Presentation on theme: "Break – history as paranoia"— Presentation transcript:
1Break – history as paranoia Break – history as paranoia? Don DeLillo’s Libra, storytelling, plots and liesMarcin SarnekInstytut Kultur i Literatur Anglojęzycznych, UŚ
2Political violence in the USA "curses"conspiracy theoriesPolitical violenceAbraham LincolnJames GarfieldWilliam McKinleyJoseph Smith Jr.John Fitzgerald KennedyRobert Francis KennedyHarvey MilkGeroge MosconeLeo RyanMartin Luther King Jr.Malcolm XEdgar Meyers
3Political violence in the USA - continued internal terrorism / militia movementsUnabomber ( )Oklahoma Bombing (1995)religious radicalism - cultsPeople's Temple - Jim Jones (1978)Davidian Branch - David Koresh (1993)"school massacres"Bath Massacre (1927)University of Texas massacre (1966)Columbine High shootings (1999)Virginia Tech massacre (2007)
4"Tecumseh curse" Tecumseh 1840 - William Harrison (+1841) Tecumseh's warTenskwatawaThe Battle of Tippecanoe (1811)William Harrison (+1841)Abraham Lincoln (+1865)James Garfield (+1881)1900 – William McKinley (+1901)Warren G. Harding (+1923)1933 (1940) - Franklin D. Roosevelt (+1945)John F. Kennedy (+1963)Ronald Reagan (attempted assassination in 1981)George W. Bush Jr. (at least two more serious assassination attemtpts)
5The Kennedys Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Rose Elisabeth Fitzgerald Joseph P., Jr.John FtizgeraldRosemaryKathleenEunicePatriciaRobert FrancisJeanEdward
6The Kennedy Curse 1941 – Rosemary Kennedy, lobotmomised 12 August 1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., dies in Operation Aphrodite13 May 1948 – Kathleen Cavendish, Marrquess of Hartinton, dies in an airplane crach23 August 1956 –J. F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's, daughter, Arabella Kennedy, is stillborn9 August 1963 – J. F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, dies two days after delivery22 November 1963 –John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas19 June 1964 –Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, seriously ionjured in a plane crash6 June 1968 – Senator Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles18 July 1969 –Chappaquiddick incident: Jo Kopechne, late Robert F. Kennedy's assisstant, dies in a car crash. The car's driver - Ted Kennedy – withdraws from the presidential campaign in result/17 November 1973 – Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., Teda Kennedy's son, loses his leg (bone cancer) at the age of 1225 April 1984 – David Anthony Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy's son, dies after drug overdose31 December 1997 – Michael LeMoyne Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy's son, dies in a skiing accident in Aspen16 June 1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr., Johna F. Kennedy's eldest son, dies in a plane crach with his wife and sister-in-law.
7John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (JFK) (1917 – 1963) the family "clown"poor healthPT-109 WW II duty – war heroRepresentative (1947 – 1953)USA Senator (Massachussets 1953 – 1960)35. President of the USA (1960 – 1963)Assassination, 22 Nov. 1963
8John Fitzgerald Kennedy –foreign policy CubaCastro revolutionOperation MangooseBay of Pigs InvasionCuban Missile CrisisJune 1963 – Speech at the American Univesrityno "Pax Americana"June Berlin"Ich bin ein Berliner"Growing involvment in Vietnam
9Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX, USA 22.Nov.1963, 1225 P.M.
10MapIf we are to think seriously about the world we live in and act in it effectively, we need a simplified map of the reality, a theory, concept, model, or paradigm. Without such intellectual constructs we would be left with, as William James put it, "a colorful and noisy confusion."To be considered a paradigm a theory has to be better than its rivals, but it does not have to explain all facts which it may be confronted with. As a matter of fact, it never does so.As John Lewis Gaddis put it, "to find our ways in a territory that is foreign to us, we need a map. Cartography, just like study, is a necessary simplification, which allows us to gather knowledge of where we are and where we are possibly going."Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of the World Order
13Map - Mercator Projection Alaska is presented as being similar in size to Brazil, when Brazil's area is actually more than 5 times that of AlaskaGreenland is presented as being as large as Africa, when Africa's area is approx. 14 times larger
14Map - Gnomonic Projection Great Circles (Meridians and the Equator) presented as straight linesThe shortest route between two locations in reality corresponds to that on the map.Sizes / distances: appropriateDirections / Angles: DISTORTED
15MapEvery model or map is a certain abstraction; for certain purposes it will be more useful than for others. A road map shows how to get from point A to point B, but it will not be much help if we pilot a plane. [...] Yet not having any map we for sure will get lost. […] The more detailed the map is the more exactly it reflects the reality. Still, a map with too many details should prove useless for many purposes.[...]In brief, we need a map that both renders the reality and simplifies it in a way that serves our purposes best.Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations
16Map recquires Is history just like that, too? Convention Edition CoherenceIs history just like that, too?
17History of Poland 966-1025 ? 966 – Baptism of Poland Pomerania conquest, Eastern conquests, Battle of Cedynia, Congress of Kwedlinburg, wars with Otto II, alliance with Sweded, wars with Denmark, War with the Czechs, Dagome Iudex, Lesser Poland conquest, St. Wojciech missions . . .Wars with the Czechs, annexation of Moravy, wars with the Germans, Treaty of Budziszyn, Kiev expedition, annexation of Red Ruthenia, Moravy lost . . .?1000 – Congress of Gniezno1025 – Coronation of Bolesław Chrobry
18Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX, USA 22.Nov.1963, 1225 P.M.
19JFK assassination the shooting – 4.8 to 10 seconds JFK Killed Gov. Conelly woundedWitness James Tague lightly wounded from debrisThe assumed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, shot to death by Jack Ruby, 24. Nov. 1963
20JFK assassination – official explanations 1964 – Warren Commission Report: assassination the work of a ‘lone assassin’ – Lee Harvey Oswald, shooting at JFK three times from Texas Schoolbook Depository Building; the final shot lethal.1979 – US House Select Committee on Assassinations: assassination probably the result of unknown conspiracy;L.H. Oswald key
21JFK assassination – key inconsistencies Witnessess seing and hearing gun fire from locations different than TSBDZapruder FilmMagic Bullet TheoryLee Harvey Oswald’s storyJack Ruby’s storyMany others…
22The archiveat least 32 still and movie photographers on Dealey Plaza – altogether over 500 photographs takenEfforts made to identify every single person in the PlazaWarren Report – 888 pagesWarren Commission Records – 26 volumesGovernmental documents pertaining to JFK assassination: approx pages plus estimated pages of classified documents plus an estimated court and Congress record of pages
24The archive - continued As of 1979 – approx books and articles on JFK assassinationAs for 1991 (release of JFK by Oliver Stone) – approx books and articles
25Lee Harvey Oswald. . .Shitbird, Ozzie Rabbit, Oswaldskovich, also spelled Oswaldkovitch, Oswaldskowich, and Oswaldovich.Harvey Lee Oswald, Harvey Lee, Lee Harvey, Lee Henry Oswald, Harvey Oswald Lee, Harvey Oswald, Leon Oswald, O.H. Lee, H.O. Lee, Leslie Oswald,Aleksei Oswald, Alik,Hidell, A. Hidell, A.J. Hidell, Alek J. Hidell, Robert Hidell, Alek James Hidell, Dr. A.J. Hideel, Albert Alexander Osborne, and Howard Osborne.William Bobo
26Lee Harvey OswaldA scar on Oswald's jaw noted on his Marine Corps physical was not mentioned in his autopsy report.Oswald was left-handed according to his mother, right-handed according to his brother.Oswald knew and did not know how to drive a car.Oswald did and did not have homosexual relationships.Oswald was "disheveled, unkempt and dirty" and "neat in appearance and dress.”Oswald briefly had a beard but also had too little facial hair to grow a beard.Oswald gave public speeches both supporting and opposing the Soviet Union.Oswald read, spoke, and wrote flawless English and Russian; yet he suffered from dyslexia.Oswald's eyes were grey, blue, and brown.
27Lee Harvey OswaldOswald was 5', 5'3", 5'7", 5'8", 5'9", 5'10", 5'11", 6'1", and 6'2".
28Zapruder Film Taken by Abraham Zapruder on 8mm camera Sold to Life Magazine, copies made by the FBILife Magazine accidentely damages THREE frames of the Z-Film when copying – conspiracy theories emerge1975 – The Zapruder film shown to the public for the first time1991 – used as footage in JFK by Oliver Stone – first time available to large audiences1997 – Z-Film digitally restored
29‘Break’ Breaking narratives of authorities: Discontinuities InconsisitenciesMutually exclusive evidenceDISORDER
30‘Break’Jacques LacanFrederic Jameson. . . the breakdown of the relationships of signifiers between themselves, of the "signifying chain" formed by experience/common sense.
31How do I know it is the same ship. . . ? ‘Break’How do I know it is the same ship. . . ?if nobody was watching. . . ?
32‘Break’Jacques LacanFrederic JamesonSchizophrenia is defined as the breakdown of the relationships of signifiers between themselves, of the "signifying chain" formed by experience/common sense.
33JFK assassination in American fiction Winter Kills, Richard CondonAmerican Tabloid, James EllroyThe Cold Six Thousand, James EllroyLibra, Don DelilloIlluminatus! The Trilogy, Robert Shea and Robert Anton WilsonIdle Warriors, Kerry Thornley
34Don DeLillo Americana (1971) End Zone (1972) Great Jones Street (1973) Ratner's Star (1976)Players (1977)Running Dog (1978)Amazons (1980) (under pseudonym "Cleo Birdwell")The Names (1982)White Noise (1985)Libra (1988)Mao II (1991)Underworld (1997)The Body Artist (2001)Cosmopolis (2003)Falling Man (2007)Point Omega (2010)
35Don DeLillo, Libra Plots Oswald’s story Everett’s story Branch’s story Libra’s story
36Oswald’s story Man and history Oswald is a writer Historic Diary Oswald is a creation
37Everett’s story Logic of plots Everett is a writer Oswald is a creationPlot is a creationChance and history
38Branch’s story complete secret history of JFK assassination the archivestories within stories within storiesBranch is a writerHow to tell the story?
39Libra’s storyMen sitting alone in rooms, plotting, creating stories, writingHistory / historiographyHistorian / writerFact / fictionCan history be told?