Douglas Coupland: Close Personal Friend


From The Video Librarian (November 11, 1996)

by Randy Pitman

(1996) 25 min. $195. Bullfrog Films. PPR. Color cover. ISBN: 1-56029- 651-8.

"Identity has become an entirely fluid issue," proclaims Douglas Coupland, the thirty-something Canadian author/guru (Microserfs, Polaroids from the Dead) who coined the term "Generation X." In Jennifer Cowan' s manic documentary (jarring imagery, discordant sounds, and blinking onscreen text are all presented at warp-speed), Coupland sits in a plastic (of course) interviewee's seat and pontificates on the discontinuity of our present lives. In our hurried-up society, our perceptions of time have altered, as has our sense of place, with many destinations in the world only a mouse click or two away. While aspects of the film are borderline pretentious (various male and female models wander and/or pose around the seated Coupland for "artistic" effect more than cogent social commentary), there's no gainsaying the fact that Coupland's take on contemporary society-while occasionally superficial- is often stimulating. When, for example, he postulates that twenty years from now the two main activities will be "going shopping" and "going to jail," we laugh...but it's uneasy laughter, since without explicitly stating the issue, Coupland has summed up our fears about the widening gulf between the haves and have-nots in a society where every month is like Christmas, new technology-wise. A witty and often engaging pensče on what happens to the mind, body, and soul of the individual in an accelerating and rapidly changing culture. Recommended. Aud: H, C, P. (R. Pitman).