July 14, 2008
Karen, we could say, effectively transforms the signs by which we come to know people into objects of perception rather than objects of understanding. According to Walter Benn Michaels, this transformation of the intentional, and thus meaningful, sign into the unintentional, and thus meaningless, mark constitutes the ur-logic of postmodern thought, which is distinguished by its irrational privileging of affective experience over cognitive beliefs. In The Shape of the Signifier), Michaels suggests that through Bill Gray’s figuring of writing as “bits of human tissue sticking to the page” (Mao II 28), DeLillo not only depicts but effectively endorses a “disarticulation of writing from representation” (175). Is it possible, however, that both Fitzpatrick and Michaels err in identifying Don DeLillo’s ideological commitments with those of his fictional creations?