Douglas Coupland: www.coupland.com Douglas Coupland SFU Art / Literature Display Telling Examples of his Books Read Twice God & Man: Can a modern man believe? By Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Karen Ann: the Quinlans Tell Their Story. Age of Extremes: the Short 20th Century By Eric Hobsbawm Slouching Towards Bethlehem Joan Didion
Douglas Coupland: Duality An icon of surrender and prayer: seen on the wall of a nondenominational chapel in an American airport A sign of Faith Douglas Coupland: Duality Faith = Doubt DUALITY: one idea, complementary aspects Dualism = non-monist = non-absolutist NOT Binary
NOT this is all there is; there is only this. Non-absolutist: openness to possibility of error balance of opposites harmony of sensibilities dialectical energy & movement possible humility Douglas Coupland, Vision: Duality & Uncertainty Absolutism = Certainty Certainty is closed: closed-mindedness leads to arrogance: a sense of superiority & separation from fellowhuman beings.
Hey Nostradamus: Fundamentalism dramatised. Uncertainty principle Uncertainty is an openness to the lives and ideas of others: Inter-connection Harmonisation Unity of difference Inclusiveness SIDEBAR: Dialectic vs Binary Binary Us & Them Either-Or
Right & Wrong Us right; you wrong Dialectic Absolute Final Certainty Implied Intolerance No middle ground Annihilation.
Implied humility: (two sides to a story) Possible unknowns Possible errors Relativedifferent ideas partner yours Progress-Process Doubt
Co-existence Suggests a via media SIDEBAR: Dialogism Dialogism is dialectic-within-fiction Heteroglossiamultiplicity of voices Dialogue between points of view Dialogue orbits around a central idea / theme High demand on the reader to engage with a solution or determinate position Author makes room for the reader to engage
Author is present but not dominant (i.e. a novel is not open-ended / unbounded) Douglas Coupland: Uncertainty principle Certainty & absolutism promotes cynicism "I am the most uncynical person on Earth," he says, earnestly. "I'm ironic. I admit that. I'm Joe Irony. But people confuse irony with cynicism, which is like battery acid. It just wrecks everything." [2000 interview] Is that cynical? I hope not. Hey Nostradamus! 243. Jason, thats cynical & simply not true. Hey Nostradamus! 178.
Cynicism & Irony: definition Cynicism: OED: person disposed to rail or find fault; now usually: One who shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasms; a sneering fault-finder. Coupland: Cynicism in Irony turned to Pride. Gratuitous animal reference: cynic Gr. dog Cynicism & Irony: definition Irony: Difference between what is said, or shown, and what is meant.
Distance between: Statement & Intention Promise & Action Appearance & Reality Irony = Insincerity Antonymor cure is sincerity or authenticity Literary mode is Confession Hey Nostradamus! is a work of art designed to heal (c.f. books conclusion) cynical aspect to Gen X culture:
Cynicism a legacy of Cool Coupland made his name (Generation X) as the prophet of Cool. Cool = Ironic = Insincere Coupland: Destabilisation, cont How can uncertainty be brought about? Destabilisation A literary technique:
defy readers expectations shock pieties of the culture invert the expected exalt the lowly look for depth in the shallows of pop culture Coupland Accomplishes destabilisation by: An uncertain narrative stance uncertain identity uncertain unity Uncertain point of view Coupland: Destabilisation Symptoms of a
Questioning Seeking Reconfiguring Inclusion Openness Coupland Pop Culture Couplands milieu in literature, visual art, film is pop culture: Shallow, plastic, hollow: a realm of simulacra.
Purpose? Search for meaning, the deep-in-the shallow; the meaningin-the-emptiness Pop Culture icon: Paris Hilton Polemicist Christopher Hitchens And now here I go, clearing my throat. before deciding to do something I would have never believed I would do, and choosing to write about Paris Hilton. Choosing to write about her, furthermore, not just as if she were some metaphor or signifier, but as a subject
in herself. Couplands insight precisely: find worth and humanity in the mere icon or symbol. Paris Hilton says God has given her a new chance By Michelle Nichols Reuters Monday, June 11, 2007; 12:39 PM NEW YORK (Reuters) Imprisoned hotel heiress Paris Hilton has said she believes God has given her a new chance and she plans to stop acting dumb and put her influence to good use. Destabilisation: Tension of Opposites
Belief in God is something that's innate in people," he says. Even if you took a group of babies and raised them on a desert island without ever once indoctrinating them about religion, they would probably arrive at monotheism anyway." [Douglas Coupland, 2000] -------------------------------------- God is Nowhere / God is Now Here --------------------------------------
Life After God Life now God is Nowhere? Life chasing God? (i.e. the cat is after that mouse again What is Hey Nostradamus! About? An Un-Cool question ;--) A set of alternative interpretations A dialectical arrangement of possible perspectives on the text
Lower Mainland life & culture? Protestantism in (post-)modern culture? The presence of the Numinous in (post-) modern culture? 41. 244. Limitations of Materialism (233) Meditation on ways of livingapproaches to an improved modern culture. 241, 181. The Noumenal The Phenomenal perceptible by the senses sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing sense impressions
(phenomena,) in the mind, of external objects. (Nb: not the objects themselves.) phenomenal words include: bright and dark aromatic and stinky bitter and tart painful and pleasurable loud and quiet The Noumenal perception independent of the senses. sensations and experiences in the mind (Gr. Nous = noumenon.) philosophers ancient (Plato) & modern (Kant) and the
Romanticism Movement assert the noumenal. noumenal terms include: Joy Bliss Love Melancholia-Depression Axioms in logic & math The Noumenal: case of logic & axioms MODUS PONENS A=B and B=C: THEREFORE _____? The therefore is not a phenomenon: it is not something found in the world like the height of a tree it is not something you learn by experience
A=C! is a sensation in-the-mind: inference All axioms (e.g. A=A) are noumenal: mind. Dante Alighieri (1265 1321): The Divine Comedy Divine Comedy: quadripartite universe Christopher Marlowe: 1564-1593 The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Faustus. And what are you that you live with Lucifer? Mephistopheles. Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer, Conspird against our God
with Lucifer, And are for ever damnd with Lucifer. Faust. Where are you damnd? Mephistopheles. In Hell. Faust. How comes it then that thou art now out of Hell? Mephistopheles. Why this is Hell, nor am I out of it. John Milton, 1608-1674 Paradise Lost Farewell, happy fields, Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors! Hail! Infernal World! and thou, profoundest Hell, Receive thy new possessorone who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. What matter where, if I be still the same? Couplands Literary Quality p.14: .being in this new placethe world is pulling away from me, losing its capacity to hurt. p.23: how distanced from the world Im feeling nowhow quickly the world is pulling away. Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Deaths Jest Book.
(1850). Can a man die? Ay, as the sun doth set: it is the Earth that falls away from the light. Homage by Canadian poet Margaret Avision.
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