On Sunday morning, a account claiming to belong to DeLillo appeared on Twitter:
As a novelist, DeLillo is particularly interested in the banal, but “Sunday morning. First tweet.” is dreadfully boring, even by his standards. For DeLillo, the banal is often wielded ironically and occasionally folded into the sublime. This, on the other hand, is just checking in. His next tweet was better, but only because it was about how Twitter sucks, which it does:
This, meanwhile, is a masterpiece of restraint:
This, of course, is not really Don DeLillo, who is 79 years old, writes on a typewriter, and clearly does not give a shit about social media. A spokesperson for Scribner, DeLillo’s publisher, confirmed that it was a hoax.
DeLillo has been the subject of hoaxes before. In 2014, someone pretended to be DeLillo on Facebook and said they were crowdsourcing a story. And Tommasso Debenedetti, an Italian “journalist” and attention enthusiast, has impersonated him at least twice before online, just as he has with dozens of other writers, including Alice Munro and Philip Roth. Judging by non-native English speaker-isms like “I close my account” and the fact that Debenedetti is the only person who still does hoaxes as unconvincing as this one in 2016, the safe money is that this is another Debenedetti joint—let’s hope it’s the last one. (Update: Debenedetti has confirmed to me that he is behind the account.)
Meanwhile, there are two takeaways from this. The first is that if you see Don DeLillo on any social media platform, it is not him—it will never be him. If Don DeLillo ever does join Twitter, which he won’t, I will eat a first edition of Underworld. And the second is that Don DeLillo’s jacket is the only halfway decent social media account related to DeLillo.