Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Truth in the Age of Uncertainty

I'm reading White Noise by Don DeLillo for a class called The Contemporary American Novel. The book is essentially a parody of modern American life circa 1984. What's so interesting to me about the story is the mutability, the uncertainty of truth as depicted in the text.

There's an undercurrent of rampant consumerism that practically floods the story. This is an intentional device that serves as a sort of backdrop for everything that happens. The characters are flighty, self-absorbed and obsessed with minutia. It's John Updike mixed with Kurt Vonnegut.

But what sticks out the most is that the main characters are never certain what's going on in the world around them or what's really going on within themselves. This does seem to be almost an anthem of the modern age. How many times a day do you question things you see or hear?

Our truth does in large part seem to be flexible. It depends, we say. Depends on what? That's what's hard to define. There are always gray areas, complications, ameliorating factors. Relativism. Is this the Age of Uncertainty?


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