Friday, June 09, 2006

A postmodern joke

I enjoyed today’s editorial in The Australian, Bad art and bad teaching reflect a postmodern malaise for this joke:

WHAT do a perforated shipping container, a medical student who can't tell the difference between a heart and a liver and a poster advertising the movie Gandhi have in common? No, they are not all exhibits in the current Sydney Biennale – only the shipping container made it in this year. Rather, they are all symptoms of a postmodern rot at the core of Australian academic and cultural life that seeks to divorce art from beauty, replace skills-based excellence with warmed-over sociology and inject a politicised, deterministic view of the world in which identity groups trump individuals into virtually every sphere of life.

Okay, so technically it’s not a joke as there is no punch line and it’s not funny. However, on reading the whole thing it became clear that the joke is postmodernism itself. The occasional Strawman appears in some of the editorial, but all in all it is spot on.