Do I Know What I’m Saying?


Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

For my last blog post I’m going to talk about this Postmodernist world we are living in once again. I’m not ending on the highest of notes but some things we discussed in American Literature today got me thinking.

We’ve been discussing White Noise by Don DeLillo in class and some of the themes that come up in it. The theme of consumerism in particular made me think.

Our society is entirely branded. For example, everybody (maybe I shouldn’t assume) knows brands like Coke, McDonald’s, Nike, Hilfiger etc. The list goes on and on.

Consumerism gives us ideals about life, well at least about the life we should be living. Who decided that these brands were a necessity?

Is there a certain way we should be living? I think there are some moral codes we should all follow, like treating people with respect as one example. If you were to live your life entirely based off what you THINK you should be doing, then that’s not going to be a happy life.

Maybe you’ll feel fulfilled momentarily or feel some sense of achievement if you ‘consume’ the ‘right’ things but is this real happiness…

I’m starting to get really philosophical and I am wondering if anything I’m saying is making any sense. Also, maybe I’m asking too many questions. I think you need to question yourself sometimes though.

We discussed how consumerism is making people homesick for things that they’ve never had and maybe never will have. I think it’s natural to want more for your life, but maybe we need to step back and consider what’s actually going to make us happy?

Is a brand name really that important to you?




Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

I’ve always been a big fan of things that don’t make much sense so I was glad that on Monday we discussed Surrealism in Film Studies.

We watched Un Chien Andalou by Spanish director Luis Buñuel. There was something appealing about it. It reminded me of a movie I watched not so long ago, Eraserhead. Part of the reason I enjoyed Eraserhead so much was that I couldn’t make sense of a lot of it and it had a strange and eerie feel to it.

One scene from Un Chien Andalou made almost everyone in the class wince. I’m going to include the video below, but if you’re susceptible to eyeballs being sliced then maybe you should take a pass on it. I can’t make sense of its significance but again there’s just something appealing about that?

That’s what Surrealism is all about really. I won’t claim to know everything about it but from what I can gather it can refer to the artistic representation of the unconscious mind and I find that interesting.

Our lecturer brought up Irish author James Joyce in relation to Surrealism and it reminded me of the seminar I took on his writing in Budapest. We discussed this idea of stream of consciousness in relation to novels of his such as A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man and Ulysses.

Stream of consciousness refers to the natural flow of a person’s thoughts as they come; unfiltered. A multitude of things can pass through a person’s brain daily. Based on my own experience much of it is nonsense, but nonsense isn’t always a bad thing.

On the Horizon

Source: William Buetler, Flickr

On Monday I had my first of three FYP workshops. There has been talk of the FYP since I started going to UL and in all honesty I hadn’t put any real thought into it until this semester. This resulted in a mini panic at the beginning of the semester asking myself “what am I even interested in?”. The answer to that question was a lot of things, too many things maybe. All seemingly irrelevant also.

Fast forward to week 7 and here I am with my life moderately in order. I have decided to do my FYP on Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and how it has influenced popular culture. I don’t have a definite research question yet but I am happy with where everything is going. I also have a supervisor who is excited about the idea.

The workshops are there to help us focus ourselves and to define our ideas. We were given a task in class to write about why we had chosen this topic and what was its purpose. This helped me to define in my own mind what exactly it was that I wanted to achieve.

I think the workshops will be really useful as up until now the information we have received has been very general. Now I feel it is more focused and I think that will be more beneficial.

It was interesting to see what topics others had decided on in class and I’ve been enjoying hearing what ideas my own friends have. It’s been a good opportunity to learn about new things.

Now I’m actually looking forward to starting work on my topic but get back to me again in fourth year on that.



Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

I’m finding this blogging assignment interesting. It’s made me reflect more on what I’ve been learning on a weekly basis and I think it’ll be interesting to look back on. Though the running theme of the blog is a reflection of what I’ve been learning weekly in my third year of University it is already turning out to be quite a random concoction. From sunflowers last week, to propaganda the next.

This week in Film Studies we discussed propaganda, something I was already pretty familiar with. Our lecturer asked us does the word propaganda give off negative or positive connotations for us. Immediately I thought negative. Anybody trying to force a way of thinking on you can’t be positive.

We watched a Nazi propaganda video, Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘Triumph of the Will’. I think most people would associate the word propaganda with the Nazis. I found myself zoning out during the video because it had a kind of soothing quality to it. It’s kind of a strange thing to say about a Nazi propaganda video but the images were easy on the eyes.

Of course its aim was to make Hitler look good and I can see how it would have appeared like that at the time. The film starts off with shots of the clouds above the sky and Hitler majestically flying down in his plane. It could be compared to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s propaganda of today.

Being aware of what Hitler and the Nazi party eventually went on to do gave the video a disturbing feel to it, but I can see how anyone at the time, completely unaware, could be sucked into something like this.

It got me thinking about the movies that I watch, the articles that I read and everything in between. There’s usually some kind of influence behind something and I think it’s important to keep an open mind, to educate yourself and to try and see every perspective.