A Gargantuan Bookshop in the 13th Century Church: Gertrude Stein Would Applaud
I am standing in the middle of the Dominican Church in Maastricht (Netherlands), a church turned into a gargantuan bookshop. I am holding the book of Gertrude Stein. If only she was told that half a century after her death her books would be sold in the church, she would laugh skeptically with distrustfulness.
‘The mother of postmodernism’, the academic movement that can be described as the straightforward denial of general philosophical viewpoints that were taken for granted during the 18th-century Enlightenment and characterized by denial of objective truth, Gertrude Stein would be definitely pleased to sit in the 13th century Dutch church for an autograph book session.
Some postmodernist ideas are:
- Truth is a “social construct,” rather than objectively provable.
- A society’s choice of language reflects their general perceptions of the rules by which the world operates (see political correctness).
- There is no one superior culture; Western culture is no better than any other (see cultural relativism). This often takes the form of ridicule of anything deemed to be part of traditional values or mainstream American culture.
- The frequent use of irony and humorous wordplay to shift the meanings of words is encouraged as this causes people to rethink their assumptions about culture and language.
- Gender roles, sexuality and race are socially constructed, not inborn traits.
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