From the Obama-McCain struggle to find the proper meta-analysis of the word celebrity to the deconstruction of the mainstream media’s treatment of John Edwards, from the “framing” and “repackaging” of political constructs to the rise of identity politics for white people, the trend is clear: We are all postmodernists now.
The mainstreaming of pomo thinking has been largely a stealth project, something many of us do without committing overt acts of academia. We thought we were trying to clear away the cobwebs of shoddy analysis and elite hypocrisy, but all along we were bringing the tools of critical thinking to the masses. Go into any pub in the country, and you’ll find somebody unpacking the assumptions in someone else’s text.
Yet the mainstreaming of critical theory hasn’t necessarily been good for its original practitioners. Just as the old media were left cold as their once difficult and rarefied functions were ceded to any slob in his pajamas, so the bards of meta-analysis are struggling to survive in a world of front-porch semioticians.