A discussion board post for English 105, Introduction to Narrative, a freshman literature course taught by Gerry Canavan, written on 27 July 2006 at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; the instructor, noting the difficulty most of the class was having conceptualizing Postmodernism, suggested to the class that this post and "Approaching Joe Wenderoth’s 'Letters to Wendy’s'" might help clarify things
by Matt Wallace
In reading the earlier posts, I found near-universal hostility towards our little dose of postmodernist art. A postmodernist would probably put it "art" as the term suggests hierarchy and superiority to "ordinary" forms of expression. A postmodernist might not even use the term "postmodernist" as this suggests category and definability.
The key to "understanding" postmodernism is recognizing that it is self-denying and self-contradictory, and self-consciously so. Postmodernist art is a clever joke pretending not to be a clever joke which is part of the joke.
Postmodernist art doesn't intend to be rational, definable, comprehensible, etc.; in short, it isn't meant to be understood, at least not in the common sense of the word. It is meant to be experienced in the moment which is the only "reality" postmodernism allows.
My (dare I say "obnoxious") comments and guffaws during "Letters to Wendy's" and knowing laughter in Waking Life were clear expressions of my being in the moment. When confronted with postmodernist art, perhaps it is best to adopt the philosophy advocated in an old Nissan advertising tagline: "Enjoy the ride."