This essay offers an examination of instances of uncritical exposure to new media through the lens of twenty-first century American Postmodern fiction. Through a close reading of Don DeLillo's latest novella The Silence (2020), which works as both an observation and harsh criticism of western consumer society and American culture in particular, the present study aims to shed some light on the ways contemporary postmodernist literary writing—informed by postpostmodernist tendencies and features—criticizes American political choices that define the (un)health of a nation as it succumbs to digital (mis)information processes.
For its theoretical background the essay relies on late twentieth and early twenty-first-century thinking on media and the use of technology as a means of transcending human limitations. In more specificity, it explores Andrew Hoskin's take on media, memory and the connective turn, N. Katherine Hayles's theories on man's posthuman nature, while it also takes into account latest beliefs in transhumanism and critical posthumanism as philosophies that rethink human form and nature in relation to contemporary bio-technological conditions.
DeLillo’s updated preoccupation with the western world turns into intensified anxiety about the terrifying effects of digitization and uncritical exposure to the screen. He focuses on the disintegration of the self and the disruption of its presence in space and time in tandem with the failure of language and the loss of (cultural) memory, ultimately questioning the future of all existence and writing.