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Volume 17, Issue 5: Meander

A Mouth Full of Teeth

Douglas Wilson

Ten Reasons to Not Take Postmodernism Seriously

1. Postmodernists take themselves seriously enough already.
2. It might make some sense to speak of the "post-colonial" era if one or two hundred years have gone by since the era in question has assumed room temperature. But until then, you can't really see it, and ought not pretend as though you can. For all we know, future historians will be describing our century as the era of African Anglicanism. Make sure you will actually make it out of the footnotes of the future before you name the entire thing after yourself.
3. Related to this, as a general rule, movements ought not name themselves, and they should never name themselves if they have a case of Little Man Syndrome. In ecclesiastical circles, this is the only safe way to avoid the Third Wave of Glory phenomenon emanating from places like Tulsa, or to keep the Latter Rain spoken of by the prophet Joel from showing up in Pensacola.
3. Movements that name themselves chronologically ought to take better care about getting the chronology kind of right. It makes no sense to launch the post-prandial discussions before the sandwiches get there.
4. Movements that set themselves apart from other movements ought to do a better job of actually setting themselves apart. Postmodernism needs to be more than chapter thirteen in modernity's book, which is still enjoying brisk sales. Black hat Mennonites ought not to think that their rupture with the white hat Mennonites goes to the very root of the matter, starting a new chapter in human history.
5. Breathless excitement about future developments not yet seen is a great sales technique. A glossy prospectus usually wows them. So do blurbs and references from all the respected scholars. But the entire while, the hand should hover nervously over the wallet, and the person getting the sales rush should anticipate soon getting to the part where he needs to recruit his friends and get them to sell vitamins too. Brazen displays of sales technique mean that something is for sale.
6. I am afraid they kind of got their groove on too soon. Postmodernism brought sex up way too early in the discussion, and made it obvious that the point of going up to the apartment was actually not to see those watercolors. Postmodern man has to work a little harder to make her (or him, no harsh theonomic judgmentalism here!) think that he is really interested in her/him as an I-Thou kind of person in the context of a caring relationship. All while fumbling with the top button. Not everybody can do that, and it has to be said that postmodernism has too obvious a leer, and hands like a couple of ten-pound hams. "Mon cheri, do you ever wonder what Sartre meant when he said . . ."
7. Books written by postmodernists are books that are way too full of words. And all of them could have used a corn-fed editor who used to play left tackle at Nebraska, and who was brought up in the Assemblies of God. "Jacques, this doesn't make any sense, man."
8. All the usual suspects like postmodernism, and they carry on with it in their usual way. Postmodern prophets and seers get their edgy worldview from places like CNN and then find the contours of this trendy worldview right there, in the Bible! It turns out that the prophet Isaiah was wrestling with women's issues and ozone depletion, just like us!! And the biblical worldview is just what we were all thinking already!!! Talk about luck!!!!
9. Relying on Europeans with a bad case of the epistemological fantods is no way to rebuild a civilization.
10. Movements that contradict themselves in flagrant ways cannot, with regard to the long run, rely on nobody noticing.

Rushdoony on Porn
Back in the eighties I read through a small hill of Rushdoony's books, profiting greatly from many of them. One that I was never able to get my hands on was his The Politics of Pornography. But it has just been released again by Ross House Books under the new title Noble Savages. The folks there were kind enough to send me a review copy, which I gladly read. This book is simply outstanding. Anyone who wants to understand the real fuel that is making the fires of pornography burn needs to get and read this book.

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