DOOM PATROLS by Steven Shaviro

DOOM PATROLS

A Theoretical Fiction about Postmodernism
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Ranging everywhere, going nowhere, this is a posturing collection of essays on postmodernism. Like those strange, fearsome fish that live in the ocean's deepest depths, Shaviro's prose and his ideas may thrive in their own confined milieu, but brought to the surface world where the rest of us live, they explode and die. Shaviro (Literature and Film/Univ. of Washington) tries to conceal the basic unoriginality of his thought behind a dense patter of quotation, citation, and jargon. And so we are treated to the recycled thoughts of such postmodern sages as Baudrillard and Deleuze, as well as the usual, trite reflections on rock 'n' roll (it induces disorientation, the quintessential postmodern experience) and Disney World (where excess blurs the boundary between reality and unreality and the postmodern world's fetish of the object is fully realized). Shaviro also spends an inordinate amount of time analyzing the comic book series Doom Patrol, whose main virtue, apparently, is its deliberate engagement with postmodern themes. But the subject matter is really unimportant. With tautological criticism like this, subjects exist only to confirm a theory. Hence, postmodern critics adore such fabulistic novelists as Pynchon but almost never acknowledge the existence of such doughty realists as Mailer or Bellow. Shaviro jettisons such concepts as theme and coherence, rambling wherever whims and his borrowings take him, perhaps trying to demonstrate tautologically the confusions of a postmodern universe. In short, these essays aren't really about anything at all. If, as seems possible, the death rattle of postmodernism has already begun to sound, Shaviro is happily oblivious to its imminent end.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-85242-430-3
Page count: 175pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996