Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Most Photographed Barn in America

Don DeLillo wrote a great novel called White Noise. It deals with, among other things, our people's wacky inability to confront, grapple with, and finally accept the reality that death comes to us all, eventually. It's a theme, I think, that deserves wider investigation. Maybe the Bachelor could do like a special episode where the real people on the show honestly confront their own mortality, visit the terminally ill or something.

But what I want to examine is something different. What I want to examine here is the most photographed barn in America.

In the novel: So these two over-educated culture junkies drive out to visit the barn. They are circling the barn, taking pictures of the people taking pictures, and they start riffing on what it means to be the most photographed barn in America. Like, why is this barn the most photographed? Because it's famous for being the most photographed and everyone wants a picture of that barn. Who wants a picture of just a barn when you can have a picture of the most photographed barn in America, probably the world?

Except you can't take pictures of the most photographed barn -- you can only take pictures of people taking pictures. There are simply too many photographers stalking the barn for any one of them to get a clean shot of just the barn. But then since the most photographed barn in America is something you can't really take a picture of, does that mean that the most photographed barn in America is in fact not the most photographed barn in America? In which case, what are all those people doing out there with their cameras?


Althea said...

So, my question is this: How did YOU get a photo of this people-less barn?

Karine and Tom said...

That is sort of one of those tree falling in the woods questions. Riddle inside a mystery inside a coconut. Sort answer: I don't know.

But thanks, Althea. Thanks for caring enough to ask the question. I am going to keep on thinkin' about it.