I am reading an old (1990) Katherine Hayles article, one of her thrilling romps through genetics, information theory, and literature, focused on what she calls "the parataxic mode of being ... the physicality of creatures who can interact in unanticipated ways with their environment ...juxtaposed with their status as arti-
facts that express the information coded within them" (408). She uses White Noise as an example of a text that navigates such parataxis, beginning in the overcoded information of the supermarket, proceeding through Jack as "the sum of his data" and ending with the seemingly weightlessness-evading violence of Jack shooting Willie Mink. Hayles notes a long-observed idea in DeLillo studies, that in one view of his fiction "Only violence, preferably as random and brutal as possible, can crack the slick surfaces of fetishized commodification and restore the connection and immediacy that embodiment entails" (411). I wonder, then, what the twist is on the violence in Cosmopolis: it is unplanned? It is mediated more heavily by the gun itself? (I'm tempted to say yes, but that feels too easy in terms of the rest of my article; on the other hand, Packer is fascinated by the gun's technology, the necessity of saying "Nancy Babbitt" to it to get it to unlock. But is the violence here the same as Oswald's violence or Jack's violence or the violence in Mao II? I suspect it is not, but I need to think about it more.
Thank You and Farewell
9 months ago