Allusions of postmodernism and postcolonialism in Code Geass: what the fuck am I smoking?

I’m very sure that no one delights in disease or sickness unless one’s a crackpot, which I assume no one reading this blog is. (My mind’s stoned right now, I think. I feel very high.)

Having said this, I realized that it is a boon when your mind and body are in a pyrexic, intense, and excited state with regard to writing. Perhaps the heat allows the nerves to conduct faster, I don’t know. I totally understand why my professor said he loved Finnegans Wake back when he was sick with a high fever, though. As for me, I just notice that the words come out more freely. Like the madeleine found in Swann’s Way, a reminiscence triggers the remembrance of another memory, and in this case I thought about Seth’s post on You Have to Burn the Rope.

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One can see that he has tagged the post as postmodernism, and he is correct in a very general sense (I can only say ‘in a very general sense’ as I know little about its specifics). Postmodernism as a movement was a reaction against modernism – and among modernism’s central themes (at least in its literature, anyway) is the complexity of the 20th century’s technological advancements. It would be correct, then, to say that You Have to Burn the Rope in its simplicity is a reaction against the complexity of the NES games. Seth himself quips:

I grew up with the NES and its legion of very difficult platformers.

I do not end there, however.

I’m no critic of colonial and postcolonial theory (and I am currently stultified with regard to the understanding of both theories), but I have read some critiques in order to gain insight in postcolonial texts (since I have to dissect the works of Derek Walcott, whom I haven’t read yet).

There was an article in the collection of critical essays I was currently reading which was entitled ‘Is the Post- in Postmodernism the same as the Post- in Postcolonial?’ I deemed the article relevant to the topic (of postcolonialism, that is) at hand, and from what I understood of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s disquisition, the ‘post-‘s are the same with regard to their existence as reactions against their predecessors: postcolonialism is a reaction against colonialism, while postmodernism is a reaction against modernism.

Regarding colonialism, Daniel recently wrote a post that related it to Code Geass (which was a reaction to Cameron’s post). But what if the writers didn’t think of all that? What if the murky sensibilities of Code Geass were really allusions to postmodern thought? After all, Aijaz Ahmad in his ‘Politics of Literary Postcoloniality’ says

Postcoloniality is postmodernism’s wedge to colonize literatures outside Europe and its North American offshoots.

Notes:

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This is exactly what’s happening to my brain right now

I’m very sick with sore throat complexed with colds, cough, and a high fever. While it seems that I’ve only been name-dropping, I did read those essays (with this state of mind) and it temporarily seemed as if the whole world was revealed to me – somewhat like the epiphany of Proust and Joyce. I had fun writing this article, and I hope you have fun deciphering and understanding or simply have fun at it as well. Think of it as some sort of more organized stream-of-consciousness. 🙂

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19 Responses to “Allusions of postmodernism and postcolonialism in Code Geass: what the fuck am I smoking?”

  1. Ryan A Says:

    If I keep reading in between the lines I think my head will hurt as well. I’m not experienced in the concept of postmodern thought, but seems like a very non-deterministic approach, much like how electrons and other particles, exists and do not exists (pop-in-and-out). ^^ Hope you feel better

  2. meganeshounen Says:

    Funny. There was that rumor of Code Geass R2 not performing well on Japanese ratings, and one of the reasons being “Japanese not comfortable watching a series that’s about a foreign country remotely similar to Britain/America invading and oppressing them”. Then again, it’s just a rumor.

    I think of “pondering while having a fever” as something similar to a “hardware overclock”. Increased speed, at the cost of wearing something out and generating a higher amount of heat. Still, that’s what causes one to see “hallucinations” at times. :d

  3. Michael Says:

    meganeshounen:

    OMG. You read my mind and what happened yesterday that I may have to call you some sort of psychic. I had a hardware overclock, and it almost brought me to a half-mad state. I was able to go to sleep, but … you were right with regard to my condition.

    Ryan:

    This was meant as an mental exercise. While I do not know if it was nonsense or not, I tried to make it mean something. Postmodernism is a reaction against modernism, and yes, it is a thought where chaos reigns. So generally you got it right. 🙂

  4. Ryan A Says:

    Yuuss, Wow, I never new moderism implied very “conformed” states, makes me dislike modernist though. Balance is great, stability is nice, but freedom is better. How much would it suck to be Anti-Spiral?

  5. Michael Says:

    No, not that modernism is conforming – it’s an attack against realism and naturalism after all, but it does state that thought will ultimately have meaning in the hands of a powerful and intelligent artist (as I understood). It’s the chaos that postmodernism believes in: in no way can we ultimately obtain or organize meaning.

    I never liked anti-spirals. :c

    For one, they live really boring lives. 🙂

  6. IKnight Says:

    I’m not a fan of the p-word, for various reasons, one of which is that it has too many meanings to too many different people. If you mean Code Geass refuses to mean things in an uncomplicated way, or refuses meaning totally, then you may be right. Maybe. I’m a little too tired to think on it further.

    If you’re looking for anime which really refuses to mean anything, however, I’d recommend The SoulTaker.

  7. Michael Says:

    IKnight:

    I’m not disparaging your post by any means, but I simply wanted to stir things up. I wrote because I had something on my mind; I do admit I was quite feverish and kindling with ideas, but yes, you got the gist of what I was trying to point out. The series does not want to simplify things.

    I’m also too tired to think on it further, but I offer kudos for that post. Good luck on your exams.

    Oh, and that last line’s funny. 😉

  8. IKnight Says:

    Eh, sorry if I came accross as a bit prickly there – like I said, tired and ‘postmodernism’ is like red rag to a bull. Also, I was semi-serious about The SoulTaker: it’s so surface-ey and doesn’t appear to have anything to say, but it easily out-crosses Eva.

  9. mellow_bunny Says:

    W00t good stuff mike. I can’t say I fully understand the thoughts of postmodernism and postcolonialism. Also I haven’t watched Code Geass.

    However, I do enjoy your writing. So keep it up :D!

  10. Arche Says:

    that’s great, keep up the good work 🙂

  11. mellow_bunny Says:

    “Your post Allusion of postmordernism and postcolonialism in Code Geass: what the fuck am I smoking? is great, keep up the good work and check out my collection of whory viagra”.

    THIS IS A FAKE SPAM POST. ITS NOT REAL. Honest.

  12. Lupus Says:

    I was taught in high school English class that post-modernism refers to a method of story interpretation that places the reader’s own experience and interpretation above the author’s original intentions. But what do I know, I’m no literature student.

    I just like to enjoy Code Geass as a drama between Lelouche and Suzaku – two characters whose positions, ideals, philosophies and intentions are such stark opposites of each other that they make up a lot of very interesting and enjoyable drama. All that stuff about colonialism and what-not may be true, but I don’t give a damn.

  13. Michael Says:

    @IKnight

    I’ll take a look at it later, for the lulz.

    @mellow_bunny

    Thank you! 😀

    And what was it with the FAKE SPAM POST?

    @Arche

    I appreciate the comment. 🙂

    @Lupus

    Yeah. In that sense, it is text-independent and reader-dependent, which means that no one meaning is canon. You are correct in pointing that out, unless Daniel corrects me. 🙂

    As a drama of a clash between two different personalities, I’d agree, Code Geass is also enjoyable. And it’s alright, I’m just having fun writing, also. 😀

  14. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Existentialism and its discontents: for those of us who do not believe in God Says:

    […] anime|otaku hopefully incisive and intellectual disquisitions on anime « Allusions of postmodernism and postcolonialism in Code Geass: what the fuck am I smoking? […]

  15. Nagato Says:

    After skimming your entry about 3-5 times (I couldn’t sit down and just read it . I’d die.), it didn’t seem like you really attempted to explain the allusion of postmodernism and postcolonialism to Code Geass. I mean sure, we’re all thinking it, but I was sort of hoping to hear your opinion on what the allusion may be – you hardly even mentioned Code Geass in this entry.
    Anyway, I’m not criticizing you (wait, I am lols), but just seemed to be something that I noticed. Either that or I’m insane.

  16. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » The Lunar New Year: (2) Contextuality in media Says:

    […] that post I wrote when I was in a state of fever? I didn’t offer anything new but tried to confirm the murkiness of Code Geass. However, I did […]

  17. Lelangir Says:

    Hm. I would call nationalism modern, as in, that distancing from Victorian ideologies. The concept of the nation rose after the end of the dynastic state and authority of the church through people bound together by some kind of solidarity, so while Lelouch may seem postmodern in all his contradictions and whatnot, his use of the nation-state (Japan, in this case, the nation of the the 11s) is not.

    We are seeing a rise in nationalism (in real life, like Yugoslavia, post 9-11 patriotism and so forth) in an ever-increasing chaotic and alienating (postmodern?) world, and Code Geass is a testimony to this. So I don’t really know what you’d classify CG as, even if you’d want to classify at all to begin with. I’m just saying there are elements of both theories present in this work.

  18. Cora-Lee Says:

    As I am taking a postmodern course through my university i find this discussion interesting to say the least. I would be interested in reading the articles that you mention, as well as further discussion. In my seminar I am looking at Ghost in the shell the same way.

  19. Natalie White Says:

    The first time that i tried overcloking over a year ago, my CPU got overheated and got fried.-,-

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