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I had this babysitter named Bernice who also was the postmistress of our wind swept Kansas town My mom would drop me off at the post office which I m pretty sure using the post office as a day care may have been against regulation, but this was small town America Bernice was ultra religious and obsessed with death She had me convinced that she had a pact with GOD that when her time came she would ascend on a cloud in the same manner as Jesus Christ She told me if I prayed fervently I too would receive this magnanimous non death and get my own cloud ride to heaven It was only a matter of weeks later that I robbed the post office My first felony at 4 Bernice was taking an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom and while she was distracted I filled my pockets with every coin from the wooden box cash register and walked the 1 4 of mile home to my house I was building a town on the kitchen table a church cathedral ,post office, gas station, and grocery store, all the buildings I knew existed in my rather constricted universe My building material was these wonderful cylindrical metal pieces that I had liberated from the post office image error [[ E-pub ]] ↯ White Noise ↲ A Brilliant Satire Of Mass Culture And The Numbing Effects Of Technology, White Noise Tells The Story Of Jack Gladney, A Teacher Of Hitler Studies At A Liberal Arts College In Middle America Jack And His Fourth Wife, Babette, Bound By Their Love, Fear Of Death, And Four Ultramodern Offspring, Navigate The Rocky Passages Of Family Life To The Background Babble Of Brand Name Consumerism Then A Lethal Black Chemical Cloud, Unleashed By An Industrial Accident, Floats Over Their Lives, An Airborne Toxic Event That Is A Urgent And Visible Version Of The White Noise Engulfing The Gladneys The Radio Transmissions, Sirens, Microwaves, And TV Murmurings That Constitute The Music Of American Magic And Dread SoI finally read this..enjoyed it I found myself comparing this book to a new family TV series with Eugene Levy called Schitt s Creek The most entertaining FUNNY show, I ve seen in years The dialogue is hilarious in both White Noise and Schitt s Creek between the parents and kids Jack Gladney s friend, Murray cracked me up He reminded me of one of the characters on Schitt s Creek Most of this book was comical to me From the beginning I was shaking my head What REALLY Jack has been married 4 times What woman in their right mind would marry a man who has been married 3 times before her Jack s wife, Babette, had to be a little bonkers to marry Jack Reading for the blind was a perfect job for her she could relate to blindness first hand It was also funny that Jack worried about not being able the speak German even though he created a special program at the college where he teaches on Hitler studies Funny lines page after page Did I read this book right Was it ok to laugh as much as I did I mean I know there seemed to be so much fear of death.but somehow I found itcomical than serious I thought it was an easy FUN READ a mild satire fear of death, digital frontier justice, capitalism capitalist bashing in sorts.consumerism.Love the wise ass savvy hip kidsPreposterous Fun DeLillo professionals did I read it wrong Ooh look It s a can Looks like it might have worms inside Let s open it up again Updated i.e final review March 30th, 2008 So I had read three quarters of this and decided to chuck it, but last night my compulsive side won over, and I went ahead and finished it I still can t wrap my mind around the notion that I should somehow regard it as a great book of the 20th century , and none of the 19 comments in this thread to date really addresses why I should So, I am asking for enlightenment.To sum up my three main difficulties with the book a dialog that is clunky to the point of unreadability It s so dreadful that I m quite willing to believe it s deliberately implausible But assuming it s not just laziness and a tin ear why would an author make such a choice What s the point Giving DeLillo the benefit of the doubt, and assuming he could have written believable dialog, what is the point of not using his gifts to the best of his ability, instead irritating the reader with substandard rubbishy conversations that draw attention to their own lack of believability b satire whose effect is similar to assaulting the reader with a blunt instrument Whether it s the repeated use of such tired and obvious devices as the random scattering of consumer product names throughout the text, or having his protagonist lead the department of Hitler Studies , there s nothing remotely smart about it This kind of heavy handed bludgeoning is the hallmark of a very inferior writer It insults the intelligence Authors are generally praised for demonstrating subtlety and wit why should DeLillo be given a pass c The lousy dialog is symptomatic of a related problem the characters are thinly developed, cartoonishly described, to the point of caricature Not to mention aspects of the plot that don t even bother to approximate reality did you know that just rolling up your car window will create a hermetic seal, preventing any and all gas exchange with the outside world Again, hardly qualities we associate with good writing.So I m left with the question why is DeLillo given a pass At best, if one believes he is capable of writing well in this book he s being incredibly lazy and just phoning it in Another possibility is that he s genuinely incompetent and actually mistakes his cartoonish efforts here for genuine wit Either way, why should he be held to a lower critical standard Because that s what seems to happen with this book People acknowledge that it is poorly written, with characters that border on caricature, that it s hard to read, then go ahead and give it 4 or 5 stars anyway Why my original comments start hereOK I m 50 pages into this award winning effort and there s something I just don t get Why is this book stuffed with such gratingly implausible dialog throughout It s so unspeakably bad, I have to think it s deliberate But why What would be the point DeLillo has already made the questionable choice to filter the entire story through the voice of a first person narrator who was already irritating by page 2 and isn t getting anylikeable If none of the characters has a believable voice, why should I read on entered as supporting evidenceI ve bought these peanuts before They re round, cubical, pockmarked, seamed Broken peanuts A lot of dust at the bottom of the jar But they taste good Most of all I like the packages themselves You were right, Jack This is the last avant garde Bold new forms The power to shock Your wife s hair is a living wonder Yes, it is She has important hair I think I know what you mean Whatever s best for you I want you to choose It s sexier that way One person chooses, the other reads Don t we want a balance, a sort of give and take Isn t that what makes it sexy A tautness, a suspense First rate I will choose There s not a human being on the planet who would say the boldfaced stuff Ever Further examples evenegregious can be found famously in B.R Myers s A Reader s Manifesto So why does this not bother all you readers who gave 5 stars to this book Just askin It s like how my mom still calls me if there is bad weather nearby, or if I m out driving on a holiday where the roads could be filled with people who had too much to drink It s like when the grocery store parking lots stay full when snow is on the way because people think they may be stuck inside their house forever.It s like how the news can report on how Coke can kill you so you start drinking Diet Coke, but then the artificial sweetener can give you cancer so you try to just drink water, but there could be bacteria in it unless you use a filter.I loved this book.It took me a long time to read it, not because I didn t like it, but because I wanted to savor it, take my time with it, underline quotes, let the dialogue marinate a little bit.So, I should tell you that you can t go into the book looking for a thriller or an apocalyptic dystopian novel The plot isn t going to suck you in and keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next It s the conversations between the characters, the wonderful way the sentences are structured, the jump from one scene to another, the commentary behind it all That s what you re getting into.The book hits on death, the media, fear, consumerism, andIt was written a little while ago, but it didn t seem all that dated to me From the first few pages I knew I had stumbled upon something special Halfway through I was ready to tell the world to read it At the end, I put the book down on my lap, put my hands up to the sides of my head, fingertips pressed gently into my hair, then pulled my hands away while making the sound of an explosion quietly with my lips My mind was blown. Reading White Noise by Don DeLillo is the literary equivalent of 18 paranoid hours of non stop channel surfing while chain smoking and nursing a migraine in a smoggy, over crowded city On meth.Do you want to know why this is one of the most important books of the 20th century Because it s a good example of the postmodern simulacra, absurdist philosophy that plagued the latter half of the 20th century and still plagues us today I felt bleak and empty for several days after reading this book, and I m still recovering.It had a lot of potential It could have been a great commentary on life in a media saturated society that worships safety and bright colors in the temples of grocery stores, a society that will suffocate in the toxic by products of its own vain materialistic pleasures, conveniences and distractions But a great commentary would have been too meaningful and after all, this is the age of negation and disorder wherein everything is turned inside out, and to live fully without fear is to kill freely without hesitation This is the age of futility wherein the best artists have to be indifferent or even hostile to supreme coherence and only depictions of anti heroism will be praised and given National Book Awards.DeLillo is a talented writer, but he wasted his talent in this work and missed an important opportunity to demand change Don t get me wrong, I m not upset with his depiction of a dystopic American setting The Toxic Airborne Event was brilliant, timely and necessary, but he never asks his readers to take even a cursory look at the causes and consequences of our toxin producing lifestyle And it was right there I also take issue with his demonic proposal that there is liberation to be found in murder, that there is no immortality, that important psychic data can be gleamed from commercials and television programs.Yeah, I know, it s only fiction, yeah I know, he meant something else entirely, turn it inside out and upside down and this is what he really meant, have a Coke and a Dylar and put a bullet in my head, it s opposite era If I had it my way, as soon as you clicked on my review this song would blare from your speakers and the video is amazing I would rather you watch it than read my nonsensical ramblingsThis book smells like napalm It sounds like air being slowly released from a balloon It tastes like ashes of the American dream.I wander the city, invisible earmuffs blocking out the sounds, eyes glued to pages, smile glued to my face People look at me as if they want to know my secrets I promise not to tell Closer Let me whisper in your ear I ll only give you glimpsesHeinrich Gerhardt Gladney is a cynic I want to get inside his head We re all suffering from brain fade The airborne toxic event. Cool name for a band These guys thought so Not if you look like that it s not.Fear of death Fear of life Consumerism Commercialism Communism Toyota Celica Murray is a comic genius No frills The pills won t save you Orest Mercator Going for the record Snakes bite.Elvis versus Hitler How about a hybrid Might look like this Where were you when James Dean died Dylar The most photographed barn in America Babette has very important hair Car crash seminars D j vu Ask the big important questions Pointless conversations Strip malls Cable tv.Sex and death Death Life Death et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et ceteraIn the midst of life we are in death et cetera etceteraetceteraetceteraetceterainthemidstoflifeweareindeathetcetera ,, , ,, ,,, , , , , ,, ,20 , , , , , , , ,, , ,,,, . March, 2018 On a second read, I think I got another 2 3% of it than last time I adore this book.January, 2016 I really enjoyed this, but I don t completely understand it yet I ve got about 95% of it, but that last 5% I think may only come after some rereading, and maybe 20 additional years of life experience It feels like a book you could read several times over a life and always find a different meaning Heavily metaphorical, very philosophical, clever Death, consumerism, fear, modern life, existentialism, nihilism, etc. The world is full of abandoned meanings White Noise takes place in a realm one small step removed from an easily recognisable reality or just outside the range of human apprehension , as DeLillo puts it On face value none of its characters or events are quite credible the characters are too eloquent, the scenes too stage managed Why, for example, would people choose to go out in the open on foot to escape from a toxic cloud Why not get in their cars or simply stay barricaded in their homes So DeLillo can give us an image of a nomad biblical exodus because Delillo wants to strip down humanity to its rudiments in this novel the fear of death and subsequent gullibility it induces to submit to all kinds of generalised information that will keep us safe He wants to show us how information is used to cower us into a herd mentality The Hitler warning always stalking the outer corridors of the novel Put on a uniform and feel bigger, stronger, safer.White Noise, on the surface, is DeLillo s most orthodox novel First person narrative Straightforward chronology Mainly domestic setting Lots of humour The novel s white noise is the endless stream of mis information we are subjected to in our lives Data has a viral role in this novel Data that rarely translates into wisdom The narrator Jack Gladney s oldest son articulates this theme brilliantly What can we do to make life easier for the Stone Agers Can we make a refrigerator Can we even explain how it works What is electricity What is light We experience these things every day of our lives but what good does it do if we find ourselves hurled back in time and we can t even tell people the basic principles much less actually make something that would improve conditions Name one thing you could make Could you make a simple wooden match that you could strike on a rock to make a flame We think we re so great and modern Moon landings, artificial hearts But what if you were hurled into a time warp If a Stone Ager asked you what a nucleotide is, could you tell him How do we make carbon paper What is glass If you came awake tomorrow in the Middle Ages and there was an epidemic raging, what could you do to stop it, knowing what you know about the progress of medicines and diseases Here it is practically the twenty first century and you ve read hundreds of books and magazines and seen a hundred TV shows about science and medicine Could you tell those people one little crucial thing that might save a million and a half lives Children, still unencumbered by fear of death, are better andmysterious filters of information in the novel than the fear stricken adults The adults are both blinded and deafened by the wall of white noise of ubiquitous multimedia information because the deeper we delve into the nature of things, the looser our structure may seem to become The children therefore often have to resist what passes as wisdom in the parents The family is the cradle of the world s misinformation As he becomes muchintimate with the advent of his own death Gladney begins finally to glean wisdom from information The air was rich with extrasensory material Nearer to death, nearer to second sight I continued to advance in consciousness Things glowed, a secret life rising out of them White Noise, not quite the masterpiece that is Underworld, is a brilliant achievement, his second best novel.