It happened before it happened

Is it possible that we are getting to the ironic climax of the American story? On the one hand, we are preoccupied with lipstick, pigs and other symbolic innuendo; on the other hand, our financial system is fighting for its life. On one hand, the 158-year old Lehman Brothers "hurtles to liquidation"; on the other hand, the media quibbles with Sarah about whether or not she really set foot in Iraq. On the one hand, Merrill Lynch, America's largest retail brokerage, got sold at a knockdown price at a Sunday afternoon auction; on the other, Sarah told the man on the television that she won't blink.

As fiction, this is a self-aware narrative that is knowingly too clever for itself. The interesting question is what ironic hyper-realist could have plotted such an precious climax to the American story. Pynchon? DeLillo? David Foster Wallace? In "Racing Against Reality", his memorable review of Don DeLillo's 9/11 novel Falling Man in the June 2007 issue of the NY Review of Books, Andrew O'Hagan wrote:

To have something exist as your subject before it happens is not unprecedented in the world of literature—consider Kafka and the Nazis, Scott Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age—but the meeting of September 11 and Don DeLillo is not so very much a conjunction as a point of arrival, and a connection so powerful in imaginative terms that it instantly blows DeLillo's lamps out.

If I was a ironic hyper-realistic writer in an country which brazenly appropriated my hyper-realistic fiction (the most absurd of intellectual property theft -- can one steal fiction and make it fact?), I'd be pretty miserable. I might even want to blow my own lamps out.