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Posmodernist Deconstruction Quiz

By Todd McCafferty

I am an English major and one of my requirements for graduation is to be utterly pretentious. While this may seem frightfully easy, I can assure you that it is not. A vague understanding of complex literary concepts is required in order to give off the appearance that you are a complex thinker. Do you have what it takes? Find out by taking my...

Postmodernist Deconstruction Quiz

Literary theory and cultural studies have developed in the last half of the century in a wild and verbose direction. "Text," which is basically anything, can now be interpreted in any way you, as a po mo deconstructionalist, want. But are you really postmodern? Can you really square up to the likes of Amis, McLuhan and Lacan? Do you have a working understanding of "Of Grammatology?"

Here is where you can find out how well you blur the boundaries between high and low text.

1. When you see a Madonna video do you...
a. Change the channel (-5)
b. Get a hard on (-2)
c. Reference it as another facet of popular culture (0)
d. Write a dissertation on the connection between Madonna video's metanarrative structure in response to contextualizing forces and the inherent gaps in moving text (5)

2. Are you French?
a. Yes (30)
b. No (-10)
c. Of French dissent (3)
d. I really really would like to be! (1)

3. What is truth?
a. That which is right and that which is not wrong (-15)
b. It depends on the situation (-5)
c. Truth has no real reference point in modern life (0)
d. Anything you want it to be (10)

4. What does the phrase, "Johnny is an intelligent boy" Mean to you?
a. Johnny is smart for his age (-20)
b. Johnny is considered to be intelligent when judged within the paradigms of society (-2)
c. Johnny is not intelligent outside of preconceived dialectics that ignore ambiguity, therefore we as the reader must decontextualize all prevalent literary forces and subsume the deconstruction of the text (6)
d. We live in a patriarchy do therefore Johnny as a male is automatically smart, at least compared to women. Also, Marxism and Freudianism have something to do with this I am sure. And urban narrative structures or post-colonial stratagems I bet. (17)

5. Science is...
a. The way rational human beings view the world (-100)
b. An orderly attempt to explain natural phenomena (-50)
c. A social construct that has roots in Western binary oppositions (0)
d. A completely false analogy that attempts to explain the natural world while ignoring the complexity of large words such as internalizing narrative, post-structuralist ambiguity, or post-post-modern post-deconstructionalist post-thing. (20)

FILL IN THE BLANK (5 points for each correct answer)

1. Reading is ____________. (impossible)
2. The daily activities of human beings relate to ____________. (everything except God, because God doesn't exist)
3. Shakespeare isn't any better than the back of my Cap'n Crunch cereal box because ______________. (good/bad is a Western concept)
4. Text is ___________. (all answers are correct)
5. Literary critics use difficult words because ____________. (talking about ambiguity requires precise wording)

Connect the Dots

The object of this section is to connect these non-numbered dots in any way you see fit. Everyone is right of course, but you receive points for bickering with other test takers over which is the best way of connect the dots. 5 points for each quibbling point of contention won.

					.		.

		   .	.			.

				.					.

	.			   .        	.	 .	 .	

		. 				     .               .

	   .              .             .

		.						.     .   .  .


Essay Portion (out of 50 points)

The random amalgamation of words after being cut-up is comparable to James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. Use the opposite of all direct meaning found on the back of a Donruss '89 Jose Canseco All-Star card to analyze this proposition. Make sure to include technical jargon from disciplines in which you have no training and unintelligible sentences. You have all eternity to complete this essay.

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