Fragmentation of Narrative

An article in The Economist (the holiday double issue) caught my eye because its title references post-modernism . . . the works of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida.

When I lived in Paris in the late 1970s, a friend of mine -- Paul Selden -- was into Derrida in particular. (I haven't spoken with Paul in about 25 years! He is the son of the Broadway producer Albert Selden, and if he blogs or, indeed, Googles himself, perhaps he will get in touch with me through a comment here.) Frankly, the writings of these deconstructionists are much too dense for me, although out of intellectual principle I did attempt to 'construct' some understanding of Foucault in particular.

But the article makes reference to the pomo (post-moderns; this is how they liked to refer to themselves) view that the narratives that compose our lives are fragmenting. They saw this as a consequence of the breakdown of the hierarchies inherent in what they called the meta-narratives: fascism, communism, capitalism etc. The article argues we are now at a point where this fragmentation has become personal so that we are all in a position to turn our lives into "art"; viz You Tube.

Having spent some time looking at You Tube, I wonder if this really what the pomos had in mind since much if it is neither art nor even vaguely interesting personal narrative. There is merit in the idea that an individual can be "the artist of his own life": But there is also some loneliness and selfishness inbuilt in our new fragmented narratives. Is that why people try so hard to connect and share through social media even when what they have to say about themselves is so blank or forced by a misconceived self-beatification?

Letter from an Atheist

Another Airport