Wednesday, March 16, 2011
DeLillo Prophecy #1- Japan
White Noise, pg 66-67, published in 1984
"Japan is pretty good for disaster footage," Alphonse said. "India remains largely untapped. They have tremendous potential with their famines, monsoons, religious strife, train wrecks, boat-sinkings, et cetera. But their disasters tend to go unrecorded. Three lines in a newspaper. No film footage, no satellite hookup. This is why California is so important. We not only enjoy seeing them punished for their relaxed lifestyle and progressive social ideas but we know we're not missing anything. The cameras are right there. They're standing by. Nothing terrible escapes their scrutiny."
"You're saying it's more or less universal, to be fascinated by TV disasters."
"For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set. If a thing happens on television, we have every right to find it fascinating, whatever it is."
"I don't know whether to feel good or bad about learning that my experience is widely shared."
"Feel bad," he said.
"It's obvious," Lasher said. "We all feel bad. But we can enjoy it on that level."
It should also be noted that the Bhopal chemical disaster in India (leading to the deaths of over 10,000) took place months after the novel's publication.