Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Pee-wee's Playhouse" and Postmodernism


"Pee-wee's Playhouse" and Postmodernism: Can something exist if there's no word for it? Are we not imprisoned by the language(s) we use on a daily basis? These are two fundamental "postmodernistic" questions which underpin the late-1980s kids show "Pee-wee's Playhouse." Because I'm typing in English at the moment, I'm employing about a 1500-year-old linguistic tradition that has evolved from a particular set of Anglo-Germanic tribes on an island off the coast of Western Europe. It has traversed the pages of works like Beowulf and Hamlet. But the language did not really mature until the era of British colonialism in the 17th and 18th centuries. That's when English words started to become standardized, as the British were bringing "order" to an otherwise chaotic world through their empire building. It was this drive for linguistic standardization in modern history that postmodern philosophy intends to subvert. To illustrate this idea, have a look at the above video. The outside of Pee-wee's playhouse appears somewhat orderly with animals at play and the house having been carved from its surrounding environment. But upon entering the playhouse, everything turns into absolute anarchy. In short, the closer one gets to analyzing and dissecting Pee-wee's situation, the more meaningless it becomes.

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