Fear and Holocaust

                We have touched on race and its relation to eco-collapse in reading Don Delillo’s novel White Noise. For example, Jack as a professor of Hitler studies is caught off guard when The Air-born Toxic Event happens in his small rural community of upper class citizens. This is due to his belief that such disasters only happen to the poor or people in underdeveloped countries. Delillo also comments on the media’s role in representing the toxic event, especially, in the case of television.  Mike Davies, in his book Ecology of Fear, explores the issue of race, eco-collapse, and media even further.

                In his book, Davies explains that, “Ironically, the richest and poorest landscapes in southern California are comparable in the frequency with which they experience incendiary disaster” (Davies 98). There are parallels between the two readings, especially in the manner how media generates fear.  In Delillo’s novel, for example, when the Gladney family fled from their homes because of The Air-Born Toxic Event, they  encountered a man carrying a TV set who was more concerned that their situation was not be televised then he was in fear of the disaster itself.  In a similar manner, Davies explains how Malibu, beach home of the stars, receives much media attention with its continual years of fire disasters while tenement fires in the downtown areas of Los Angeles receive little. Media then seems to determine public responses to disaster. If the characters in Delillo’s novel fear media representations of disaster then Davies’ book proclaims that media representations of disaster can have holocaust like affects. For example Davies often refers to tenement fires in downtown L.A as holocaust events in explaining that fire regulations and preventions are often ignored while massive rescue efforts carried out just a few miles away in Malibu.

                Furthermore, wealthy elites have used the media as a weapon against minorities, homeless, and environmental groups. In this manner, they are able to petition protected wild life habitat for the development while restricting access to others. If we have discussed the role of gated communities in novels such as Parable of the Sower we see here the beginning of such communities although like the holocaust minorities seem to be excluded from and targeted by the famous and wealthy.  

Here’s an interesting youtube clip on war and fear:


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