Postmodernism stood for everything modernism rejected: fun, exuberance, irresponsibility. But beneath its glitzy surface, postmodernism had a dirty secret: it was the fig leaf for a rapacious new kind of capitalism. It was the forcing ground of “post truth,” by means of which western values were turned upside down. But where do these ideas come from and how have they impacted on the world?
In his book, Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern, Stuart Jeffries tells a narrative that starts in the early 1970s and still dominates our lives today. He tells this history through a riotous gallery that includes, among others: David Bowie, the iPod, Madonna, Jeff Koons’s the Nixon Shock, Judith Butler, Las Vegas, Margaret Thatcher, Grand Master Flash, I Love Dick, the RAND Corporation, the Sex Pistols, Princess Diana, Grand Theft Auto, Jean Baudrillard, Netflix, and 9/11.
We are today scarcely capable of conceiving politics as a communal activity because we have become habituated to being consumers rather than citizens. Politicians treat us as consumers to whom they must deliver. Can we do anything other than suffer from buyer’s remorse?
Stuart Jeffries is a journalist and author. He was for many years on the staff of the Guardian, working as subeditor, TV critic, Friday Review editor and Paris correspondent. He now works as a freelance writer, mostly for the Guardian, Spectator, Financial Times and the London Review of Books. He has written two books, Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy and Grand Hotel Abyss.
His book Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern will be available on the day.
** This event will be held with an in-person audience at Conway Hall *AND* online, via Zoom. Everyone wishing to join this event must register for a ticket in advance, using the “Book Now” link **