Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lily Allen and Postmodern's Fear

Every once in a while, popular music strikes a chord, surprisingly self-analyzing the culture it creates. Lily Allen’s song “The Fear” is one such song. For those who don’t know, Lily is a British singer who has released two albums and is known for her insightful social commentary and wit.

(There is some question as to how witty and insightful she is. What passes for wit seems to be the frequent use of the most adaptable adjective in the English language: “f---ing.” And as for insight, her idea for a song “critiquing” George W. Bush for his hatefulness is a song entitled “F--- You” where the entire chorus consists of her repeating the phrase over and over again at him.)

In “The Fear” she describes the current state of the culture as completely lost:

I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
Cause I'm being taken over by the fear

Of course the context of the song reveals that she has missed the mark by selling her idea short. She claims it is a song about the current dominance of materialism, commercialism, and the high regard fame is given as a desirable goal. But really, her song is a perfect description of the entire Postmodern culture today.

In rejecting the (admittedly deluded) idea of Modernism that all truth can be known and understood, Postmodernism has left most people adrift in a sea of uncertainty and fear. It was one thing for academic Philosophers to reject a faulty understanding of the world by going to the other extreme, but now that popular culture and the everyday Joe are embracing that extreme it seems that, as is always the case, the pendulum has swung too far.


  1. It doesn't seem like it's postmodernism that has left people adrift, more like it's the gap between modernism and postmodernism, the inability of communication between the two that leaves this vacuum of fear and often loathing. I also like Make You Crazy by Brett Dennen which is what this lack of communication often does to me.

  2. Yeah, maybe. And this is by no means a knock on Postmodernism coming from a Modern perspective. But I would have to say, that at least on a popular culture level (they way that ordinary people function in postmodern thinking without analyzing it) that postmodernist thinking is to blame. One of the foundations of Postmodernism says that truth cannot be known.

    Thanks for the comment.


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