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My Postmodern Life

TIL that updating this description changes the date :(

Kat Schertzer

on 6 January 2015

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Transcript of My Postmodern Life

Since I was a kid, the question society has always asked is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. The root of our childhood is based on getting an education so we can go to University. This is a popular grand narrative (“which are stories a culture tells itself about its practices and beliefs” (Klages 2007)) today. Society says I need that degree to get a stable job. Once there is a stable source of income from said job, it is expected that I already have a significant other, and that progresses to marriage. The next step is having children to raise. My life story is set out for me already, it is just my job to follow those orders. But what if I don’t want to?

Okay, this is a grand narrative that I am not rejecting. It would be a dream to finish high school and spend my life traveling the world. Some people are lucky enough to be able to afford that. I, on the other hand, am not. I have my life planned out according to my own grand narrative...

My Postmodern Life
Katarina Schertzer
The Life Changing Unit
post·mod·ern·ism: 'pōs(t)'mädern'izem/ noun
A word when spoken to a group of 12U English students that results in unenthusiastic groans and expressions of profanity.

Just kidding... or am I?
As stated by Mary Klages, the definition of postmodernism is “hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and technology” (Klages 2007).
Before starting this unit, I made sure to ask some friends what postmodernism really was. I heard things like “It’s the hardest unit ever,” “It changed my life man,” and “I can’t watch television or movies the same EVER again! It ruined everything for me.” Okay, I think they were exaggerating just a bit. It’s not terrible. It’s actually something I can relate to. Now that I know the basics of Postmodernism after many of the readings we did, I realize my whole life is a result of the Postmodern era. Some aspects that make my life very postmodern include:
Grand Narratives
Knowledge: Because You Have To

Before we begin with postmoderism, let’s throw it back to the days of the modern society, where learning was for the sake of learning. Getting an education was to be a more knowledgeable person in general. Nowadays, it’s different. Objectives have changed.
A proper education is a huge role in today’s postmodern society, and the most crucial part begins in high school. In grade nine, I lived more of a modern school life, choosing classes like Food and Nutrition solely for the fact of liking food. But as the years progressed, I had to make my timetable decisions based on what program I would be taking in post-secondary. Klages explains “In a postmodern society, however, knowledge becomes functional—you learn things, not to know them, but to use that knowledge” (Klages 2007). I did not choose classes like Calculus and Vectors for “fun” (or to torture myself just for the heck of it), but because I had to so I could get into the Medical Sciences program at Brock (which I did!!). The information I’m learning isn’t for the sake of learning itself, and the "knowledge ceases to be an end in itself, it loses its use-value" (Lyotard, 1984). I’m not learning just because I can, instead I’m putting it towards the greater goal of University. How I do in grade twelve affects the rest of my life. The emphasis today is on what is useful for your future, not a "vague humanist ideal of education in general" (Klages 2007).

Technoculture: Technically an Advantage
Times have changed. We are living in the era of technology. This project you assigned would have been impossible years ago. Lyotard explains “it is common knowledge that the miniaturization and commercialization of machines is already changing the way in which learning is acquired, classified, made available, and exploited” (Lyotard 1984). The ‘machine’ here is the laptop I used to make this Prezi. The fact that you are reading what I typed online from a URL sent through an email demonstrates the advancements in technology that go hand-in-hand with how I am learning. There’s also this thing called Google that I can use anytime I want to look up any tidbit of information I need, and at any given moment. All I need to do is pull out my cell phone and tap my thumbs onto the screen- and voila! Information is literally at my fingertips.

Although very handy, technoculture has its downfalls.“In postmodern societies, anything which is not able to be translated into a form recognizable and storable by a computer—i.e. anything not digitizable—will cease to be knowledge” (Klages 2007). This is relatable to my life because without pictures of an event in time, I will probably forget about it. This is exactly why I made a Dropbox account that is linked to my phone. Anytime I take a picture, it is uploaded through Wifi to a secure online album for storage. That way, I can save room on my phone by deleting photos off my simcard, but can still check them online to remind myself of a specific memory. The downside is that I didn’t get a phone until grade ten, so grade nine is blur. I have no pictures from it, so I don’t have memory memories linked to that year.... unless I check my tagged photos on Facebook.
"I Consume, Therefore I Am."
Postmodernism shapes, forms, and characterizes consumerism, which I am guilty of. Jessup describes consumerism as “a process of self-identification, where people develop a sense of who they are what they want to become through consumption” (Jessup 2001). Name a brand name item that appeals to me, and I probably have it or want it. Popular brands have taken control of the consumer world. A plain white t-shirt? $12.00. A white t-shirt with a Nike logo on it? $28.00. People favour certain brand names, and are willing to pay more in order to get their satisfaction from it. In middle school, consumerism consumed me. I needed to have HOLLISTER plastered on me to feel cool. If the logo wasn’t obvious, I wouldn't buy it. It didn’t matter how ugly it was, if it had the seagull logo and the brand name written somewhere visible, I wore it.
Bonus grade seven picture...

Converse shoes, BENCH brand jeans, and a BENCH sweater (if the brand name obnoxiously on the arm wasn't noticeable) to top it off.

As I matured, I (thankfully) moved away from that obsession. I still am a victim of consumerism, although now I wear things like lululemon and Aritzia leggings.These brands don't scream their name, but a subtle logo is still visible. Anyone seeing Lululemon’s omega symbol on a pair of black leggings might know that said person paid $92.00 for them (without tax). Lots of people won’t care, but the buyer does. I got these lululemon leggings for the reason of specifically wanting the brand name item. “We consume the meaning of the goods themselves" (Jessup 2001). I wanted a pair of lululemon leggings for a while, and I was excited getting a pair for Christmas. People develop a sense of who they are with what brands they wear.
lululemon's trademark Omega symbol
Aritzia's trademark symbol
Choosing hard classes against my will was worth it!!
Grand Narrative numero uno:
Grand Narrative 2:
The Expected Life
Simulacra: The Kopy Kat
minimalistic life
This is goodbye...
Works Cited
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations. Standford: Stanford
University Press, 1988. 166-184. Print.

Jessup, Michael. Truth: The First Casualty of Postmodern Consumerism.
Christian Scholar's Review, 2001. 289-304. Print.

Klages, Mary. Postmodernism. Continuum Press, 2007. Print.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition. MS Thesis, Manchester University, 1979. Print.
The modern era left society with many grand narratives. As time changed, so did the views of people. “Postmodernism then is the critique of grand narratives, the awareness that such narratives serve to mask the contradictions and instabilities that are inherent in any social organization or practice” (Klages 2007). An example of a grand narrative is religion. I am lucky to grow up in an open-minded family that did not force me into anything. If I did not understand something, asking questions was encouraged. To me, the bible is full of contradicting statements. If God loves everyone, why can’t he love those that love the same sex? I believe in human equality regardless of sex, ethnicity, gender, or race. Instead of the grand narrative, I like to follow my own mini-narrative. I make no claim to reason or stability. I am just going with the flow. Do I believe in God? I was skeptical even as a kid. I never have. Am I going to walk around telling people that? Definitely not. When I was younger, some of my friends would say a prayer before going onstage to dance, and I would join. Before dinner at my aunt’s house, she says a little prayer and I respectively bow my head. I respect other people’s beliefs, but I personally reject the grand narrative of religion in my own life. It has never been a part of my life, so I do not talk about it. I have always gone to public schools, and weekend mornings were spent watching cartoons, or at my dance studio. I do not know much about religion, but I am okay with that.

Rejecting grand narratives the annoying way.
Arguing about religion: you don't go there.
Religious nonsense (made by an Atheist to mock Christians... just guessing).
Kind of ridiculous.
A Prezi by
Yes that's a fanny pack.
2. Complete the Medical Science undergraduate at Brock
3. Graduate Waterloo's Pharmacy School
4. Become a pharmacist
5. Profit?????
1. Graduate high school
A huge part of my post modern life is the simulacra in dance. Baudrillard explains the four cases as: “1 It is the reflection of a basic reality, 2 it masks and perverts a basic reality, 3 it masks the absence of a basic reality and 4 it bares no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum" (Baudrillard 1988). An example of how my dance life falls into these four categories is with my studio’s production number from last year, Bollywood Vibe.
A copy of a copy of a copy of our Team Photo
So this dance ends up in the fourth degree of postmodern simulacra. Let me take you through the cases:

1. Real "bollywood" dancers in India are a good representation of the dancers who invented the style years ago.

2. This is where I start to come in. We start as a group of Canadian girls copying and learning some authentic moves. We tried to get the costumes as authentic as possible (which were ordered from an American company).

3. Okay, so we got some moves down, now we’re going to add in a twist with our own styles of dance, like jazz and acro.

4. We competed onstage, and the recording ended up online on YouTube! Not like the original at all. “In the fourth, it is no longer in the appearance at all, but of simulation” (Baudrillard 1988). I danced that in April, but here you are watching it in January. This is completely a simulation now.

“According to Jean Baudrillard, is that in postmodern society there are no originals, only copies” (Klages 2007).
I live a very minimalistic life. Each day goes by just like the last. Each day I return home from school, my parent ask me “How was school?”, and every time I answer with “Good”.
Technically speaking, I am a complex human being. Most of the time I don’t feel that way. An example of how minimalistic my life is shows itself on my Twitter.
Don't follow me on Twitter? Then you won't know much about me. No creepy cyber-stalking allowed here!!
I try to keep things vague online. If you want to know my feelings, talk to me in person!
Here's a few of my recent tweets. They don't give much away about my life.
I made this fire tweet the other day, and opened my Twitter to the public eye just to get a couple retweets...
The decent popularity of this post got me excited. That's how simple I am.
Studying postmodernism in class was an eye opener. It made me realize that I am insignificant in the world, and my life and what it contains is completely predictable. Everything is pointless.

Okay that’s not completely true, postmodernism did not give me depression. But it did make me realize I am a member of this postmodern era. What I learn is for a reason, technology plays a huge role in my life, consuming is fun (yay shopping!), I can choose to reject or to follow grand narratives in society, copies are everywhere, and although complex, my life can be quite simple. I learned a lot from postmodernism, but it also left me with a lot of questions. Does anyone actually understand everything about this??
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