In regards to postmodernism stuff, I THINK death of the author isn't necessarily part of that. The idea actually seems bastardized in places. I guess it's not draw your own conclusion about everything, so much as anti authorial interference.
In other words, if you didn't put it in the story, fuck you you can't retcon it in. stop writing sloppily.
I have this feeling like modern education is favoring trivial knowledge over actually being able to do anything. Four years and half of my major being computer science... You know, I can give laundry lists of C++'s features. I can talk about Big-Oh numbers and algorithms and operating systems and how stuff works and what stuff does.
And if you forced me to, I wouldn't be able to write a complete program.
There's no broad, over-arching structural knowledge here and I'm not sure where to get it. It's just minutia. Write a sorting algorithm or a binary search or a vector or or or...
This sort of came to an annoying head when I took the GRE a few weeks ago. I did sort of crappy on the verbal portion because I didn't know a lot of the words in the analogies and antonyms section, and frankly a lot of the words are archaic and ugly and the sort of things that, like ichor, if you ever actually DID use them in a work, you should probably be shot.
But the GRE is supposed to test what you learned in college. Is college really about learning a bunch of obscure words and super-trivial shit like that? Is that knowledge? Is that proving any sort of capability to doing anything? If you write using words that aren't known to the majority of the population, does that make you a good writer? I don't really think so. I think being a good writer is being able to convey ideas well. If nobody can understand you, you're not doing it right.
(Weird aside: Videogames sort of play into that a lot. Especially MMOs and the major multiplayer competitive things. You can minmax the hell out of everything and memorize tables and data and figures. Trivia stuff. Fox only, no items, final destination?
It's why I've sort of realized that Quake 3 is better designed than most RPGs. You actually have to be GOOD at Quake 3 to be good at it. Numbers do not fucking matter. Although this also applies to a lot of action games or any sort of strategy game where statistics are a lot fuzzier and contextual (and I'm not saying ALL RPGs have issues with this. Just a lot of them). Quake 3 isn't perfect. That's not what I'm saying. It's just... I don't know.
And then you have something absolutely brilliant like Persona 3 that has a thematic core ENTIRELY based around this entire thread).