Don DeLillo
Quotations


Film is more than the twentieth-century art. Itís another part of the twentieth-century mind. Itís the world seen from inside. Weíve come to a certain point in the history of film. If a thing can be filmed, the film is implied in the thing itself. This is where we are. The twentieth century is on film. . . . You have to ask yourself if thereís anything about us more important than the fact that weíre constantly on film, constantly watching ourselves.

If we are on the outside, we assume a conspiracy is the perfect working of a scheme. Silent nameless men with unadorned hearts. A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. Itís the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act.

I think itís only in a crisis that Americans see other people. It has to be an American crisis, of course. If two countries fight that do not supply the Americans with some precious commodity, then the education of the public does not take place. But when the dictator falls, when the oil is threatened, then you turn on the television and they tell you where the country is, what the language is, how to pronounce the names of the leaders, what the religion is all about, and maybe you can cut out recipes in the newspaper of Persian dishes.

Iíve come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.

If I were a writer, how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.

People stress the violence. Thatís the smallest part of it. Football is brutal only from a distance. In the middle of it thereís a calm, a tranquility. The players accept pain. Thereís a sense of order even at the end of a running play with bodies strewn everywhere. When the systems interlock, thereís a satisfaction to the game that canít be duplicated. Thereís a harmony.

Hardship makes the world obscure.

Thereís never a dearth of reasons to shoot at the President.

The force of a death should be enormous but how can you know what kind of man youíve killed or who was the braver and stronger if you have to peer through layers of glass that deliver the image but obscure the meaning of the act? War has a conscience or itís ordinary murder.

Thereís always a period of curious fear between the first sweet-smelling breeze and the time when the rain comes cracking down.

Men with secrets tend to be drawn to each other, not because they want to share what they know but because they need the company of the like-minded, the fellow afflicted.

To be a tourist is to escape accountability. Errors and failings donít cling to you the way they do back home. Youíre able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. Youíre expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host country is geared to travelers acting stupidly. You walk around dazed, squinting into fold-out maps. You donít know how to talk to people, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the pattern, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with thousands, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding camels, taking pictures of each other, haggard, dysenteric, thirsty. There is nothing to think about but the next shapeless event.

America is the worldís living myth. Thereís no sense of wrong when you kill an American or blame America for some local disaster. This is our function, to be character types, to embody recurring themes that people can use to comfort themselves, justify themselves and so on. Weíre here to accommodate. Whatever people need, we provide. A myth is a useful thing.



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