Everything, All the Time, Everywhere: How We Became Postmodern

Book review by Deane Barker tags: philosophy, society, postmodernism

I gave this book every chance, I really did. I didn’t abandon it, but I skipped around a lot.

It’s purportedly about postmodernism. Or, perhaps about a history of how we ended up postmodern? I wasn’t sure.

Each chapter was basically a history of many things, often pop-culture. I would read a chapter, and it was certainly interesting, but at the end, I was like…what?

Here’s an example:

Chapter 5: We Are Living in a Material World: Sophie Calle, Apple Macintosh, Madonna

This chapter talks about –

  • A French artist named Sophie Calle who found some guy’s address book and made an art project about contacting all his friends to learn about him
  • The release of the Apple Macintosh, the famous 1984 commercial, and how Apple sometime resembles a religion.
  • The story of Madonna, her Like a Virgin video, and her Sex coffee table book.

While this was very interesting, it didn’t get me any closer to defining “postmodern.” Every chapter was like this. This further leads me to believe the term is basically undefinable.

The author writes well, but every chapter was just random history, without any real point or any revisiting of the implied promise of the title. I finally went to the conclusion, but that didn’t really help either.

Weird book. If the author had just added some bits to tie everything together, it might have been great. Otherwise, maybe just read it as a pop culture history of the 20th century?

Book Info

Stuart Jeffries
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • I own an electronic copy of this book.

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