“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

by ideentoudehfallah

Time. What is time? Is time simply the interval between your date of birth and your date of death? What do we do with our time? How do we know that our use of time is better than everyone else’s use of time? Why do we waste the little time we’re given, time after time? What can actually be classified as a waste of time? What is “efficient time”? Douglas Coupland’s central theme of time in his novel JPod allows his work to be portrayed as a fiction that is nothing short of a satirical masterpiece raising the pressing issues of modern culture.

JPod, a novel about a group of video-game programmers who are assigned to a project based on the beginning letter of their last names, is a book that relates to much of modern life. In a society that is becoming increasingly more digitalized, the JPod’ers spend most of their time doing activities that are completely irrelevant to the task at hand.

JPod is a novel that does a prestine job of making an example of the reader. By having you search through 23 pages of pi for a “zero” that has been replaced by a “capitalized letter O” (407), you become fully submerged in a novel that plays with the perception of time. You may choose to obey Couplands demands as a writer, or you may choose to skip the parts that you believe are a waste of time. This is an exemplification of the modern digital world; A world that spends so much time “scouring the Internet, finding stuff” (111). We only choose to read what we believe is important and is not a waste of time, and can easily skip over anything that doesn’t pique our interest. The irony in all this, as Coupland showcases through his periodical interruptions throughout the book, is that we waste even more time accessing useless information because of the wide variety of choices we are given. Coupland plays on this idea by dedicating some pages to things we perceive as boring and pointless (such as 41 pages of pi), which we choose to skip over, and some things we perceive as entertainment such as the narratives on the front and back two pages of the book, which we choose to read. Both inserts are a way of making an example of the reader.

Coupland also plays on another hot topic in modern culture, and that is the things that rule modern life. By inserting Ronald McDonald as a character of their game, a man they believed to be the mascot of “the taint” (50), Coupland explains to us that our lives are being shaped by superstructures and corporate symbolism. As much as we wish to veer away from it, we can all relate to these symbols and have some sort of history with them. We are fully under the control of the corporate world.

JPod’s satirical nature masterfully opens our eyes to the pressing issues of modern culture.
500 Words


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