Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The post-modern nightmare

To begin let us enjoy a wonderfully delicious, musical hors 'd'oeuvre to whet our appetite for the main meat of the discussion.

Ah, the post-modern nightmare. What is it and where is it in evidence? Well, it's far more insidious than you may think; we can see it in supermarkets (or malls to our Trans-Atlantic cousins) to local government offices, hotels to educational institutions and from the smallest cities to the largest metropolis'. Its apparent purpose is to keep us in a state of confusion and helplessness, bound to ask for help from an authority which is itself nowhere to be found.

Let us cast our minds away to find an example that many of us will have experienced. Ever been in a supermarket and, for some unexplained reason, they've changed the location of the cereal/fruit/snacks/toiletries aisle? But... whuh..weren't they here last week?! Why am I now looking at half-price DVDs when I should be undressing fatty snacks with my eyes? Perhaps I'll just find an assistant to point me in the right direction. Nope no sign, oh hang on!, there's one. You don't know you say? Yes, yes I know they've changed the location, sigh. Ad infinitum.

I've recently started University and you'd think that the institution would be organised and efficient, right? Sadly friends, no. The different blocks there are given letters, so you have A-block, B-block, etc. Easy-peasy. A few years ago they gave them names as well so you have Ely, Taff and Crawshay but bizarrely these names do not correspond to the letters of the block, so Ely is D-block, Crawshay is A-block and so on with no semblance of order. On top of this the buildings themselves are a veritable labyrinth where I have to leave bread crumb trails just to find my way out again. In fact, I'm sure that somewhere within the dusty corners of these buildings the bodies of former students who trusted in the logic of the architects and planners are wasting away into oblivion, perhaps even laying slain by the fabled Minotaur. Remaining true to form, when you seek out authority it is no easy task, and when it is found you'll more than likely be given useless directions, forwarded to another department and perhaps shot a patronising glance which makes you feel like you did after you'd peed your pants as a child - puzzled, helpless and a tad humiliated.

In all the places where the post-modern nightmare has taken hold you'll see hordes of puzzled and confused faces, all looking for the way and forgetting why they were there in the first place. Romero's films spring to mind here, he was on to something and was way ahead of his time with his 'Dead' series.

So, what's the moral? If there is one then perhaps it's just to be aware of what goes on around you. For, like propaganda, if you recognise the nature of the beast for what it is then it will cease to have its desired effect, i.e. to make you stop thinking, to give-up, to submit. Most important of all, maintain your sense of humour about it all :)

Rage Against The Machine you say? Well, why the devil not sir! Now, if I could just find it...


  1. Well said about being aware what's going on around! And the images to go along are perfecto!
    Some days it is a little difficult to dredge up a sense of humor, it's great when it's found though. :)

  2. Thank you for your compliments, you're so sweet. If we can't laugh at the absurdity of the world then it'll just drive us mad. :)