Aboard the gliding craft, a stewardess crawled down the aisle, over bodies and debris, telling people in each row to remove their shoes, remove sharp objects from their pockets, assume a fetal position. At the other end of the plane, someone was wrestling with a flotation device. Certain elements in the crew had decided to pretend that it was not a crash but a crash landing that was seconds away. After all, the difference between the two is only one word. Didn't this suggest that the two forms of flight termination were more or less interchangeable? How much could one word matter? An encouraging question under the circumstances, if you didn't think about it too long, and there was no time to think right now. The basic difference between a crash and a crash landing seemed to be that you could sensibly prepare for a crash landing, which is exactly what they were trying to do. The news spread through the plane, the term was repeated in row after row. "Crash landing, crash landing." They saw how easy it was, by adding one word, to maintain a grip on the future, to extend it in consciousness if not in actual fact. They patted themselves for ballpoint pens, went fetal in their seats.
Tuesday, October 28
Don DeLillo, 25 years ago, explaining our current state of affairs:
at 10:02 PM