In my post-post musings on Edward Docx's postmodernism article I eventually wended to recollection of this Bret Easton Ellis thing about Charlie Sheen from a few months back. As I recalled, it made the opposite argument about the current cultural state of affairs (I'm referring to Docx's final point; I refused to give it away in my last post but have already slyly done so this time). I recalled Ellis making the argument from the direction of pop culture, rather than that of art & philosophy; making the argument more entertainingly, if equally more glibly, displaying an annoying and evidently calculated ethical slipperiness.
I was right about that much. But wait, I thought as I reread the Ellis. Is this really the opposite argument? Maybe this is a description of where we are now, the rococo moment, the high-baroque waterline of irony. And Docx is looking down the valley at the big A-word to come. Or maybe they're arguing the same thing in totally opposite ways. Ellis' dichotomy of Empire and post-Empire (of course it had to be "post-" something...) concerns itself centrally with the role of authenticity--actually it's about authentic authenticity versus overplayed and therefore inauthentic authenticity. The question is whether these two authors' very different ideas of authenticity can be bridged.
OPINION: Yeah, I've concluded that it is actually the opposite argument, but the two papers make a fascinating side-by-side comparison.
APPENDICES, relation of which to foregoing discussion will be neither confirmed nor denied
1. Here is a story about a man who has, for the last forty-two years, been single-handedly building a castle for himself in the Colorado wilds.
2. Taos, New Mexico:
the watercolors of Cady Wells,
the wood carvings of Patrocinio Barela,
and, of course, earthships.
• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues