“The inflationary and often contradictory use of the term postmodernism does not have to concern us,” writes Jochen Schulte-Sasse, “as long as it is understood that postmodernity and postmodernism refer to qualitative changes in society and their cultural manifestations.” 1 Schulte-Sasse is wrong: the inflationary and often contradictory use of the term “postmodernism” does have to concern us. The term may be more significant for what it tells us about the theorists who use it than for what it tells us about society and culture. (The contradictory character of the term expands its meaning; its inflationary character follows from this contradictoriness. That is, the inflation signals that the contradictoriness is unresolvable—an idealistic over-expansion that empties the term of material meaning. The only historical reality “postmodernism” comes to signal is that of its exaggerated significance for theorists, which is one way of understanding how it is that a term can become a signifier without reference. A so-called free signifier is a term that has been so removed from circulation—practice—by its intellectual analysis that it can only signify that analysis. It has, one might say, been over-clarified, which reduces its usefulness. It achieves ideal, rather than realistic, status.)