where hypotheses come to die (madman101) wrote,
where hypotheses come to die
madman101

Project 101: "The Crying of Lot 49"

Thomas Pynchon was the David Foster Wallace of the 1960's-1970's, (although he has been writing strong as of 2013).   He was a post-modernist, "thinking-man's hippie," I guess.  His sprawling masterpiece was, Gravity's Rainbow, (1973), which explored such realms as: preterition, paranoia, racism, colonialism, conspiracy, synchronicity, and entropy,[22][23] - (Wiki). His first book, "V," (1963) was an intricate, bohemian romp in search of an elusive dream image. Such a vain crusade is a kind of antipode to entropy and exhaustion, yes?

  • Investigations and digressions into the realms of human sexuality, psychology, sociology, mathematics, science, and technology recur throughout Pynchon's works. One of his earliest short stories, "Low-lands" (1960), features a meditation on Heisenberg's uncertainty principle as a metaphor for telling stories about one's own experiences. His next published work, "Entropy" (1960), introduced the concept [entropy] which was to become synonymous with Pynchon's name, (though Pynchon later admitted the "shallowness of [his] understanding" of the subject, and noted that choosing an abstract concept first and trying to construct a narrative around it was "a lousy way to go about writing a story"). - (Wiki)

Pynchon's second novel was, The Crying of Lot 49, (1966).   This was a slender booklet still sneaking around today, in used bookstores and garage sales.  Pynchon called it, "...a short story, but with gland trouble"[19]. - (Wiki) I read The Crying of Lot 49 way back in my developmental past, finding it to be a kind of social satire. But, I grew to be more and more interested in it as I found it to relate to one of my favourite concepts, entropy, (or the Second Law of Thermodynamics). I recommend that you see some of my other posts relating to entropy, by going to my tag, coincidentally named, entropy.  (There are other entropy-related tags to be found, including this one: economics - entropy).

Sure enough, this same book was listed as required reading in a syllabus for a class called, "Physics for Poets," relevant to the topic of thermodynamics. (That was recently posted in THIS LJ entry).
Listen, this is not a heavy book, despite it touching on entropy, as do other Pynchon works. But it is apparently important for this reason. And not for this reason alone! Or for the satire. And not for the fact that it was a hallmark in ironic pop culture, poking at the Beatles, Nabokov and postmodernism itself. And not because it has been referenced by Yo La Tengo, Radiohead, Simpsons, and others. It seems that, The Crying of Lot 49, has a lot to do with the entropic decline of Empire - resulting in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the rise of the CIA and the "Deep State", taking over the powers of the presidency. As such, this little book is a book of prophesy in the world of politics and foreign policy. It does not fall too far from the tree of Orwell's 1984 in this, after all. Perhaps, like 1984, it should be recommended reading for our age.

The CIA vs. The Presidency: This Is Not The First Time

The original report:

Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49 - by Charles Hollander ...
"Implicit in Pynchon’s fiction is the view that events in recent American history have led to a virtual constitutional crisis, a challenge to the supremacy of the presidency by the intelligence community...

"On the surface, The Crying of Lot 49 is so much a novel about Oedipa Maas, her life, her loves, her thoughts, that it hardly qualifies as what Irving Howe would describe as a political novel. 1 Yet while this miniature masterpiece is not a manifesto or a call to arms, some critics see reading it as a "subversive experience" that could generate contempt for power, a disrespect for the national leadership, because Lot 49 is a scathing history lesson, a look behind the political events and historical figurations that led America into the mess that was the mid-sixties. (Kolodny) To study Lot 49 is to decrypt Pynchon’s encoded messages and enter split–level consciousness, to read the narrative against the counter–narrative of historical allusions, to find how skepticism toward government is central to Pynchon’s work. When we do, we find Lot 49 to be Pynchon’s encrypted meditation on the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy."


So - this little book may have presented the antipode to our comfortable expectation of the American Dream, as embodied in the self-willed, popularly-elected presidency.  Who would have known that such shadows might have been lurking in this pleasant little grassy knoll of a book?


Where can I find a PDF of The Crying of Lot 49? - See ALSO:

Gutenberg 1 / Gutenberg 2 / Buy for $5 / Online 1 / Online 2


MORE ABOUT THOMAS PYNCHON - FROM WIKIPEDIA:
NOTE: Like Sallinger, Pynchon was religiously reclusive.  This, and the article noted above, led to such theories that he was the Unabomber.  See the Wiki article for the full story on this.

  • In celebration of the 100th anniversary of George Orwell's birth, (2003), Pynchon wrote a new foreword to Orwell's celebrated dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The introduction presents a brief biography of Orwell as well as a reflection on some of the critical responses to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Pynchon also offers his own reflection in the introduction that "what is perhaps [most] important, indeed necessary, to a working prophet, is to be able to see deeper than most of us into the human soul."[82]. - (Wiki)

  • Pynchon made two cameo animated appearances on the television series The Simpsons in 2004. The first occurs in the episode "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife", in which Marge Simpson becomes a novelist. He plays himself, with a paper bag over his head, and provides a blurb for the back cover of Marge's book, speaking in a broad Long Island accent: "Here's your quote: Thomas Pynchon loved this book, almost as much as he loves cameras!" He then starts yelling at passing cars: "Hey, over here, have your picture taken with a reclusive author! Today only, we'll throw in a free autograph! But, wait! There's more!"[78][79] In his second appearance, in "All's Fair in Oven War", Pynchon's dialogue consists entirely of puns on his novel titles ("These wings are 'V'-licious! I'll put this recipe in 'The Gravity's Rainbow Cookbook', right next to 'The Frying of Latke 49'."). The cartoon representation of Pynchon reappears in a third, non-speaking cameo, as a guest at the fictional WordLoaf convention depicted in the 18th season episode "Moe'N'a Lisa". The episode first aired on November 19, 2006, the Sunday before Pynchon's sixth novel, Against the Day, was released. According to Al Jean on the 15th season DVD episode commentary, Pynchon wanted to do the series because his son was a big fan.- (Wiki)

  • In July 2006, a new untitled novel by Pynchon was announced along with a synopsis written by Pynchon himself, which appeared on Amazon.com, it stated that the novel's action takes place between the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the time immediately following World War I. "With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead", Pynchon wrote in his book description, "it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred." He promised cameos by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi and Groucho Marx, as well as "stupid songs" and "strange sexual practices". Subsequently, the title of the new book was reported to be Against the Day and a Penguin spokesperson confirmed that the synopsis was Pynchon's.[45][46]. - (Wiki)

Tags: Márquez - Gabriel García, all * entropism, amazing writers, bb - security - cia, beat poets, bohemians, books - '1984', books - 'crying of lot 49', books - 'gravity's rainbow', books - 'love in the time of cholera', books - 'v', coincidence / synchronicity, communication theory, decline of empire / collapse of empire, entropy * & see physics / time, entropy - maxwell's demon, heisenberg - werner, hermits and recluses, hippies, history - 1893 world's fair, hollander - charles, kennedy assassinations jfk rfk, offings and knock-offs, orwell - george, paradox - zeno's paradoxes, physics - entropy / & see entropy, physics - uncertainty/ indeterminacy, physics for poets, postmodernism, presidency, pynchon - thomas, rappopport - john, satire - works of, the coup, tv - 'simpsons', unabomber, wallace - david foster, zeno of elea, zeno's paradoxes
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