In this essay, I will systematically dissect Christopher S. Glover's categorization of Don DeLillo's White Noise as an example of Baudrillard's third stage of simulacrum while presenting an alternate interpretation that suggests the novel actually represents a deviation on Baudrillard's second stage of simulacrum. In other words, I will prove that the white noise central to the book and its plot does not denote the absence of a basic reality, but rather allows people to hide or pervert a basic reality as a defense mechanism.
[...] The White Noise community's other popular distractions offer their own unique “drug delivery system.” The rush of love, excitement, or fear; a quick shot of endorphins from sex, a mental/emotional shock or maybe just an alcoholic beverage or good food. Both in the world of Blacksmith and the real world people are trying to manipulate themselves, to control the inevitable for moments at a time, but with what purpose? To avoid facing the same realities that scared the Gladney family, their friends, and their community. [...]
[...] In his efforts to find secondary evidence that proves that the world DeLillo's characters are living in lacks a “basic reality,” Glover himself falls prey to the white noise in the novel; the same white noise created for/by the characters to distract themselves from the same said reality. But reality remains the reference point; it is the impetus for their folly. More pointedly, reality in the form of death is what repels the characters from substance and drives them toward distractions. They themselves are “masking and perverting” that basic reality to avoid confronting it. Death is the core reality of White Noise just as it is the core reality of existence [...]
[...] Glover himself summarizes the presence of death as a reality in the narrative with the following statement: White Noise, society has failed to devise a way to make death palatable. Thus Jack, Babette, and others have a difficult time reconciling their fear of the unknowable, death, with their inability to accept any information about it . It is this very dilemma that puts the plot of White Noise into Baudrillard's second order. Though aware of the basic reality of death, DeLillo's characters simply cannot face it and so create other distractions. [...]
[...] Which brings us to the core of Glover's critical analysis: DeLillo's 1985 novel White Noise is representative of the third order of simulacrum, a novel in which the line between the simulated and the real has been blurred to the extent that the is not merely masked—it never really existed to begin with, or if it did/does, its importance is secondary to the representation's.” To which it must be argued that reality cannot be secondary to the abstract because the abstract cannot exist without reality as a reference point. [...]
[...] Glover's analysis of White Noise becomes woefully sidetracked on the topic of religion, and toward the end of the paper he loses his argument about the failed reality of the novel altogether, so instead of continuing the response to his article, we will now further evaluate one of the most powerful and underappreciated metaphors in DeLillo's novel—faith in placebos. This concept is really a summation of the value of the second simulacrum; that we acknowledge both reality and the facade and yet choose to uphold the facade anyway. [...]
using our reader.