Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thomas Pynchon Gone Truther?

I have never read any Pynchon, although I have had a copy of Gravity's Rainbow sitting on my shelf next to my 1933 edition of Ulysses. In Pynchon's defense, I am not aware of him ever claiming any of this is anything but fiction, and he has always had a reputation for the theater of the absurd abstract novel, but if he is a Truther, at least the award winning author writes significantly better than the God awful dreck of Steve Alten.


Crackpot paranoia has always been meat and drink for Mr. Pynchon, of course. When "Gravity's Rainbow" implies that the 20th-century European wars were manufactured by an international missile cartel, the book is mutating a commonplace distrust of power structures into an ad absurdum parallel realm. It's the violently mechanized modern world gazed at during an acid trip; evil and perversion seem to crawl like spiders over everything.
"Bleeding Edge," though, merely regurgitates the smugly earnest talking points of 9/11 Truthers. Thus we're told that before the attacks there was an unusual amount of short selling of United and American Airlines, as well as of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, suggesting a "foreknowledge of a decline in their stock prices." Even terminology is evidence: "Ground Zero" was a Cold War phrase referring to nuclear strikes, so the purpose of reusing it "is to get people . . . [c]ranked up, scared, and helpless." Wake up, sheeple!

This does, however, speak to a point I have made a couple of times in the past. One of the reasons conspiracy theories are so popular is that they present an intriguing literary and historical puzzle for people to solve. As Dan Brown as shown, even the most mediocre talent can turn a hint of a conspiracy into a popular cultural event. Even I (and yes you can start the mediocre talent jokes) have added a bit of conspiracy into an as yet unpublished novel I have been working on. People just like unveiling secrets, it is part of who we are as humans.

17 Comments:

At 21 September, 2013 13:06, Blogger Pat said...

Heh, I got further into Ulysses than I did Gravity's Rainbow, although I do remember the latter a bit better than the former. Something about a weapon called the Lepage glue gun, and also some bit about how you might feel for an instant a bomb hitting you right on the head.

 
At 21 September, 2013 14:11, Blogger James B. said...

Took a while, but I actually did finish Ulysses. Will have to wait until I have more free time and patience to dig into Gravity's Rainbow or Finnegan's Wake though.

 
At 21 September, 2013 15:16, Blogger David Banner said...

Figured you guys want to read this:

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=265641

Thanks to Orphia Nay.

 
At 22 September, 2013 09:47, Blogger snug.bug said...

Where would Shakespeare be without conspiracy?

 
At 23 September, 2013 19:47, Blogger Ian said...

Where would Shakespeare be without conspiracy?

If only Brian were alive in 17th century England, he could argue that Macbeth didn't actually kill King Duncan, and that Shakespeare never addressed the 10 essential mysteries of Duncan's assassination, such as the symmetry of the stab wounds, the totality of his blood loss, the molten steel found under his body.

Brian, how come Banquo's wife never had her 273 questions answered by Shakespeare?

 
At 23 September, 2013 22:54, Blogger snug.bug said...

Oh I see. If MacBeth kills Duncan, then in Ian's little mind it's not a conspiracy.

 
At 24 September, 2013 17:18, Blogger Ian said...

Oh I see. If MacBeth kills Duncan, then in Ian's little mind it's not a conspiracy.

No, it's a conspiracy, and a straightforward one. You know, like the al Qaeda conspiracy to hijack jetliners and fly them into the WTC.

Also, Brian, Shakespeare's works are fictional, even those based on historical events.

Your problem appears to be that you can't distinguish between fiction and real life. That's why you seem to think reality is like a bad Michael Bay movie.

 
At 24 September, 2013 18:26, Blogger John said...

Finally, something I care enough to respond to!

I doubt Pynchon is a real truther. He's used paranoia as a literary device in almost all his novels. 9/11 fits the bill perfectly. I suspect that truthers have read Gravity's Rainbow, 1984, Brave New World and especially The Illuminatus and believe them to be non-fiction.

Pat, if Gravity's Rainbow is too damn long for you, try The Crying of Lot 49. All the conspiracy minus the length.

 
At 24 September, 2013 23:23, Blogger snug.bug said...

Lyin Ian, I can distinguish between fiction and reality just fine. You're the one that's challenged in that regard.

 
At 25 September, 2013 00:55, Blogger GuitarBill said...

The illiterate liar lies, "...Lyin Ian, I can distinguish between fiction and reality just fine. You're the one that's challenged in that regard."

Illiterate and dishonest to the core.

BRIAN GOOD -- PERVERT, LIAR, INTERNET VANDAL AND DEGENERATE SEX STALKER EXPOSED

 
At 25 September, 2013 10:46, Blogger snug.bug said...

Poor ButtGoo, he doesn't know anything about 9/11 so all he can do is all gossip all the time.

 
At 25 September, 2013 15:19, Blogger Ian said...

Lyin Ian, I can distinguish between fiction and reality just fine. You're the one that's challenged in that regard.

False.

Poor ButtGoo, he doesn't know anything about 9/11 so all he can do is all gossip all the time.

Squeal squeal squeal!

 
At 26 September, 2013 00:14, Blogger snug.bug said...

Any two-year-old can say "False" as easily as "no".

 
At 26 September, 2013 05:01, Blogger Ian said...

Any two-year-old can say "False" as easily as "no".

That's nice. Of course, I'm a successful professional with 2 degrees from prestigious institutions.

You, on the other hand, failed out of San Jose State, are unemployed, live with your parents, and have a hideous haircut.

 
At 26 September, 2013 14:51, Blogger snug.bug said...

Ian, you're not just a liar, you're demonstrating your gullibility when you think someone should believe the claimed credentials of an anonymous internet poster.

Do you believe the claimed credentials of an anonymous internet poster? If so, you're a fool. If not, you're a fool for thinking we should believe you.

When exactly do you think I failed out of San Jose State and what makes you think so?



 
At 26 September, 2013 16:27, Blogger Ian said...

Ian, you're not just a liar, you're demonstrating your gullibility when you think someone should believe the claimed credentials of an anonymous internet poster.

Do you believe the claimed credentials of an anonymous internet poster? If so, you're a fool. If not, you're a fool for thinking we should believe you.


This hysterical spam doesn't change the fact that I'm smart and successful and you're a half-wit failure.

When exactly do you think I failed out of San Jose State and what makes you think so?

You told us you failed out of San Jose State, and judging by your obsession with ancient history like what happened in 1968, and your age, and your mental deficiencies, I'd imagine you failed out of San Jose State around 1968-1972.

 
At 27 September, 2013 09:14, Blogger snug.bug said...

Ian, any idiot can be successful. You may or may not be smart, but there's little gain from that when you demand so little of yourself. You are either too lazy, or too foolish, to recognize that you're only making a fool of yourself and degrading the reputation of this blog.

When did I tell you I flunked out of San Jose State? Was it back in the days when anyone could post under any screen name, even somebody else's screen name? How do you know I attended San Jose State?

Clearly you have a great need to feel superior to someone--anyone!--that is not fulfilled in your everyday life. And so you must invent a character, one you imagine to be me, to whom you can feel superior.

Poor Lyin Ian.

 

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