Works insidiously by establishing in the minds of the faithful that there are no ultimate truths in either a moral or a scientific sense, and dressing up bullshit in flowery language. Postmodernism pretends to be a guarantor of pluralism (a concept far better served, btw, by rational debate), and is in love with concepts such as the "transgressive" and the "paradigm shift". Unfortunately these matters are brought up in the midst of reams and reams of tendentious twaddle which constitute a dreadful waste of perfectly good trees, and the most notable effect of postmodernist (un)thinking is not the freeing of anyone's mind from conservative tyranny, but the scrapping of the very idea of objective truth. Once this happens, of course, what follows (outside the ivory towers of academia) is that the game goes, set and match, to the fellah with the biggest guns. Many conservative factions claimed that September 11 spelled the end of postmodernism. Ohhhh nooo, postmodernist twaddle was only just getting its boots on.
To take an (admittedly anachronistic) example of what is essentially the same thing:
"A new and magical understanding of the world is on the rise, one based on will rather than truth. There is no truth, in either the scientific or the moral sense."
- Adolf Hitler
A recent postmodernism-infected view of the war in Iraq explained that Bush and Blair were "creating new realities" for the rest of the world to study.
Furthermore, postmodernism critiques all claims of "objective" truth by revealing that human subjectivity always exists in every truth proposition. Due to the pervasive effects of subjectivity, postmodernist critiques are critical of all sweeping claims concerning social policy, truth, justice, morality, and ethics.
Finally, postmodernism is a school of thought which examines the traditional "either/or" dichotomies in modern philosophy, and reveals that these supposedly neutral dichotomies actually favor one side over the other. (Good/Evil, Above/Below, Male/Female)
Modern Philosopher: "The word "justice" means ______"
Postmodernist: " The term 'justice' means many different things, depending on the subjective positions of the members of the discussion. Outside any discussion of 'justice', there is no meaning which we can find. 'Justice' 'exists' so long as we negotiate its meaning as between ourselves in our society."
Ignoramus: "Postmodernism means _______"
"Postmodernist" : " The label 'postmodern' applies in many different contexts, and it cannot be abstracted into only one meaning or definition, for that defies the very essence of 'postmodern', which of course is a non-essence. "
Postmodernists believe that if they make their terminology sufficiently obscurantist, sesquipedalian, and circumloquatious, nobody will notice the lack of substance. To a large extent, they are correct in that belief.
Some postmodern philosophers (like Baudrillard) are beyond help, while others (like Foucault) are largely salvageable. This must be judged on a case-by-case basis, but not without boots to wade through the exceedingly thick bullshit that permeates the entire idea-space.
When you start getting to ideas such as "science is sexist because it probes the natural world (which is the sacred feminine) against its will, thus committing rape" it's time to throw the document in the fire. It's important to leave a lot of room around the fire, though, as you've probably underestimated how much pomo literature is totally worthless.
Jill: You and every other gullible sophomore looking for an intellectual family where you can't possibly be wrong, you fucking latte-sipping coward.
1) ensuring that no child going to school in the 70s and 80s was taught grammar
2) confusing the hell out of, causing to fail, and generally annoying any uni student studying philosophy or law
3) of course the veracity of (1) and (2) depend on context, and truth is subjective, and as all meanings are a product of both THE MAN and THE SYSTEM what you say is only valid from your own point of view as is this whole urban dictionary entry, anyway
All the people who thought this up, and continue to promulgate it, and make people write essays about it, will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.
Bob: Hi Fred I'm Bob. Oh God.
Fred: That feels amazing.
Bob: L’important, c’est que le sexe n’ait pas été seulement affaire de sensation et de plaisir, de loi ou d’interdiction, mais aussi de vrai et de faux. Postmodernism booyakasha.