The Age of Google: A Comedic Approach

by willspeterson

Douglas Coupland’s Jpod is a novel that focuses on a few nerds that work for a Vancouver videogame company, based on the giant, Electronic Arts. The story follows Ethan Jarlewski and his friends whose last names all start with the letter J, trying to successfully sabotage a video game after the original idea was scrapped. Coupland employs the use of comedy and satire to drive the plot, which he uses to comment on society. The publisher seems to be lax, (or understanding) as many pages seem to be completely separate from the book itself, full pages devoted to the nutritional information of Doritos, or an advertisement for Nicole Kiddman. Indeed, the story is nonsensical with its overly simple characters and erratic plotline, so much so that one might bypass much of the book in its totality, like the selective attention spans that Coupland is mocking.   The decision to set JPod in a specific place is unclear, as the story could have taken place in any place in the Western World. It is understandable given the emphasis on allusions, which are needed to emulate consumerist Western culture.

The book attempts to recreate the impact of Google on the millennial generation, by using technology savvy individuals, a smart choice, considering the amount of usage Google receives by IT professionals and similar peoples (the vast of troubleshooting problems is solved by a simple search on Google). Furthermore, Google is the most popular website in the world so his point is valid. The problem is he is not in agreement with himself; it is unclear as to whether he is being critical of Google or if he accepts for what it has become. It could be both, but without a clear distinction, the end result is convoluted.

Jpod is full of comedy, and is relevant in today’s environment, but it is easy to get sidetracked by the books endless amount of “commercials” and sporadic plot. It is a decent read, if only for its comedy.

World Count: 333


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