I have read a few posts that deal with the unappealing nature of Delillo’s Falling Man. I am sure it is on purpose, yet at the same time, we will say that everything we percieve in art is done on purpose. Only those who are well versed in art history, or the blessed skeptics are the ones who will say, “yep, I think that was a mistake….it worked, but I don’t think they meant it too happen.” Or you might hear the skeptic say, “Ya know, I think they were just trying too hard. That’s why it is obvious, so of course they meant what they were doing, but they just did it badly.”
I would have to agree with the skeptic I just illustrated. A few of my complaints are as such:
1.) Delillo’s articulation does not change much. As such, the voices of the characters sounds eerily the same. Any children, or the less than fully cognizant, sound predictably like a general cliche.
2.) Delillo constantly paints this surreal shades-of-grey scene of depression. The only shake up is the sudden change in voice, or narration that forces the reader to track where they actually are in the book. This makes it hard to really stay on track. I would almost be grateful for the small shake-ups, since dwelling on one person’s greyer than grey life might make me want to cut myself, just to see if I am living, unfortunately, I am thrust into another scene of depression. It is like going from one still-life of Giorgio Morandi to the next, each scene is an after-the-fact cup spilled empty that never seems to be refilled. When I am subjected to this time and time again, I yearn for the Falling Man character again, just to keep myself from rasping my body with a multitude of papercuts. This seems graphic, and powerfuly so, but this is how I feel when trudging through this book.
These two points are clearly enough to make me wonder why this author has such acclaim. Sure his language is compelling, and he makes some good arguments about art, but I feel that his arguments are too transparent in this medium, and the story is dragged through the mud, so to speak, to try and make things more gritty. More…’artsy’.
I do have to applaud his dichotomy between art and terrorism, where Morandi’s artwork was viewed as safe, and indicitive of the feeling of the people within the story with the Falling Man embodying terrorism as art being Morandi’s domestic artistic opposite. Is the Falling Man art? I think so. This is the most sucessful part of his text: The realization that art, even is not viewed as art can make someone think about something they would not usually think about. The Falling Man character characterized terrorism as art, since his medium was intrusive, rather than the comfortable wall hanging of style of Morandi.
Terrorism’s main goal is not to kill people, rather it is to shock people. This shock, like a spanking on an epic scale, is suppossed to make the shocked think and/or react. I argue that art does the same thing. Thus, terrorism is the most terrible of art. It expresses ideas, it forces people to think and react, and most horribly, it is usually organized by people who are lauded as important people. Let me save myself from a certain mob of people who will be willing to do nasty things to me with this: not everyone agrees on what art is, and this means that terrorism is not going to be art to everyone, as taste is purely subjective. I would say that terrorism then is art, in the worst of taste.