Do I Know What I’m Saying?

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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?

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Postmodernism?

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Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Postmodernism is a word that’s been floating around in my life for what feels like a long time. Previously if anybody had asked me to describe what exactly Postmodernism was I don’t think I would’ve been able to make a very good stab at it. Now, I can make a pretty decent stab at it but I’m still no expert.

We’ve discussed Postmodernism this semester in Film Studies and today in American Literature. I find Postmodernism interesting.  I like Postmodernism. I’m beginning to think that I have a Postmodernist mindset? If that exists?

We discussed Postmodernist buildings in particular. I like the way our lecturer David described it, “Playfulness for playfulness’s sake”. Aspects of Postmodernist buildings serve no functional purpose and yet there they are.

Postmodernist buildings have unnecessary decoration and elements to them. You could say its needless but I would disagree because I think life needs an element of crazy.

Here is a picture of the dancing house in Prague. I have been here and at the time was unaware that this was what you could call a ‘Postmodernist building’. The things you learn…

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Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

If there’s a post, there must be a pre, and in this case that is Modernism. I don’t think I’m a fan of Modernism’s simplicity and need for functionality. Maybe sometimes we need the confusion.

Perspective

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(Image is my own)

We’ve been discussing Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping in American Literature. I haven’t gotten around to reading the novel yet, but it sounds like an interesting read. In lectures, we discussed the background of the novel, the author and some themes that appear.

Something that was brought up that interested me was this idea of light and darkness. Writers will often use images of light and darkness to elicit certain feelings in their readers. I think for most people light would be associated with good things and darkness with bad things.

I found it interesting that Robinson flips this idea around in her novel. Light is bad and darkness is good.

Looking at things from Robinson’s perspective I think I can see what she’s doing. In the light, we are more aware of our surroundings and more aware of ourselves. Sometimes this self-awareness can be hindering rather than enlightening. It has the potential to make you view the world in a materialistic way.

In the dark the materialistic side of life is less prevalent, maybe even non-existent. The way you look, what you have, what you own do not matter when you cannot see them. Maybe sometimes it is better in a way to be blind to these things.

It was interesting to reflect on light and darkness from a new perspective, but it’s probably better to be enlightened than in the dark when it comes to matters of life.

On the Horizon

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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.