Expanding on the previous post: it’s interesting that John McCain has ended up presiding over a campaign that is, in its flailing attempts to construct a “narrative” about “character,” a textbook exercise in postmodern literary theory.
Here’s what the Wikipedia entry for post-structuralism says:
Post-structuralists hold that the concept of “self” as a singular and coherent entity is a fictional construct. Instead, an individual comprises conflicting tensions and knowledge claims (e.g. gender, class, profession, etc.). Therefore, to properly study a text a reader must understand how the work is related to his or her own personal concept of self. This self-perception plays a critical role in one’s interpretation of meaning. While different thinkers’ views on the self (or the subject) vary, it is often said to be constituted by discourse(s). Lacan’s account includes a psychoanalytic dimension, while Derrida stresses the effects of power on the self. This is thought to be a component of post-modernist theory.
Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, Mark Salter and the rest of McCain’s brain trust are constantly manipulating their construct of McCain in various ways, and attempting to tie it to voters’ own collective perception of self (e.g., Joe the Plumber). The result is a set of shifting, unstable discourses in which there is no clear “meaning” or “self.”