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Weiye Loh

Paris Review - Falling Men: On Don DeLillo and Terror, Chris Cumming - 0 views

  • inexplicable violence committed by a nobody in the context of ubiquitous media coverage. A mountain of evidence, testimony, and theory that hides the event itself. Images of the event endlessly replayed. An imbalance between the significance of the act and the insignificance of the person who committed it. Absurdity, in other words.
  • By introducing conspiracy and chaos into the world, a terrorist hopes to make himself equal to the overwhelming world surrounding him. The idea isn’t to change history but to enact one’s dream life. The person who blows up the Boston marathon instantly becomes the equal of his act. What other mythic ambition can a loser instantly achieve, just by deciding to do it? “In America it is the individual himself, floating on random streams of disaffection, who tends to set the terms of the absurd,” DeLillo wrote. “Set the terms” is right: an individual terrorist creates the absurdity in which the rest of us have to live. Whether or not Oswald or the Tsarnaevs achieved what they hoped they would achieve, their dream lives now overlap with reality. Violence gives weight to the meaningless. “This is what guns are for, to bring balance to the world,” DeLillo wrote, speaking, once again, of Oswald.
    "Long before it became obvious, DeLillo argued that terrorists and gunmen have rearranged our sense of reality. He has become better appreciated as the world has come to resemble his work, incrementally, with every new telegenic catastrophe, every bombing and mass shooting. Throughout DeLillo's work we encounter young men who plot violence to escape the plotlessness of their own lives. He has done more than any writer since Dostoevsky to explain them."
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