reality: a hyperreal…It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real”. (Simulacra and Simulations).
The concept of simulacrum is most closely defined as something that replaces reality with its representation. Don Delillo uses the concept of simulacrum in his book, White Noise to help Delillo does
illuminate how modern culture has substituted reality with manufactured reality.
this through a variety of key components in the book including the SIMUVAC program, the most photographed barn in America, and the effects of Nyodene D and Dylar. SIMUVAC is hired to clean up the aftermath of “the airborne toxic event. ” SIMUVAC represents the ideal simulacrum by claiming the emergency first run through in the toxic event as practice for an actual simulation. One SIMUVAC employee states, “We don't have our victims Using real emergencies
laid out where we'd want them if this was an actual simulation” (135).
as practice for simulations rather than simulations as practice for real events directly supports the theory that the postmodern society “substitutes signs of the real for the real”. The real emergency is constantly referred to as an exercise, “there’s a lot of polishing we still have to do. But that’s what this exercise is all about” (135). Referencing real scenarios as exercises for
simulations further supports the fact that modern culture is now substituting reality with manufactured reality. The creation of Nyodene D supports the theory of the blind following of science society has adopted today. Modern advancements are often not understood by the common man. This
creates a sense of blind acceptance to this technology. Too much trust is inscribed by culture today into scientists and modern technology. This trust is often created through simulacrum. The constant images that we see every day promoting such trust makes us blindly follow what we do not understand. A SIMUVAC employee tells Jack, I didn't say it. The computer did. The whole system says it.
It's what we call a
massive database tally. Gladney, J. A. K. I punch in the name, the substance, the exposure time and then I tap into your computer history. Your genetics, your personals, your medicals, your psychologicals, your police-and-hospitals. It comes back pulsing stars. This doesn't mean anything is going to happen to you as such, at least not today or tomorrow. It just means you are the sum total of your data. ” (136) Jack’s life is just a “sum total of your data” and nothing more. The blind following of modern technology by the SIMUVAC employee is a substitute for a true understanding of Jack’s problems. To the employee Jack is just another “pulsing star. ”
The effects of Nyodene D are felt consistently on the girls only after hearing their symptoms on the radio, "Let's keep the radio turned off," she whispered. hear. They haven't gotten beyond deja vu. I want to keep it that way. "So the girls can't “What if the
symptoms are real? “How could they be real? “Why couldn't they be real? “They get them only when they're broadcast," she whispered” (129). The modern reality which the girls live in, tell them that the symptoms do not exist unless otherwise told by society. We see more evifdence of simulacrum in the airport scene. After the near crash of the plane, passengers need to hear the encounter over from a third party to be true. “As the man in the down vest told the story,
passengers from the tunnel began gathering around us” (90). When the man was speaking about his experience with the near crashed plane it suddenly sent reassurance through the crowd that what they experienced was true. Without the broadcasting...