Colbert Nation

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This image is of Stephen Colbert. Or, rather, it is of his postmodernist personality – I have chosen this picture, in fact, because I believe Colbert illustrates the idea of the postmodernist personality. The concept of this postmodernist personality, at least as I’ve come to understand it, relies mostly on circumstance. At all times, we are capable of enacting a multitude of different personalities based on our context. In this sense, the postmodernist personality is a performance, one that is primarily dependent upon external forces. Thus, we have no individual personality, but are composed of many different personas, all of which comprise what we would normally consider to be the individual personality.

This seems to certainly be the case with Colbert. One of his personalities is a reimagining of a politically conservative pundit, such as Bill O’Reilly. Thus, his TV show personality is entirely a performance, one that relies on the context of the show. He is playing this role, despite his tremendously left leaning tendencies in “real life.” Colbert seems to be a particularly noteworthy example of this postmodernist personality because many are unsure of the genuineness of the pundit character he plays, exemplifying the performative nature of the postmodern personality. It is constantly in flux, and never wholly one thing or the other; it is constantly a mixture of many different personalities, and responses derived from an external context. 

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One comment

  1. Colbert’s parody of conservative punditry could certainly be considered postmodern, as is his reflexive play with the genre of the cable news show. It will be interesting to see what he does with the late night television format and whether he brings the same self awareness to his new role.

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