What does Thomas think about the oil spill? A new jigsaw puzzle knows the answer!
A few days ago I came across a jigsaw puzzle of the wreck of SS Frank H. Buck. After reading Charles Manson is lurking about in Pynchon’s ‘Inherent Vice’ I googled him to see if he was honored with a jigsaw. Put yourself in the mind of the person who has Charlie laid out on the dining room table. Are they – stoned? Are we ready for a Pynchon puzzle? For over ten years I notice that many writers have assumed they know what is going on in Pynchon’s head, have put their words in his mouth, and thus defined our culture. Yesterday I saw what Broccoli did to her Bond movie. She cut Bond into little pieces and put them together on the silver screen. Wittgenstein needs a puzzle, because who can fathom his philosophy. And, what are Harry and Meghan going to do and say next? A Trump and Andy puzzle would be a masterpiece! These two have altered the American Culture – forever!
What I suggest is, all the pieces be put in the same box – and shot into space! If there are aliens out there, then these clever ones would have no problem putting our Human Jigsaw Puzzles together.
I did a review of Pynchon’s movie that I have come to believe – he loves! He admires my honesty, that I showed I had guts, knowing I was jeopardizing my Pynchon Connection to – Mary Ann! Did he contact her and ask her to stop blocking me on Facebook?!
Last night I came across this fake interview. I can insert my ex-wife in this Literary Make-Believe. Why does Kipen get to do this? What I like about my review, it is a literary work – in itself! What the hell dos that mean? I will answer that in my next Pynchon Jigsaw Puzzle!
What I have done today is put Pynchon in a movie theatre next to Ludwig, they watching a Detective Thriller. Then, its off to talk to the guy who wrote ‘Lolita’ – and the philosophers at Cornell.
“What the fuck does it all mean?”
John Presco ‘Presso’
While the US Coast Guard believes a ship’s anchor may have damaged the pipeline months ago, California’s ageing oil infrastructure will also bear increasing scrutiny. Experts say that the devastating spill is unlikely to be the last, especially in a rapidly changing industry where equipment is primed to suffer from underinvestment and lack of attention.https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=3533
“We are in store for more spills,” says Daniel Kammen, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. “And it’s not because spills just happen.”
Part of the issue is California’s transition away from fossil fuels and toward green energy. The state has some of the most ambitious climate goals in the country, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2045. As a result, infrastructure to support fossil fuel extraction is being phased out in favor of greener technologies. But in the meantime many oil rigs remain in operation, and companies may be disinclined to invest in a sector that’s slowly going out of business.
- Nov. 20, 2006
Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.
The novel plays with themes that have animated the whole of Mr. Pynchon’s oeuvre: order versus chaos, fate versus freedom, paranoia versus nihilism. It boasts a sprawling, Dickensian cast with distinctly Pynchonian names: Fleetwood Vibe, Lindsay Noseworth, Clive Crouchmas. And it’s littered with puns, ditties, vaudevillesque turns and allusions to everything from old sci-fi movies to Kafka to Harry Potter. These authorial trademarks, however, are orchestrated in a weary and decidedly mechanical fashion, as the narrative bounces back and forth from America to Europe to Mexico, from Cripple Creek to Constantinople to Chihuahua.
There are some dazzling set pieces evoking the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and a convocation of airship aficionados, but these passages are sandwiched between reams and reams of pointless, self-indulgent vamping that read like Exhibit A in what can only be called a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Dozens of characters are sent on mysterious (often half-baked) quests that intersect mysteriously with the mysterious quests of people they knew in another context, and dozens of portentous plot lines are portentously twined around even more portentous events: the appearance of a strange figure in the Arctic, a startling “heavenwide blast of light”, the hunt for something called a “Time-weapon” that might affect the fate of the globe.
Whereas Mr. Pynchon’s last novel, the stunning “Mason & Dixon,” demonstrated a new psychological depth, depicting its two heroes as full-fledged human beings, not merely as pawns in the author’s philosophical chess game, the people in “Against the Day” are little more than stick figure cartoons.
Thomas Pynchon Unmasked
The great California writer—if unknowingly—answers our questions about a U.S. Department of Jesus, moving back to the Golden State, and winning a Nobel Prize.
BY DAVID KIPENFEB 24, 2020ILLUSTRATION BY JOE CIARDIELLO
Thomas Pynchon has never, ever granted an interview. This titanically talented writer guards his privacy like a flight risk. The National Enquirer recently stalked Pynchon for six months before stealing a photograph of him as he voted at his local polling place, which, to some of us, was like shooting a GI in the act of raising the American flag. Pynchon’s stance is that of every private writer: let the books speak for themselves.
The following Q&A takes very literally this reticent author’s plea. Here is the story of Pynchon’s life and work, with a particular focus on California, as told via his nine books. His answers are his own words, taken verbatim, one book at a time, from V. up through Bleeding Edge. A fine writer and his characters may think they’re discussing other things, but it’s my contention that every author’s keyboard is a polygraph. Pynchon—funny, prophetic, menschy, Californian to his fingerprints—writes his autobiography with every line.
First the facts: Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. was born on May 8, 1937, in the Long Island, New York, city of Glen Cove. He entered Cornell as an engineering physics major, then turned a page in the course catalog and found a second home in the English Department. After graduation, he worked in Seattle as a technical writer for Boeing and spent time in, among other places, Mexico City and Guanajuato. Somewhere in there, he wrote one of the best American first novels of the past century, 1963’s V., where we begin.
DAVID KIPEN: Where should we look first to understand you?
THOMAS PYNCHON: To the west coast.
KIPEN: But you’re a Yankee whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower! How would you describe your childhood impression of California before you ever visited?
PYNCHON: Happy with westerns and detective stories.
KIPEN: And how did your upbringing among traditional suburban families shape you? What do you remember most about Long Island?
PYNCHON: The torso of the father solid and sure in its J. Press suit; the eyes of the daughters secret behind sunglasses rimmed in rhinestones…. Who could escape? Who could want to?
KIPEN: Escape to where? What did you want to know about instead?
PYNCHON: How the road is.… What it’s like west of Ithaca and south of Princeton.
KIPEN: You sure found out. You wound up in Manhattan Beach, writing that L.A.-based mainstay of the Intro to Modern Fiction syllabus, The Crying of Lot 49. Tell me, what did living so close to the Pacific offer you?
PYNCHON: A real alternative to the exitlessness, the absence of surprise to life, that harrows the head of everybody American you know, and you too, sweetie.
Being a Hippie involves extensive contact with human beings, mostly other Hippies. The word “Hippie” was uttered twenty times in the movie ‘Inherent Vice’. I am not sure why.
The term “Lil Hippie” spew out twice from the faux fog that Kesey brilliantly created in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. I winced with embarrassment! Only when I awoke this morning with a marijuana hangover garnished from the contact high I got as a bonus at my movie house, did I see what work of literature, and movie art, this sophomoric offering ripped off. Does this line jar your memory;
“Hmm-yummy! I sure could use some turnips right now.”
Yep, that’s from the movie Tobacco Road, made from a novel that had a simple plot, and a lot of characters. Erskin Caldwell is an extremely generous author compared to Pynchon who has Doc Bogart the whole damn movie! Somehow, it never got passed over to me – THE PLOT! Doc looked like he didn’t have a clue, either. It is never quite clear – he wants a clue. Reese Withersppon looked like the Ice Lady who was married to the Silver Surfer, but, we don’t even get a taste of her sub-plot, and, off the set she go with a big bag of turnips.
Pynchon is a very selfish author. Twenty minutes into this movie, I struggled to stay awake. I didn’t own a clue why Doc rolled, or stuck in his mouth, another joint, because he never got, clear, or foucessed on doing his job that somehow pays the rent on the groovy pad he has on the Pacific Ocean.
“Not another Marijuana ciggerette! Are you going to start this movie – or what?”
After puffing away, I look for signs of intelligence behind those glazed cocker spaniel eyes. I am flabbergasted, because if I was alone in the office with this – Manson Follower – considering sharing with him my very troubling life problems, I would conclude this off the bat;
“Of course! This is where I always go wrong. I put my trust in the wrong people! Thanks, Doc! But, no thanks! You don’t know it right now, but, you helped me a whole bunch!”
In the movie ‘Chinatown’ the Japanese Gardner comes out of the pond wearing waders, and says;
“Too much grass. Very bad!”
Did I get that wrong? Big Foot busts down Doc’s door, and eats all his weed, which causes Doc to say;
“Are you alright?”
Did I just give away the ending the movie? Who knows!
Josh Brolin should have played Doc, because his pilot light was lit. Josh was really there, wanting badly for the other actors to start acting. And, who is that sidekick, that dimwit who runs into the PI in that alley that gives us a very stingy view of what Venice looked like in 1970. The Art Director must have been high when he backed up a vintage Cadillac next to the front of Volkswagon then shot a groovy scene of the sea between the vintage bumpers.
“C’mon, guys! (Giggle! Snort! Snort!) Work with me here. I just saved the producer a bundle. And, hey, look at that dude sitting on the wall down there. Go get him!” (Tee-hee!)
Actor X, did no acting. Which was interesting. But, the big stars didn’t want to get near him. He was snubbed, on the set of the hippest movie ever made – NOT!
What was going on in the director’s mind? Movie-goers are never supposed to wonder about this. I think he was getting cute with his own stoned states, and took this phrase too seriously;
“Tune in. Turn on. And, drop out!”
Everyone, but Brolin, dropped out of the movie, and left the camera running. Then, some grip said;
“Don’t we got to get something in the can?’
“How about every time Doc goes to the cop station, they knock him on his ass?”
Brolin had a reputation to save after his masterful performance in ‘No Country For Old Men’.. His hiding the dope money under his trailer, along with the machine gun, while his little woman wonders what he is up to – is greatness! He’s doing it all for her. He’s trying to be unselfish. But he’s touched pure evil and total selfishness. He understands he has been cursed. Now, how do you keep the curse away from the woman you love?
I am sure the folks who had their money in this Film Noir suggested they change the title just to lure in a couple of million suckers so they could break even.
“How about – No Country For Old Hippies?”
For Pete’s sake, millions of folks come from all over the place to take in the wild&crazy scene on the Venice Boardwalk, and this fucked-up movie is too high and mighty to go film there? Tourists drop sacks of turnips all over the place, and, Doc is too cool to be seen with them? I mean, this guy is in denial. He is a Narc of sorts out to bust people’s ass! Didn’t he get that pot-laden schooner hauled into port by boat cops? Couldn’t the director and producer allow the stoned movie-goers the privilege of pointing to the screen and saying;
“I smoked a doobie, right there, under the noses of the lifeguards!”
Calm down Mr. Presco. It’s just a movie. Doc is not smoking real pot, he is smoking faux Hollywood movie, pot, pot the grips won’t touch with a ten foot pole. If you keep it up, we are going to have to ask you to leave the theatre. And, didn’t I ask you nicely to turn off your cellphone. Do you want me to take away your tobacco allotment for the week? Turn it off – NOW!
Yes nurse Ratched. But, I quit smoking fifteen years ago.
Do you think this is going to stop me. I’m sure there are other precious habits you might want to hold on to, if you get my innuendo.
The development of the Private Detective and his Snitch, is vital. Consider the Rockford Files and Rockie’s trailer by the surf. Then we see Angel treating Rocky to a chili dog on Pico Blvd. We all got this innuendo, didn’t we? Rocky is the Alpha Male. Doc is a Mutt, and proud of it. Perhaps there is a opening for a new character on Duck Dynasty?
Would someone please burn that straw hat!
A reviewer for the New York Times said it was a good thing that the new generation of hipsters did not get to see the art director recreate a period of time that would interest them. How selfish – and cheap! Just keep staring into Docs eyes, and – your’re there! Here, suck on this, Lil Hippie!
I wish I had been warned. I would have brought my Ouji board to see if my spririt guide could lead me to – THE PLOT. I could not believe I was led to an empty lot during a THE GREAT POT SHORTAGE of 1970, where in the rain, true love is found in a dirty bubble gum entryway. This lost sex kitten is letting Doc know this is what really turns her on, rolling around in the mud like pigs. This is what she came back for…..NOT!
There were shades of Borat here, but, not enough! I think the director wanted to recreate a Pynchonian Marijuana High that he thought he found in Thomas’s books. But, this is an illusion that Pynchon created with smoke and mirrors. What I would have done is lock the cast in a room and show them some Borat outtakes, a couple of Pink Panther movies, and Fillini’s 8 1/2. No dope is necessary. Hippies were very playful people who understood serialism and street theatre. Owning a sense of humor was vital to being a real hippy. ‘Inherent Vice’ should have been shot in black & white with old footage and pics of Venice Beach Beats that was LA’s Lil Italy.
I was reminded of the movie ‘The Umbrella’s of Cherbourg’ the first movie I ever ran out on. I could not get to the exit fast enough as these faux Bohemians meet and embrace at a Esso station. They hug and kiss after almost getting soaked in a good downpour, as a French biker fills his tire up – with free air!
“Die! Bad Art Movie. Die!”
Now to the hideous lines full of sexual innuendo I heard, that filled me with disgust. I dare anyone who is truly stoned to utter them. Thank the goddess for allowing my memory to go blank, so I can not repeat them. However this line will never be brain-washed away!
“Do you want to come over with a bar of soap and wash my dirty feet?”
If you used this great hippie pick-up line on the woman you suckered into marrying you, she would sue for a divorce. If you managed to muster the guts to go up to a table full of fellow innmates and give them a dose of Pynchonite Humor, they would get you while you slept, they beating you black and blue with a pillowcase full of bars of soap. However, if you did some editing, you might have used this line on Ms. Witherspoon, and got her to play with her nipple before you banged her like a male lion.
“Something tells me you are a dirty Lil Girl, and I should come to your house with a bar of soap and give you a long bath!”
It is clear to me Pynchon has not been around women that much. Oh sure, he might have put down his pen long enough to give his woman a quick spanking, then, sent her out to shag some Mexican fast-food, but, he would kill the mood with this request;
“You know what I would like to see. I want to see the Chinese woman at the porno shop go down on you while I watch!”
This scene is the most senseless scene every filmed. Doc should have been hit on head so hard, that he stays down. It was devoid of any erotic feelings. I dare anyone to go through their porno collection to find a BIGGER TURN-OFF. This is not Gene Teirney slinking up to Lov Bensey like a snake because she wants some yummy turnnips, too. A couple in their fifties walked out – before their genetalia swiveled up. This scene may have produced a pay-off if you dress two thespians as Lil Abner and Daisey Mae.
“Hey Daisy. What you say we go into this porno shop and see what the fuss is all about?
“Oh Lil Hippie. I thought you would never ask. You sure know how to make my nipples hard!”
I live in the Emerald Valley, and rarely do I see anyone walk out of a movie, because, many folks are out of work and are desperate to get out of the house. Another poor viewer heads for the EXIT.
If Pynchon had only dropped a MacGuffin in his story. Then folks would not have had to go back home, mad. They could have followed the bouncing ball.
“Just one bitty bite, Lov!”
There is not one drop of existentialism in this Fumble Flick, either! There is no ATMOSPHRE on the screen. It is a movie DRYSPELL. For sure, no one will attempt to make a Hippie Movie again. This is it! Pynchon and his movie people – SHOT OUR WAD! After the Great Existentialists punted the ball to Pynchon, he fumbles it out of bounds and into the sewer, then giggles like that mad man in Reefer Madness, because, only Tom gets the irony of it all. There was no irony in this movie. There was a shit-load of wasted carte blanche.
In the theatre, two teen girls on pot let out a few earnest giggles, only because they heard this was a Funny Pothead movie. They made sure they got their money worth. They made me chuckle, because, most young women are game for anything. When Josh Bigfoot gets angry in Japanese I am relieved to hear feminine laughter.
Josh is a cute guy. For them, it’s always Sadie Hawkins Day. I raised my hand to cover Brolin’s big jaw, and put a beard on him. I then did my own take where Doc Brolin is alone in the room with Witherspoon, and, the fire in his eyes (after smoking a joint) tells her he’s not going to take NO for an answer. As she goes to close the shades, he rips her white blouse off. The next shot is taken outside the building where we see Witherspoon’s hands clawing at the shade as if she was cornered by a Hippie Animal, instead of being bored to tears by Doctor Whimpy-Pooh, the Marijuana Med Doctor. And, what is that shit on his cheeks?
All of a sudden I am putting a swastika smack dab on Brolin’s forehead. Alas I am having a acid flash-back.
“Charlie, is that you?”
This movie was devoid of TENSION! I yawned when the Nazi bikers rode into the audience. Shades of Von Zipper in Beach Blanket Bingo. I would like to have seen a shark attack in the opening scene, that some folks would catch and talk about at the after-movie glow. There was no glow.
I did find tension in the vision I conjured up of the second script girl from the UCLA film school writing out that Sex Price List, and here come one grip after another, taking out their wallet, and delivering the exact same sex innuendo.
“I’ll have one blow-job, please – to go!”
The only scene that peeked my artistic senses was the glossy images of the Northern Flower Power Cult that was shot using that old Penthouse trick of smearing vaseline on the lens that renders the Beautiful People – more beautiful! Pynchon is fascinated by the Super Mysterious Hippies (with winery) that he traces to Vineland in another poke and self-giggle. This is a slap at his old hip friends, Dick and Mimi Farina, who did their damnedest to convince Tom smoking dope and being cool, was all about being with cool people, flower people who make-up the Generation of Love. As the Private Dick weaves in and out of the elevated consciousness, alas we see A PLOT. Alas we see why Pynchon feels out of place. These folks have no flaws.
Now we get a obligatory CAR-CHASE scene, of sorts, after Doc kidnaps a fellow Stoner from the Super Hippies that take a lot of LSD in order to acquire that look of high intelligence, and gets him home to his Lil Woman, who jumps up and down for joy at his return. There is some movie music here and a wry smile on Doc’s face as something sinks in, and he drives away. However, when the Lil Woman discovers her Big Bum failed to get himself a bag of turnips, she tosses him out on his ear! She’s no fool!
“Damn! Us Super Hippies did it, again. It’s all our fault! I should have known it would end this way. There had to be a villain at some point.”
Last night, I wished I had a Lil Woman waiting for my return from the Regal theatre, she popping a thorizene pill in my mouth – to bring me down! However, there are no hippie flash-backs to be had!
I want to put a closure on this review by recalling the first time I entered a Jack-off shop in Downtown Oakland – in 1977. The proprietor looked like a Palooka, and knew I was a virgin.
“You’ll need some tokens!”
“Tokens? What are those?”
I hand the Porno Teller three dollars, and he looks at me with disgust.
“Give me a fiver!”
I head down a dark hallway lined with dark velvet curtains. A large indsutial mop and bucket partially block my way. I find a open curtain, and enter. I slip a token into the slot, and am beholding my first image of two guys having anal sex. I fumble with the choice selector and hit choice one. A dude is going down on a woman. The screen goes blank. This is when I notice the stainless steel Kleenex dispenser on the wall.
“What is this sticky-stuff on the floor?”
Then I get it, THE PLOT. After I shoot my wad, and leave the booth, the Palooka will come in and give the place a quick mop, because, like all the other jeck-offs, I have an aversion to putting my cum in a lil white napkin! Why? God only knows! Did I get off? Buy my book!
Pynchon’s movie contained no real vice. Like I said, I struggled to stay awake. I did doze off for a few seconds. It was the handful of tokens slipping out of my hand and crashing to the floor, that awoke me.
Now that I am the reincarnation of Kilgore Trout, I am thinking of getting a job as a reviewer of porno movies. I will use the bucket and mop as my rating system symbol. There will be fifth symbol, a bag of turnips, that will denote I really got off on this one!
Hmm! Yum! I got me a big bag of turnips!”
Check out the high octane eroticism in this opening scene. I give it four mops and a bag of turnips with that last morning stretch with firm mammarys greeting the new dawn. This is what being a hippie was all about, the morning romp in the sack! There is a lot of Flower Power in this flick, too!
“Does anyone here have to get out of bed and go to work?”
“Not me!” she squeals with delight!
Unfortunately, folks had to get out of bed to go make this movie.