March 26, 2007

Americans are clueless

First let me state that I have no idea what this book was supposed to be about. I mean I do, but I don't at the same time. I get that the novel is supposed to relate to postmoderism and that Berger is trying to be creative while getting across why so many people are attracted to postmoderism, but at times I was just bored. One such time that I was not bored was following the reading of this sentence:

And what's most interesting is that Americans don't know what they've done, don't realize that, in their invincible ignorance, they have created the quintessential postmodern society.

After reading that sentence my mind automatically went back to camp and the may conversations I had with my co-counselors (one from South Africa and the other from Israel) about how clueless Americans really are.

That being said, this sentence is also very interesting for many other reasons. It points out, from the perspective of a fictional outside character, that America has created something without realizing it. While I don't exactly understand postmoderism, I do know that people from other countries tend to flock to our shores to escape the repression from their own countries. I can understand why these artists and intellectuals would be interested in coming to the US because of our openness (more often than not) to many different ideas that can not be shared in their country.

I remember last spring I attended a poetry reading in the Harlan Gallery for one such author. He was a Chinese poet that was jailed (along with his wife) for criticizing his country. Once he claimed asylum in America he has written several very deep and eye opening poems. His performance of his poetry will remain in my memory always, but it was just something that I think we as Americans can take for granted every now and then. Fess reminds us (maybe not so subtly) that we create a different atmosphere in America that other countries not only criticize, but are interested in as well.

Berger, Postmortem for a Postmodernist -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at March 26, 2007 4:09 PM | TrackBack

I didn't really get the book either, but I did appreciate your comment that about the way other countries see us. Sometimes I think they see us as wanting to only perserve our Red, White, and Blue and not wanting to open our ideas to our new fellow Americans. The new tradition will eventually become immersed with a bunch of old traditions from various countries.

Posted by: Erin at March 28, 2007 2:14 PM
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