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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proposal For The DeLillo Society Symposium on DeLillo


My main focus is on the character of Eric Packer who is seen a self-destructive loser who loses, gambles away, all his money in one day. I see him as realizing immediately after the conversation with Kinski in the limo, that his actions can prove her wrong. There being no outside to the demonstrators (as we are watching with OWS) they cannot accomplish any change because their opposition is necessary to the system. This is Foucault and the Foucauldian Grid of power/knowledge/capital in which all opposition is inherent in the founding Discourse. This is not to say that resistance is not necessary because it is. Very much so.

Baudrillard sees a way out in his Forget Foucault and that is to push the system to extremes (Nietzsche) and it will implode. Originally he had no hope of this until 9-11, when the hijackers in action, showed how: Giving the Gift that must be returned, the Counter-gift (not right away and it must be more so than the original gift  - "potlatch by Maas"). This is what Packer does. He pushes the global circulating currency trading market to its extremes by borrowing - on margin of course - all the yen there is that he can get his hands on. Of course all his shadows, watchers, stalkers, etc in the currency markets are following him, as he is Eric Packer. The yen is driven to its extreme high because of the tenet of the capitalistic market place of demand and price. The yen demand is so great that all other currencies collapse under its soaring price. (How many wheelbarrows of currency in Weimar Germany to buy a loaf of bread?) How many dollars to buy yen? So many the dollar becomes worthless as do all other currencies.

The modern money changers have been driven from the temple.

Packer begins the day in the dialectic, desiring balance not asymmetry. The global circulating speculative market "rises and sets with the sun" - Baudrillard - and like all planets and satelites has an asymmetrical orbit. As Benno tells him asymmetry was the key.

Reading Jesus through Isaiah, following his destiny, not the career choice of being the messiah, his last major action of overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple, was so outrageous that he could no longer be ignored. (He pushes the limit boundaries to excess.) His capture and death was desired. 

Since DeLillo was brought up Catholic, and has said he believes in the power of narrative transcendence - which Baudrillard and Foucault do not - DeLillo has made Kinski speak Baudrillardian thinking, and has made Packer throw the challenge in action to Baudrillard, who liked to think of himself as an "intellectual terrorist", and implode the currency market just because he could! We can say he felt an affinity with the demonstrators, because of Herbert Z's poem, and  wanted to lead them, etc. but that will put us back into hermeneutics which I avoid after studying Foucault and Sontag On Interpretation. 

I think DeLillo has created a political visionary for the post modern world we are living in. Our fast movement into simulation is dizzying. Total Simulated reality becomes Virtual Reality and from that there is no escape. Baudrillard is proposing the Order of Seduction to reverse our willing slide down the slope.  DeLillo has created Eric Packer to show us one way out. Genet and Burroughs have emphasized the power and responsibility of the writer in creating reality, and here IMO is where DeLillo is.

We have seen Margin Call and how that debacle was started. Interesting.

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