Title

Logos Cowboys: Postmodern Football and Post-Postmodern War in Don DeLillo's End Zone and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Subject Area

Film and Literary Studies

Abstract

In 1972, during the Vietnam War, Don DeLillo published End Zone, a postmodern novel about a football player at Logos College who fantasizes about nuclear war. In 2012, during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, Ben Fountain published Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, a post-postmodern novel about a twenty-year-old war hero being celebrated during a Dallas Cowboys' football game. After comparing DeLillo's and Fountain's similar metaphors of football and war, the paper concludes that End Zone's Wittgensteinian, at times farcical, play with the language of football and the rhetorical truth of war ultimately contrasts with Billy Lynn's satire of sports patriotism and the unironic, decimating violence of war. Finally, the two novels represent two periodic stages of response to war: While DeLillo's postmodern literature values irony and play as an absurdist response to the political obfuscations of the Vietnam Era, Fountain's post-postmodern development counters the ideological spectacle of endless war with sincere disillusionment.

Brief Bio Note

Alex E. Blazer is an Associate Professor of English at Georgia College & State University, where he teaches contemporary American literature, film, and literary criticism. He has presented two conference papers at SECCLL—one on Bret Easton Ellis and one on The Dark Knight Trilogy. He has published articles on Paul Auster, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and The Matrix Trilogy as well as a book on the relationship between contemporary American poetry and literary theory.

Keywords

DeLillo, Fountain, Football, War, Postmodernism, Post-postmodernism

Location

Room 218

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 1:30 PM Mar 26th, 2:45 PM

Logos Cowboys: Postmodern Football and Post-Postmodern War in Don DeLillo's End Zone and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Room 218

In 1972, during the Vietnam War, Don DeLillo published End Zone, a postmodern novel about a football player at Logos College who fantasizes about nuclear war. In 2012, during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, Ben Fountain published Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, a post-postmodern novel about a twenty-year-old war hero being celebrated during a Dallas Cowboys' football game. After comparing DeLillo's and Fountain's similar metaphors of football and war, the paper concludes that End Zone's Wittgensteinian, at times farcical, play with the language of football and the rhetorical truth of war ultimately contrasts with Billy Lynn's satire of sports patriotism and the unironic, decimating violence of war. Finally, the two novels represent two periodic stages of response to war: While DeLillo's postmodern literature values irony and play as an absurdist response to the political obfuscations of the Vietnam Era, Fountain's post-postmodern development counters the ideological spectacle of endless war with sincere disillusionment.