Has America turned into a spoof of itself?

January 28, 2015 4:06 PM

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Did postmodernism kill literary satire? I've been wondering about this in the wake of the terror attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, known for its caricatures of the prophet Muhammad; one appears on the cover of the first issue after the attack, brandishing a placard that declares "Je suis Charlie" while shedding a tear.

There's something direct and provocative in such an image, which is, of course, what comics do. Literature unfolds more slowly, over pages, over time. Among the tools it requires is an elaborate self-consciousness - which is also, it turns out, a key component of postmodernism.

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