What is Postmodern Angst?

Postmodern Angst is a common condition, found among poets and academics as well as barmaids and priests. Its most obvious symptom appears as a manifest obsession with documenting minutiae and trivia. Other symptomatic obsessions include celebrity gossip, political controversy and paranoia.

Kierkegaard used the term angst to describe a spiritual condition of insecurity and despair. Kierkegaard’s concept of angst is considered to be an important stepping stone for 20th-century existentialism. It has little to do with anything here.

In the 1980s “teen angst” was expressed in the music of “post-punk” bands. The highest concentration of teen angst could be found along Melrose Avenue, in the vicinity of Fairfax High School. A young man known as “Angst Boy” loitered at the bus stop and sold loose joints from a cassette case. He was known for dispensing both weed and wisdom to high school kids and could often be found reading a tattered copy of Camus. Over half the Class of 1987 considers Angst Boy a major philosophical influence.

In the context of the postmodern condition, “angst” may best be understood as a hyper-intellectual form of Weltshchmerz: the feeling that reality can never satisfy the needs of the mind. In Japan they call it Hikkimori and it freaks them totally out.

Cal Godot has been studying the phenomenon of postmodern angst since 1984. He has traveled the world documenting cases of the syndrome, most notably in France, Israel and Afghanistan. He currently makes his home in Hollywood, where he works diligently to subvert and destabilize the military-industrial-entertainment complex from within. Cornered by paparazzi on the red carpet in 2006 and asked to sum up his philosophy in just a few words, Godot replied: “Croatoan. Pomegranate. Zenith.”