The New York Times Style section has published a helpful list of 27 ways a "modern man" ought to live his life; these maxims include "When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small." Also: "The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away." But what about the postmodern man? Where is his guide to life?
The postmodern man rejects the capitalist semiotics of hierarchical lists, particularly those organized in ascending order of perceived importance, for the purposes of selling advertisements for luxury goods in the establishment media's fashion dictum.
The postmodern man prefers to read his aphoristic instructions for living in the form of a sine wave. [Editor's note: There was no room in our budget for a sine wave graphic designer.]
The postmodern man rejects the heteronormative modern man's language of oppression and his self-imposed rules for spousal shoe purchases. The postmodern man says fuck you and your pseudo-savvy commodity fetishism, modern man, man.
Every morning the postmodern man coats his feet in warm tar and broken glass so that he never forgets to feel.
The postmodern man’s sense of gender identity isn’t reliant on eating steak, chicken wings, or, even worse, grilled octopus. The postmodern man does not subcontract out suffering and animal cruelty in some twisted attempt to assert his manhood.
The postmodern man rips open melons with his bare hands (it’s possible if you use your knees like a vice) and eats it without any need for special tools or dishes which will simply create more non-point pollution when washed. The rinds are composted.
The postmodern man isn’t suckered into purchasing overpriced garbage popcorn at the multiplex nor does he understand the compulsion to strap a feed bag to his face simply because he’s at the cinema. The postmodern movie attendee smuggles in a flask of whiskey and a screwtop box wine in his or her coat. (Don't forget the cups!)
Back to the shoe thing, the postmodern man is particularly contemptuous of the modern man’s sly embedded advertising for Kenneth Cole (not to mention his macho product placement for Irish Spring soap and “keeping it real” diabetic elixirs such as Coke and Dr. Pepper). The postmodern man is not what he owns, or wears, or consumes, or streams on content distribution platforms, although he does appreciate the digital Nixon watch his significant other gave him for his birthday. Those are surfer watches, so they’re cool.
The postmodern man does agree Black Mass could have been better.
“More like Modern Chad, amirite?” the postmodern man asks, exhaling a plume of clove cigarette smoke in the direction of the bourgeois suburban dad bragging about his hardwood floors after his wife tells him to turn down that weekly rap music session.
The postmodern man cries more than you do, modern man, and hereby challenges modern man to a sob-off. GO. glughughhshshshssugggggghhhhUEAOWAAAAHGHHH IN YOUR FACE
The postmodern man also thinks about buying a shoehorn, but the kind with teeth.
The postmodern man and the modern man are both part of the same privileged white man hypocrisy, and never more so as when they compose deliberately insufferable listicles to be published purely for the sake of feeding bite-sized content into a rapidly devolving banner ad shell game.
And yet the postmodern man still feels he is more authentic than the modern man. Is that not simply the complex machinery of the late-capitalist ruling class at work, always dividing the masses into different contrived categories and encouraging them, from a very early age, to consume identities that distance themselves from the Other and require new merchandise to enhance? What if postmodern man and modern man joined forces with postmodern woman and modern woman to fight the real enemy: the elite corporate and political class which is busily and profitably maintaining a global infrastructure of complacency as the world burns? Will our post-postmodern grandchildren, reading tattered printouts of our solipsistic blog posts while killing time in Alaskan eco-refugee camps, find any of this amusing? “What did your postmodern grandpa do as the global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million and the oceans acidified?” “He reblogged newspaper articles...and my dad says he secretly enjoyed Wes Anderson movies, but after Rushmore they were too mainstream for him to publicly admit it. Is there any cockroach ceviche left?”
Under the NY Times Style section, the beach!