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My Postmodern Life

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Liam Vickers

on 16 January 2014

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Transcript of My Postmodern Life

My Postmodern Life

Liam Vickers
After several long nights of extensive, never ending research,
I had finally realized,
That this project was going to be harder than I thought...
But 24 pages of Cornell Notes Later,
It was confirmed; My life is just about as postmodern as it gets.
With a very small grasp on the concept of Postmodernism, I took to the books, and gave it my all.
If I Was A Circle, I Would Be Well-Rounded
(Pastiche)
Some know me as a pilot, others know me as a rower, the odd person here and there knows me as a musician, and the list goes on and on. It is easily said that I am one of the most diverse people anyone could ever have the pleasure of meeting, which goes to show that my life is full of pastiche. I am considered an athlete among my peers, since I am a rower (and not half bad either), a runner, a football player, a soccer player, and a gym rat. If anyone knew me at all, they would know that I'm not just an athlete, but I am in fact the whole package. It may not seem like it, but this rower right here is also a very successful cadet. Yes, that is correct, I am a pilot, not to brag or anything. Every weekend, I am out at the airport flying until the sun goes down, then I go home, where I juggle all of my other activities. When people tell me that they have too much work to do, I just laugh. I am a pilot, a lifeguard, an athlete, a musician, a cook, a dishwasher, an honour student, a member of student council, and a pretty funny guy overall. If my life is not the perfect example of Pastiche, I do not know what is.
I Row
Home Is Where The Hangar Is
I Do That!
And that... Kind of.
So Much Work, So Little Time (Maximalism)
Lets say that my life is a bucket. If I were to take all the things that I do, and put them inside that bucket, the bucket would be spilling all over the place. What I am trying to say is that I do quite a large sum of work compared to the average teenager, but to me, it just seems like the normal thing to do. This is a good example of maximalism; I do so much work, it seems like nothing at all to me. I am constantly being pushed and tested, so I have just simply adapted to that, and made my lifestyle full of pushing and testing. I will give you a rundown of an average Monday for me, just to make sure my point is getting through. I wake up, go to rowing, go to school, student council meeting at lunch, more school, get home, do homework, go to cadets, come home, and bedtime. There is pretty much no time in my day to socialize or relax, and that is the way I like it. I feel that if I do not take breaks now, I will be rewarded later in life. Even though I would rather sit at home eating Doritos and watching Doctor Who, I know that if I get ahead now, I will be the one who comes out on top. I am very maximalistic towards any sort of work, since I do so much of it already, it just seems like the ordinary thing to do.
Metanarratives
" Postmodernism 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). There is a long list of grand narratives in not only my life, but almost everyone else. The internet is everywhere, and without the internet, the world would not be where it is today. Along with internet, science is a pretty obvious metanarrative as well...
The Internet
Science
Now while some may not think the internet is not something that should really influence someone's life so much, the sad truth is that it does. Even if you do not go home and tweet all night, or sit on the computer watching Youtube videos, the internet is still everywhere around us. The other day, I was in the library, and a person asked why we still have school, since anything and everything we could ever need to know is already in the palms of our hands, or within walking distance from us. If someone were to tell me that I could know everything there is to know in my hand a few years ago, I would have quit school when I had the chance. I guess now I may as well finish what I started. The internet could replace the school system entirely, and we all just sit there on our iPhones, learning Pascals Triangle online or something like that. Along with that, with the click of a button, I can talk to my cousins who live in London, England. The internet is without a doubt one of the most powerful things on Earth, and it is easily accessible by most people.
"The nature of knowledge cannot survive unchanged within this context of general transformation. It can fit into the new channels, and become operational, only if learning in translated into quantities of information. We can predict that anything in the consulted body of knowledge that is not translatable in this way will be abandoned that the direction of new research will be dictated by the possibility of its eventual results being translatable into computer language." (Lyotard 1979). Lyotard is explaining here that unless we document information onto a computer, that information will be forgotten, since we are now becoming a knowledge based society.
Internet is great and all, sure. But what is the structure of the world as we know it? Science. Of course you can go and look up how the earth does not get too close to the sun, but somewhere down the line, before internet, someone figured out science. Science is basically just curiosity, someone wants to know how to do something, so they go and find out how something happens. Without science, the entire universe is just one big question without answers. It is specifically important to me, since I am a pilot. In aviation, there is a lot of physics that gets involved, and physics is a sure thing, since it is generally all math and calculations. Along with Physics, Biology is another part of science that influences everyone. Without Biology, I would not know how I perform basic daily tasks. Also, the knowledge of Biology has saved many lives, whether it is from the discovery of medication, or just from knowing how the human body works. Science has and will continue to be a major part of my life.
Real men wear Cologne (Consumerism)
What Makes Liam Vickers
So Postmodern?
Grand Narratives:
Internet
Science
7 Elements Of Postmodernism:
Black Humour
Maximalism
Consumerism
Paranoia
Technoculture
Hyperreality
Pastiche
Kinda Feels Like Deja Vu (Paranoia)
Poor Sportsmanship (Technoculture)
I'm A Pilot (Hyperreality)
Family Guy (Black Humour)
Real life is great and all, but sometimes its nice to escape reality for a little while. No, nothing too brilliant, just the odd video game here and there. Well, not really games, so much as a nice ten thousand dollar flight simulator. Every now and again, I hop on, go for a flight over the Niagara Peninsula in my little Cesna172. "In a Postmodern society, there are no originals, only copies" (Klages 2007). When I say that I am flying over the Niagara Peninsula, I am creating a simulation of reality, or a copy, as Mary Klages puts it. My simulation has replaced the actual experience of going out to the airport and actually taking a flight in a Cesna172. There are both pros and cons to the simulation. Since I am only a glider pilot, I cannot fly during the cold winter months, since I do not have an engine in my aircraft. The simulator still lets me get my training in as normal, that way I do not have to go four months without touching a control column. Also, If it is a bad weather day, and I am only going to fly for a nice little cruise to get some experience, I can just use the flight simulator as an alternative. There is no risk whatsoever when a person simulates reality, whereas in reality, you have one chance to succeed. Although Simulations are safer and more convenient, it does not actually get you anywhere, unlike in reality. On a simulator, anyone can be a pilot. In an aircraft, very few can actually fly the plane properly, but when that plane lifts off the ground, it is the best feeling in the world, knowing that the 2000lb piece of metal that you are in is under your control. Simulations may be safer and more convenient, but Reality is where the magic happens.
Every time I go to the bank and check my account balance, I find that someone has been taking my money... It cannot be me, since I only spend money on the necessities, and those rarely come up. Alright, maybe I like to go and get something to eat every now and then, or pick up some nice new clothes, but let's be honest, who doesn't? Consumption is a fight that rarely loses due to the needs that people think they can only fulfill by consuming products. "Consumerism becomes a process of self-identification, where people develop a sense of who they are and what they want to become through consumption" (Jessup 2001). In this quote, Jessup is explaining to his reader that a person buys products that do not fit their identity, but fit the identity that the person wants. Pretty much, if you want to be like someone, you would simply buy the clothes, accessories, or fragrant that they wear. For Christmas, I asked for a sixty dollar bottle of Marc Jacobs "Bang", which is a magnificent cologne, in my opinion. The only reason I like it is because it is the cologne that my dad wears whenever he comes down to visit from Trenton. Postmodernism has taught me that I want to be just like my dad, who is currently working in the Air Force. I wear the cologne as a process of self-identification, so I can develop a sense of who I am. "Consumerism is kindled not when needs for specific objects are created and consumed, but rather when the need to need, the desire to desire is manifested." (Jessup 2001).
Bang! by Marc Jacobs
I have many different routines for different events, and I cannot perform to the best of my ability unless I know that those routines are finished. Whether it is a pre-flight inspection, a warm-up before a regatta, or even simply getting up in the morning, it is all consistent. Everyday, I start by waking up, putting on workout clothes, going to rowing, working out, shower, have breakfast, go to class, have lunch, go to class again, go home, do homework, and then sleep. "The real is produced from miniaturized units, memory banks and command models - and these can be reproduced an indefinite number of times... It's nothing more than operational" (Baudrillard 1988). According to Baudrillard, I am not even considered real, since I do the same exact thing everyday. As a result of Paranoia, I subconsciously do the same thing over and over without thinking, passing every day the same way.
As you know, Black Humour is humour found in dark subject matters, such as death, sex, racism, and so on. What you probably do not know is that I was raised on solely black humour, and without it, I would not be the person that I am today. Before I was eight years old, I was watching Family Guy, and enjoying every minute of it (Cannot say the same for my mom)! I immediately noticed, even at such a young age, that the jokes in the show were very dark, and I had never heard this type of humour before... I loved it. In the thirty second video below, there are two examples of black humour. The first is challenging death, because Super Death comes out and tells Death that he is dead. The second shows racism, because Death is reincarnated into an asian baby, but immediately comes back. This means that it was a female asian baby, and they kill the female babies immediately, so Death comes right back, and everything is back to normal. As a result of being exposed to dark humour at a young age, my sense of humour has matured greatly, however I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad...
My Desktop Flight Simulator (Free)
High Quality Flight Simulator($10,000)
A Nice Shot From Above
...
Family Guy- Super Death
Internet
Conclusion
"Winning the Olympics in the cyborg era isn't just about running fast. It's about the interaction of medicine, diet, training practices, clothing and equipment manufacture, visualization and timekeeping" (Kunzru 1997). I read this quote, and it immediately stuck out. When I did track and field last year, I ran the 800 meter sprint wearing some three hundred dollar cleats, along with a nice West Park uniform. When I approached the starting line, I was blown away by all these Dennis Morris athletes who were wearing normal gym clothes. It frustrated me to see this, because I knew that once I ran laps around them, I would hear that I only won because I have nice equipment. Kunzru explains that as we have moved from the industrial age and into the information age, everything has changed. He uses the Olympics as an example of how technology has impacted running. It is not about who can run the fastest, it's all about who has more money. With more money, you can invest in some now equipment, the more money you have, the better your equipment is going to be. It does not matter if the race is Usain Bolt against Micheal Moore, if Micheal Moore has enough money, he can get the equipment and training that he needs in order to beat Usain. In this day and age, nothing is not for sale. It does not matter if an athlete is or is not taking performance enhancing drugs, but with the equipment that is being used, they may as well be, it will not make a difference. Kunzru brings up a good point, and if we want to make races fair from now on, give all athletes the same equipment to use, that way it is all about skill rather than who has the cooler shoes.
VS.
Works Cited
Kunzru, Hari. “You are a cyborg”. Microsoft Word File.

Klages, Mary. “Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed”.
2007. Microsoft Word File.

Jessup, Michael. “Truth: The First Casualty of Postmodern
Consumerism”. 2001. Microsoft Word File.

Felluga, Dino. “Jean Baudrillard on Postmodernity”. Microsoft Word File.

Baudrillard, Jean. "Simulacra and Simulations". 1988. Microsoft Word File.

After what feels like decades spent on studying Postmodernism, I am happy to say that I have learned and come to the realization that I do in fact have a very postmodern life. There is a little bit of everything, from black humour, to pastiche, to Paranoia, and the list goes on. Whether I am flying in my glider, working out at the gym, doing homework, or whatever else may fill my time, It's always going to be in the back of my head, that I am postmodern.
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