Frederic Jameson’s essay on the postmodern reveals an uneasiness with its superficiality, emotionlessness and falseness. He gives examples of modern and postmodern works. In the postmodern works, a key missing element is ‘affect’, or emotional expression. Emotional expression relies on notions of the human as a free thinking and acting agent, a ‘subject’ capable of projecting expression into an external world. The capitalist bureaucracy has induced a culture of conformism by invalidating the expressive, autonomous individual.
‘Cultural production is thereby driven back into the mental space which is no longer of the monadic subject, but of some degraded collective....’
In art and literature, the collective’s interpretation of history as stereotypes of ‘1950s-ness’prevail over truthful historical account, emphasizing fashion and style, like David Lynch or kitsch retro art. Stereotypes relate the account of the collective zeitgeist over the actual history which would relate stories of individuals and facts. But it is precisely this absence of any reality in our accounting of history that causes us to crave the proliferation of fake history, as seen in historical fiction, pastiche art and ‘vintage’ fashion.
These problematic postmodern stylistic features are related to the ‘death of the subject’, e.g. the discrediting of the ability of an individual to act with free will. Free will no longer has credence after the double whammy of capitalist bureaucratisation/ institutionalisation and post-structuralist theory eschewed ideas like rationality, interpretation and truth.
Perhaps there is equilibrium to be reached between abandonment of all interpretation and truth as manufactured by elites and the staunch adherence to a single idea.
Even if there is no single accurate version of events or philosophy, the intention to relate them faithfully will doubtlessly render them closer to accuracy than otherwise.
The difference is simply a difference of intent: intending to tell the truth versus intending to recreate the appearance/semblance/simulacra of the truth. Since intention is already admittedly subjective, it embraces relativism and truth at once. There cannot multiple interpretations of an individual's phenomeonlogical processes such as intention, in the way that it is hard to argue against the logic of Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’.