It took me a while to get into this book; honestly, I’m still not a big fan of it. As a novel, I just wasn’t feeling it. However, as part of course on technology it did touch on several interesting topics. First, and most obviously, is the Airborne Toxic Event of Part II. That’s kind of what we’ve been talking about in class the past few weeks; the only difference here is that this Airborne Toxic Event didn’t end in a worldwide catastrophe. However, Delillo makes important observations about what could happen and how society would react to it. Interestingly, most of the people in White Noise were very calm about the Event; it seemed like until they were forcibly evacuated, most people didn’t think exposure to toxic chemicals was all that big a deal.
During this whole ordeal, Delillo makes a fascinating point through Jack, who assures Heinrich (and himself) that they would be okay because these sorts of things only happen to the poor and lower classes. Obviously that’s not true, but Jack’s statement made me wonder if there are real people out there who think “it can’t happen to me” around today.
The second thing I noticed in the novel was the focal point of television and radio in life; from Babette’s insistence that they all gather to watch TV on Friday nights to the College’s incredible focus on popular culture and television studies, it seemed to me like TV (and popular culture in general) was everywhere! People relied on TV and radio for all sorts of information and entertainment. While I can see what Delillo was talking about: chemicals and TV/entertainment, I finished reading it unsure what point he was trying to make about them. I guess I’ll have to wait until Monday to find out.