or will his passing bring him the mainstream prestige he never acquired (nor sought) in life? Will deconstruction become part of high school curricula? Will Asian American writers, en masse, suddenly stop writing first-person, thinly-veiled autobiography about their grandmothers, and talk excitedly over their cigarettes about L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poets? Will Fil-Am community performers cease invoking Bulosan in favor of Myung-Mi Kim? Will we all finally just understand that everything is meaningless anyway so we might just as well read REPUBLIC OF FEAR over our soju of a Sunday evening as watch a re-run of "Alias"? Will John Kerry have an acid flashback to when he still had balls?

Here are some things that Jacques could have affected if he had but died earlier (Waily!):

• Perhaps Dead Derrida could have convinced those responsible for subcontinental tensions that "Kashmir," "religious conflict" and related issues are really all just "text." Perhaps they'll yet learn to treat Indian American protest as mere "intertextuality."

• Dead Derrida could have helped (and could yet!) Vietnamese Americans to understand that all language is inexact, confusing, and full of contradictions; therefore "Bush" and "Kerry" are really the same word. Moreover, to vote for "Bush," one must actually cast one's vote for "Kerry," creating a seemingly opposite effect that would bring all right (or wrong) in the end. ... Only, once the meanings reversed themselves, wouldn't it start all over again with 71% voting for Bush and only 27% for Kerry? Now I'm confused. Waily!

• Dead Derrida would have rendered the conversion of a US military base into an Indian American-owned technology park a non-event because really, did anything there change except the words?

• Dead Derrida could spread yoga beyond the liberal three coasts by making it clear that body and movement are also text, and therefore meaningless, contradictory, layered, and ultimately an expression of family values and an incredibly effective gay-bashing technique. Rather than lobbying Congress, Christian conservatives could down-dog the *&$%@ out of those Godless perverts, setting up their sticky mats in front of Sen. Rick Santorum's office and rounding out each session with a rousing "Kumbaya," whose lyrics could also be interpreted to mean "anti-bunker nukes are worth your pocket change," "punish the homeless," or "rock me, Amadeus."




this is really funny, and i am having a total undergrad lit theory geek flashback because i think it's funny.
Here's an obit on Derrida, in case you're wondering he is...http://books.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,11617,1324460,00.html