I’m pretty sure that Edvard Munch’s Modernist painting “The Scream” pretty much sums up the majority of our lives right about now. It definatley symbolizes how I’m feeling, thats for sure. As we discussed in class “The Scream” represents the anxiety of life we all feel, especailly after insistent reflection on life. Sounds like all of us after a global studies class, ya dig? You won’t find a better example of anxiety than a college campus. We’re all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. So what about this anxiety? We’ve all tossed around the term ‘the SLU bubble.’ What creates this bubble, that operates on many different levels? I would argue SLU is a perfect example of Post Modernist culture in the 21st century up close and personal.
We’ve discussed in class and further in my cafe disscussion group that post modernism is a leveling out of culture. Space has triumphed over time as Dr. Stoddard put it. We can see influences of all eras within our culture coinhabiting simultaneously. Because, we take something from everything (through technology and globalization) we have created a kind of depthlessness within our ‘culture.’ We are hardly creating anything anew but due to capitalization which drives us, we recreate the past and sell it for twice the price.
Can you see the effects of Post Modernism at SLU? I think its very apparant and can help explain alot of my ‘anxieties.’ A liberal arts education is supposed to develop well rounded students. But through becoming well rounded, learning bits of everything, are we really learning anything? Its a bit more of a stretch, but the same could be said of a globals studies education I hate to say. I’ll be the first to praise the global studies curriculum but due to its ‘interdisciplinary’ strategies, we run into the same problem. That which enhances the major and makes us well rounded (creating that aura of global studies exceptionalism -you know what I’m talking about) also levels out our education so much, we are left with hypothetically many options for employment, and at the same time none. If you graduate with a biology major, you know you can go to Med school or become a vet. What am I going to do?… work with a non-profit, somewhere abroad?? It’s kindof vague. Don’t get me wrong I love SLU and love the major, but I can see what Jameson and Harvey are writing about here.
Also, school is a contradictory. It is a wonderful opportunity but at the same time constrains us with rules and regulations. As we discussed in class, we do everything we can to beef up our resumes, to seem more experienced, but while doing so can’t take the time to really learn, think, or give our heart to any one passion. We spread ourselves way to thin. Due to standardized tests, major requirements, and distributions, like one little math class we are restricted from following our dreams. We come to school to be a doctor and end up majoring in sociology. This goes back to the idea of ISA’s Althusser writes about. We are controled by the very insitutions we create. I suppose that is another argument.
Our group also discussed how our generation experiences everything through mediums of technology. Post Modernism explains that new forms of technology are only concerned with reproduction, not with industiral production. Instead of going outside to paint a landscape, we can use our Iphone to take a picture with Instagram and add a preprogramed filter to make the photo seem artsy. This way everyone can view the landscape through their Iphone and through the filter and be so hipster (Side note- are hipsters perfect examples of Post Modernism? Pretending to be original, or are they?). We experience everything through mediums. We can see our family through skype and can recreate a whole version of ourselves through facebook. Through technology old culture is also recreated and remarketed. Our generation’s popular music scene consists of new artists mixing old popular songs and creating new singles. For example, Pitbull just released a new song “Back in Time” with the song “Love is Strange” by Mickey and Silvia made popular by Dirty Dancing. One lyric goes, “to understand the future, you have to look at the past.” Dirty Dancing was so popular, of course it would be a strategic marketing move to incorporate a song from the soundtrack into a Pitbull song. This example shows the stage of capitalism we are undergoing which drives Post Modernism.
[youtube zaSZE194D4I nolink]
Finally, a little pet peve of mine is in today’s society everyone is complacent. No one stands up for anything anymore. Post Modernism shows a flattening of personality. We blindly follow our leaders without questioning authority only concerned with being politcally correct. This goes along with the idea of false conciousness discussed in Marxist theory. We marry our Iphones and worship the internet, while our souls wither and we all become robots.