I came across the phrase "do not ask for normality, as postmodernism often offends", in a book I am reading. If I am reading this correctly I think it is drawing some kind of equivalency between normality and postmodernism? Is this a correct reading, and if so, is there a relation between the meaning of the two?

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    As a reminder, context is essential to understanding the intended meaning. Please quote the entire passage and indicate what the source is, with a link of available. – choster Dec 10 '18 at 1:42

There is a phrase "Do not ask for credit, as refusal often offends". It has been used in pubs to say "We will not give you credit", in a polite and tentative way.

The phrase has been widely parodied. It is now such a cliche that you will probably never see it used directly, but only as a joke such as

Do not ask for credit, as a punch in the face often offends.

Postmodernism is a cultural movement that uses irony and self-reference. It takes normality and bends it. Taking a sign like "Do not ask for credit..." and changing it to a joke is postmodern ironic response. It is even more postmodern to modify it to refer to postmodernism itself. Hence the joke about postmodernism and normality.

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I was reading Benn Aaronovitch's urban fantasy LIES SLEEPING (Rivers of London Book 7), Chapter 8: Flat Roofed Pub, p.59, and came across this sentence. The main character, Detective Peter Grant, starts off talking about the demi-monde, defined as "the world of magic" as opposed to "the mundane world of everyday existence … It's made up of fae of all kinds, and also people who want to be fae or have been touched by the supernatural in some way, or just found this great pub with this really spooky atmosphere." Later, he comments on architecture:

"Few buildings evoke the sinister horror of 1950's municipal architecture more strikingly than the flat roofed pub." He then comments on the fineness of the faded sign for a pub named the Goat and Crocodile, then criticizes the inside, "The interior decor of the pub, on the other hand, couldn't have been dumped in a skip fast enough." He concludes, "The place couldn't have been more demi-monde if it had changed its name to Biers and had a sign saying /Do not ask for normality, as postmodernism often offends./"

This is my best effort at providing context without copying the entire 7 pages of the chapter to that point.

While I am not certain how to take this sentence, or I wouldn't have looked it up and found this discussion, I believe it is intended to sound off-kilter, rather than make total sense, and does NOT mean that normality is equivalent to postmodernism. It's also reminiscent of the Douglas Adams quote from THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY,
"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."

I will add that I am a native speaker of American English; the book is written in British English.

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I am just getting round to reading this book and instantly thought of "Biers" the undead pub in Ankh-Morpork. There's at least one other Discworld reference so far. I think the phrase itself is in 2 parts, first about the idea that post-modernism challenges"norms" and that in Biers "if you ask the bartender for a Bloody Mary" he won't mix you a metaphor." Second that it's not a good idea to insinuate the far are not normal since generally they were here first.

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  • Welcome to ELL! Can you explain further for those of us who don't know the references? In particular, can you edit your answer to add the title and author of the book(s) you are referring to? – Paul Dexter May 12 '19 at 15:16

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