Bad things come to an end as well. This was a long haul. It certainly had its moments. There was enough raw imagination in it to permit being endlessly diluted to sub-homeopathic doses and still provide just about enough inspiration to an uninspired screenwriter to come up with a TV series which is not entirely Lost as far as entertainment value is concerned.
But all in all it required too much perseverance and provided too little ongoing incentive. That not only might be but most probably was fully intended. Still, the ending definitely pushed it too far. It looked like a first time marathon runner who has overdressed and staggers – dehydrated – to what he takes to be the finish but actually falls a significant ‘somewhat’ short of it.
Absent a clue, I’ll remember Pökler.
This is the time of the Great Paranoia. Where good and bad billionaires set up their factions of militant activism preparing a struggle that could lead to enough insecurity to justify a backlash that would provide security for billionaires – of both sides. “Otto is earnestly explaining his views on the Mother Conspiracy. It’s not often a sympathetic girl will listen. The Mothers get together once a year, in secret, at these giant conventions, and exchange information. Recipes, games, key phrases to use on their children. ‘What did yours use to say when she wanted to make you feel guilty?’” A whole generation, which is only now finding the truth behind the adjective ‘lost’ attached to my generation, set up to defend a status quo that will allow this generation to live past a 100 years old, past 200 years old, until a time when death is finally pronounced dead.
“Tits ‘n ass,” mutter the girls, “tits ‘n ass. That’s all we are around here.”
It was prophetical to use the detective story analogy. Everybody is (a) suspect now. Read more »
It is not about us. It is about them. No capital T, just a t. No drama but only performance. “We’ll all use it, someday, to leave the earth. To transcend.” Everything can be forgiven, everything except for the lack of aspiration that is normally called out by the label ‘ambition’. “They were athletic, brainless men without vision, without imagination. But they had power, and it was hard for him not to think of them as superior, even while holding them in a certain contempt.” A time is coming that will be the time for the weak. Emancipation of the weak is unavoidable. In the quadrialectics of strength we have reached the stage where muscular strength is still being compensated for by strength of character. The base movement is nevertheless a movement of removing strength from equations.
It is difficult to like a book (this one) and hate its main character (Tyrone Slothrop) and do both at the same time. But what is difficult is not impossible. The RocketMan stuff is like torture to me. It is endless, pointless and basically narcissistic as far as I can tell: an exercise in showing off unbounded imagination rather then imagination trying to break bounds. Maybe there is an incredibly super-intelligent purpose in subjecting the reader to such a masochistic experience. Maybe the point is that it prepares us to have a more forceful literary orgasm when we finally reach Mexico or Pökel. Maybe it’s even deeper than any of that, but however unfathomable it may be: I hate show-offs.
“Slothrop has the inborn gift of selecting the wrong gear for all occasions, and anyhow he’s jittery, eye in the mirror and out the back of his head aswarm with souped-up personnel carriers and squadrons of howling Thunderbolts.” Whipped I feel, over the buttocks with a rather thin cane. Did it make me enjoy the following quote more? “They want a negative birth rate. The program is racial suicide.” It did not. I would have enjoyed that anyway. Back to the whipping: Read more »
What is paranoia but being haunted by your own attempt at making sense of what you are doing? You know: “This is the kind of sunset you hardly see any more, a 19th-century wilderness sunset, a few of which got set down, approximated, on canvas, landscapes of the American West by artists nobody ever heard of, when the land was still free and the eye innocent, and the presence of the Creator much more direct.” Type of thing. Kind of.
I don’t particularly like Slothrop. I certainly don’t like the intermittent song lyrics. It is not their sporadic showing up I don’t like, it is the lyrics qua lyrics I don’t like. I have no clue how to sing them. They don’t make sense. It is well possible that both the lyrics and Slothrop are intentional nuisances (a bit like this maybe), but I still don’t like them. Go figure. But I do like the hatred of cruelty done to animals: Read more »
Waves are awesome (specifically, but not only, standing waves). It’s hard to resonate with particles. Maybe it is time for the invention of ondulism were it not for the fact that it sounds so very much like botulism. Luckily, it seems that the original Latin string came from undo (stress the last syllable) and that the French got it in their usual way backwards in inverting the vowels in the stem to onde. So, undolism it is (and we’ll regard it as a sign of the universe’s harmony that this word is close to the closely related ‘indolence’). It’s indolence that explains how the way I came to undolism is immaterial, as it is undolism making my indolence in all of this possible.
It is really hard, you know, the Gravity of this Rainbow is weighing heavily on me. Mostly I just read on as if I’m getting in shape for some literary event of Olympic proportions. “But the reality is not reversible. Each firebloom, followed by blast then by sound of arrival is a mockery (how can it not be deliberate?) of the reversible process: with each one the Lord further legitimates his State, (..)” Fuck reality. A wave can be traversed in either direction; it is not the time that counts, it is the wave that counts and how it can be regardless of time, of reversibility and irreversibility.
A book club it is! I guess this would imply more than 2 members, and preferably more than 4. But I’ll ignore that, as I don’t have any prior first-hand knowledge of book clubs anyway and ignorance can be bliss.
I once read a dissertation of a friend of mine. It was about how art always preempted scientific discovery & philosophical insights. At least that’s what I think it is about; neither he nor I ever discussed it, mostly because neither of us were willing to risk to discuss it and disagree. Our children are friends, you see. And that’s just one good reason. Whatever it is about, it is the reason I read Gadamer and on that basis I gladly forgive all the references to Kuhn. I also had, by the way, a friend who was called Kuhn. He spoke a lot about paradigm-shifts in the context of technology. Stuff about how the type of communication that was at that time underground (literally!) would evolve to over-the-air, and vice versa. I am sure he got it from somebody else but that somebody else wasn’t even called Kuhn.
Giving I know nothing about Gravity’s Rainbow, let alone about how it should be read, I will read it as preempting some scientific or societal advance that is – as of yet – not permitting to be fully articulated. Read more »