Blake Butler, Etiology of Action, and How You Should Read Post Postmodernism

post postmodernismThat Blake Butler book, There Is No Year, yeah, it’s good. Very avant-garde, very worked out, individualized. The motifs throughout–hair, light, (re: my Twitter), bees, bags, smells, skin–are all thought-provoking. The novel works as a kind of postmodern proverb, a four hundred page one. If you want to challenge yourself, give it a read and think about your suburban lifestyle.

If your actions are reactions to other things, people, or places, is it possible to create a will to do something out of nothingness? I mean, etiologically, there’s always something that causes you to act. Like when you’re hungry, it’s because your body has digested the food you last ate and now it requires more, so your eating something is a reaction to physical circumstances. I realized that most of the time I react to people in ways that exaggerate their expectations. But I don’t want to bore you with this Henry James stuff. Let’s talk about something good.

Tom Jones is so great because of the self-consciousness of Henry Fielding as narrator. So to provide some perspective into my last post, I am trying to allow you to judge for yourself what constitutes a proper course of action. I could have offered a thousand different horrible possibilities that result from sleeping with a co-worker, or a few dozen good ones–would that have changed your opinion on the moral righteousness of the act? If you said it was wrong, why? Examine your own motives. That’s what good writing gets you to do, if you’re a good reader. That’s my next step, that’s what this whole movement of subjectivism or metamodernism or post postmodernism or whatever you want to call it is going to be about.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

1 comment

  1. Science speak: for every action there is a reaction. Combine this with the subjectivity of the human experience and come up with…infinite possi-bi-ri-teez.

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