Recent critics have suggested that technology has had both a physical and psychic, mental or psychological impact on people.


That means their beliefs, ideas and experiences are equally shaped by the tools we or they use. If you think of all the people in society who are thus influenced by the tools they use, then technology really shapes our shared material culture. In that sense, the world we inhabit becomes a technologically created, mutually reinforcing, influence on everyone's lives.

Techniques are any set of behavioral changes we adopt in order to use machinery, tools, or devices effectively.

General store and filling station in the Mississippi delta, 1930s.


1. Define culture as the inheritance we receive from our ancestors:


2. Technological changes are part of a larger pattern of social adjustments.

3. Do we consume technology for its own sake?

Give examples in Delillo of passages that convey the character of American culture: In your own life think about the influences people and institutions have had on you personally.


Airplane losing altitude and the question about TV coverage.

Old people lost in the mall and old man Treadwell found dead.

Radio not conveying the entire story (for fear of panic?) about the railway yard crash.

Waves and radiation, exposure to (exposure to Nyodene D cloud and behavior changes)

Sunsets after the airborne toxic event


A. List the institutions that have taught you about your culture:

1. sensory awareness
2. family
3. clan or extended family
4. ritual observances: religion, sports,
5. media
6. schools

7. work

B. List the Sources of influence: example of the institution in DeLillo’s White Noise

College on the Hill

Department of American Environments

TV and Radio

Fast food



Contemporary society and technological conditions

C. List those Sources of influence: suggested impacts on your lives and our experiences.


Birth control pills


CD players / burners, etc.

Cell phones

Surveillance cameras

technology has a wide reach of influences


Homework select a portion of DeLillo’s White Noise and be prepared to read it out load for the class.

Turn in the Chapter Number, pages & brief summary of the selection. ( Who, what, when where, how, etc.)