The “Isms”

Post-Modern(ism) had taken off her suffix and would not put it back on.

“Come now, Post-Modernism,” said Didacticism, “This won’t do at all. How are people to know what you are without expressing exactly what you mean within an appropriate system of signification. The whole system will break down, they will assume you are an adjective rather than a noun and your meaning will be even more unclear than it already was,” he finished, red in the face and round in the gut.

The “Isms” had gathered at the theoretical table, at which, by definition, nothing substantial was served.

“I reject all boundaries, categories, and classifications,” said Post-Modern(ism) her “ism” discarded on the floor.

“I think I’m in the wrong place,” said Anachronism.

“Your works must replicate reality,” said Realism, “Or they have no value and cannot convey truth.”

“What is truth?” Asked Relativism.

Pragmatism tried to attach the “ism” back onto Post-Modern(ism) without much luck.

“Reality cannot be replicated, mirrored, or represented completely. There is no truth, only perspective,” said Modernism, who in practice didn’t believe what she was saying and went on attempting to replicate reality, all the while scolding Realism for doing so.

“There can be only fracture and artifice,” said Post-Modern(ism), contemplating something that no one else could understand, “I am not a work. I am not meaningful.” She paused for dramatic effect, thus undermining her own claims, before finishing, “I am.”

Classicism raved in the background, but what he said didn’t much matter because, while everyone was grateful he existed, no one listened anymore.

“THIS IS PROBABLY THE CRAZIEST, WILDEST, BIGGEST, HAPPIEST, SADDEST . . .” Sensationalism continued on with his list of “EST” suffixes, which was only occasionally punctuated with a “MOST” followed by a past tense verb indicating importance and rarity such as, “UNPRECEDENTED” before eventually running out of breath and finishing with a hurried, “THING TO EVER HAPPEN,” at the top of his voice.

Tourism walked in and onto the table, snapping a quick photo before posing and asking a question no one understood and then handed the camera to Reductionism, who opened the camera and began to remove and address each part separately.

Absurdism chewed and swallowed each part before anyone could stop him.

Botulism wasn’t sure what he was doing there, but he certainly was feeling lethargic.

“A name is neither an accurate nor a complete representation of what we are and should therefore be abolished in favor of a more complete definition,” said Tokenism, while Centrism attempted to push her chair and all others toward her own chair at the center of the table.

Spiritualism was smoking something that made everyone feel a bit woozy. “The current alignment of the neural network in my head is telling me something absolute about the Universe,” he mused, and made sure to avoid making eye contact with Empiricism.

“We cannot know what cannot be measured or quantified,” shouted Empiricism chained to a toppled but unbroken throne facing the wall.

“Choose anything you like,” said Existentialism, “You are a free agent, responsible and capable by your own will and determination.”

“Well then I’m getting out of here,” said Escapism.

“Keep in mind that we do here, must be done in all places and times. What is true here, must be true everywhere,” said Universalism.

“Hmmm, well, If it sounds true, it must be!” said Trusim.

Absenteeism’s chair sat empty again. Feminism took it for herself in an effort to be more assertive.

Humanism was very pleased with himself, “Humans are the most admirable and important of all things,” said Humanism.

“Women are equally as admirable as men,” said Feminism, before shoving Egalitarianism away—spilling French wine all over his shirt—and whispering, “Women are wonderful. Most of the worlds problems can be directly attributed to Patriarchy and the enslavement and abuse of over one half of the human population.”

“I really don’t think any of us can be adequately summarized in a few short sentences,” said Literalism.

“Says who?” Said Skepticism.

“That’s not good enough,” said Idealism—from where no one could tell—he spoke out of the mouth of every other “Ism” and never said the same thing twice.

“The formal and internal logic of your statement must be structured as follows,” said Syllogism, “A then B; B then C; A then C.”

“Meaning is created you idiots. It is not inherent in anything.” said Nihilism, who walked out back and shot himself, and then walked back in again because it didn’t mean anything.

Racism was worried that a few of the “Isms” really shouldn’t be in attendance and really couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Botulism, wasn’t even a real “Ism”, and so discrimination was not only justifiable, but a necessity.  He would have done something about it, but the trouble was he was enduring an ongoing existential crisis as many of the other “Isms” took every opportunity to insist that he no longer existed.

Creationism attempted to throttle Darwinism in the corner, his every effort only lending him strength.

“Allahu Akbar!” shouted Monotheism. “Sorry,” he grimaced, “I am a fractured entity and cannot be held accountable for the actions of my parts.” And it was true. In fact, many of the “Isms” had disembodied parts that wandered around, jostling one another, biting, pinching, bumping, causing chaos and confusion. In the ongoing commotion no one could be exactly certain who was responsible for which offense and so blamed one another indiscriminately. Monotheism’s eyes had been removed and his legs had wandered off and one was kicking Progressivism under the table. Authoritarianism and Colonialism held his disembodied hands while Dogmatism stood behind him and rubbed his shoulders.

“That’s true!” Nationalism agreed, Exceptionalism, his shadow, “None of us can be held responsible for a few bad actors.” He looked down and tried to rub out the shadow of a thin mustache on his upper lip.

Extremism and Fundamentalism hid behind Monotheism and Nationalism who were joined at the back. They used Monotheism’s foot and Nationalism’s teeth to bloody Multiculturalism who said, “I’m sure this will work out somehow,” before being interrupted by Interventionism who left them all worse off than before.

Secularism demanded that the Theisms separate themselves from the other “Isms”, ignorant of, or perhaps unperturbed by the fact that Industrialism, shadowed by Consumerism, was locked in a coital embrace with each of them—an impossible feat that he managed with his incredible production capabilities.

Euphemism snickered and covered his mouth at such a description.

“God is dead,” sneered Atheism.

“Which one?” asked Polytheism.

“I feel like we’re missing some ‘Isms’,” said Inclusivism, “This can’t be everyone.” He then left the table in a tizzy to look for others and make sure they were included.

Sexism asked “Why are so many of the “Isms” given the pronoun he?”

“It all depends on your point of reference,” said Relativism.

“Well this has been a complete failure, an enormous waste of words,” finished Cynicism.



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