John Adam’s opera Dr. Atomic is about the history of Robert Oppenheimer and others who participated in the famous 1940’s Manhattan project, to create the atomic bomb. Dr. Atomic is set in Los Amos in New Mexico hours before the test-firing of the first atomic bomb. Postmodernism is the movement in literature, visual arts, music and drama which rejected the Victorian standards of how art should be made, consumed and meant (Heartney 1). Dr. Atomic has different aspects of opera that have differed from the Victorian standards making it postmodern. A key characteristic of postmodernism is that morality is relative. The moral and ethical implication of the opera is diminished by the libretto’s obsessing over trivial and self-absorbed dialogue if some of the characters including Oppenheimer and the military characters. This was probably to show the inhumanity that existed. This is achieved through the downplaying the characters’ attention to the serious casualties and destructive implications the bomb will have.
The movie Dr. Strangelove is about the public management concern in the sixties about the possibility of unintended nuclear war which was to occur in the context of a cold war between NATO and the Soviet Union. It has been termed as the ultimate satire of the nuclear age. Satire has been greatly used in the movie to communicate the need of ethical reforms and also highlight the evils that were present. One main characteristic of satire is the use of irony. Irony has been used on many aspects of the movie. For example, in the scene where there is the final collage of nuclear bombs exploding, there is the song ‘we will meet again’ which is an iconic song of the world war two. It is ironical in the sense that in the event of a nuclear war, we would not be able to see each other again.
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer knew that what he had just accomplished was going to have a disastrous effect on the lives of many people in the world. This was after the test code-named trinity had exploded; this was the first nuclear explosion. Dr. Oppenheimer was incriminating himself of a terrible invention that would lead to the deaths of many in the world. After witnessing the first nuclear explosion he quoted the Bhagavad Gita by stating that he had become death and the destroyer of worlds. This quote was to convey the destructiveness of the nuclear weapon which he took part in its invention. Dr. Oppenheimer knew that such an undertaking was going to be hard on his heart. He was probably dispirited with the continuous invention of nuclear weapons that would destroy many cities. He quoted the Bhagavad Gita to show that his actions were as a result of his duty, fate and against his faith. He used the Gita as an anodyne for the pangs of conscience. Oppenheimer believed that nuclear scientists should shun ideas that would bring destruction but rather act selflessly and effectively in the world.
Waist training or tight lacing is the gradual process of reducing the waist size through the use of a custom steel boned corset. The practice came to prominence during the Victorian times but has made a comeback in recent times. Corsets during this era were used to change the appearance of women’s bodies. People also used to defend chastity with the use of corsets during this period. The wearing of the tight-lacing corset was used to drastically reduce the waist size of women, this explains its popularity. On the other hand, it caused damage to women’s bodies. Some of these damages included chafing, pain and aches. Social construction states that anything that has meaning in life originates from the matrix of relationship people are engaged in (Berger et al. 3). Social constructs are also the products of human choices. In Victorian times, women used corsets because they chose so as to have better appearances. It was also a period that corsets defined chastity and hence the popularity despite the damaging effects. To sustain better relationships between the married and unmarried, corsets had to be worn to avoid the tensions and frictions that may arise.
Using postmodernism, the artistic impression of the young man’s tattoo could mean the disillusionment with the modern way of thinking. Postmodernists challenge the conventional way of thinking and operating. The young man’s tattoo is an impression of a different way of thinking as it may be considered as a scary tattoo to be drawn on a person’s head. It shows a man defying the accepted codes and standards of behavior. It also shows what the young man views as morally right as compared to the known moral behaviors. The tattoo could also be used to show extremism in the part of the youth given the graphic images and the ring on his nose.
Berger, Peter L, and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1966. Print.
Heartney, Eleanor. Postmodernism. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.