Perverse modernism is the strain in modern art that will do anything to get a rise out of the public. It's not the sum total of modernism, by any means. Rather it's the easy part. Millions of people who cannot grasp the formal innovations of Picasso or Parker have no trouble grasping "art" that rejects tradition, attacks standards, blurs the line between high and low, and (most important) uses shock and offense to attract attention and boost sales. These tactics are often classified as "post-modern," but in fact they've been present since the dawn of modernism. A century ago, certain avant-garde artists in Europe believed that if they made the right anarchic gesture in the right setting, it would spark social and political revolution. No one believes this any more - indeed, there is a vacuum at the heart of today's perverse modernism, where the old dream of revolution once stood. But the bold outrageous gesture is still thought the essence of "creativity" by many people who can know better (artists and pundits) and many who cannot (teenagers).