Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Postmodern Professor

It takes balls to walk in a classroom and teach a bunch of theory on postmodernism, to a group of students who are most likely hung over from the prior evening's festivities. Dr. David Gudelunas of the Communications department at Fairfield University does just that.

As a fellow avid-blogger, I agree with Gudelunas' point that weblogs are revolutionizing man's sense of community. He believes this trend of social networking is a rebellion to the one-way "traditional" means of media control; which is true because blog-keepers are now able to dictate what's "cool" alongside with the old white men sitting atop a corporate building. If my blog had a large readership, I could start posting about how neon silk shirts are "in." And to me, that would be "cool" and other people have the option of supporting my stance on blinding fashion.

Gudelunas brings to the table 6 points of postmodernism in which he relates it to the world of blogging. I will use the college student favorites such as Facebook or MySpace -- webpages updated frequently by the author, profiling his/her lifestyle and other volunteered information, as a standard of comparison.
  1. A Semiotics of Excess or Endless Circulation - the blogosphere is one huge network linked together. His point makes great sense because the social networking sites allow users to "link up" with one another. And as a true example, I have friends on both sites that are currently residing in Florence, Italy and other parts of the world. I like being able to keep up with what he/she is doing and the feeling is mutual.
  2. Intertextuality and Hyper-Consciousness - references to other productions (such as a television show making mention of another television show). In this particular case, I find that it's very easy and useful to link to another blog, such as the one Gudelunas maintains himself.
  3. Bricolage and Pastiche - everything is built upon by smaller fragments and put together to form something more grandiose (think: puzzle board). His point is 100% correct because if there were only 1 person registered on MySpace, that site would be considered a flop. Instead, millions of teenagers, adults, bands, etc. nationwide are toying with it. And I actually joined MySpace because I wanted to network with my Staples co-workers. I had no intention of networking with other non-Staples people. That quickly failed as those who knew me from college, high school, etc. added me to their own social network; thus piecing together this "puzzle board."
  4. The Triumph of Style - Gudelunas cites this as visual and audio aesthetics taking priority over actual content. I admit (and I'm sure most do this too) that I mull over which picture to put up for my online profiles. My own random musings: Is my hair perfectly spiked that day? Are my teeth not white enough in this picture?
  5. Simulacra - a "simulation" of real-life; creativity as a product of one's imagination. Being the 6'8" Italian stud that I am, my girlfriend Natalie Portman agrees that it's been very easy to make stuff up--especially with the power that blogging offers.
  6. Crisis of Referent - blogs are digital soapboxes that allow individual voices to be heard--at a cost. As a journalist, I've always been taught that there is always more than one side to any story. I've often used other sources' material as a foundation for myself to voice my opinion. Whether I'm supporting or arguing it, blogging adds a new dimension to one's Freedom of Speech. Heck, I feel that blogging is actually a better way to voice concerns and contribute to society than to cast a ballot with our flawed electoral college.
As someone who has taken Gudelunas before, it was more than a pleasure to hear him at the front of a classroom once again. Sure, he threw theory at us (and that probably lost a couple people along the way). My only question is: why isn't he teaching this turbo, too?


At 1:26 AM, March 08, 2006, Blogger David Gudelunas said...

Thanks for having my back James!


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