Eliza Fawcett, ’15
During an emotional Town Hall meeting last week, the Y2 Seminar teachers admitted that they had completely fabricated the idea of “postmodernism.” In fact, what students believed to be a late-20th century movement in art, literature, and philosophy formed in reaction to modernism was actually just the annual prank that Seminar teachers engineer purely for their own amusement.
“We do this every year,” announced one Seminar teacher from the podium, as other teachers circulated through the auditorium comforting distressed students. “By the time we reach February, we’re sick and tired of discussing modernism. A few years back we decided to spice things up by creating an entire movement of our own.” Apparently, the Seminar teachers decided to call their idea postmodernism – or just “pomo,” after the town of Pomo, CA where the English Department owns a timeshare condo in the desert.
“Usually Y2s see through our ruse by early March, but the Class of 2015 seems to be particularly gullible, so we decided to break it to you all in person. We have had a good many laughs at your expense, but it’s incredible that no one has caught on to us yet. I mean, we did have to pull some strings to create and maintain the “Postmodernism” Wikipedia page, but frankly, I’m shocked. I mean, Foucault? Come on.”
The big reveal came after rumors began circulating among the Y2s that the only book by Jacques Derrida available in the BHSEC library was “Pass the Pâté: Goose Liver for the Modern Gourmand.”
“I just feel so deceived,” said one Y2 as she wiped tears from her eyes. “I really was convinced that a phenomenological deconstructionist lens was the way in which we were supposed to analyze the world around us. Now I’m wondering whether metanarratives really are the way to go. At least they gave us hope.”
“But what about Jameson and the depthlessness of art in late capitalist society?” moaned one Y2 near the back of the auditorium. “I know, I know, we were particularly proud of that article,” responded a Seminar teacher. “Nearly 60% of the words in that piece were pure gibberish.”
“So does this really mean that my gender is determined at birth and is not the product of socially restrictive performative acts?” asked one Y2 during the Q & A session. “Yeah, that one was pretty ridiculous, wasn’t it?” said another Seminar teacher with a laugh.
As Dr. Lerner said in his closing remarks, “Sorry kids, there’s no mo’ pomo.”