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Registered: 07/22/00
Posts: 3,107
Vineland, you motherfuckers.
    #757804 - 07/18/02 11:31 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Thomas Pynchon had bad teeth when he was a kid,
I guess. His front teeth are pretty big in that picture.
And out-sticking. He got his teeth fixed eventually, I
bet. Or he got all new teeth. Maybe that?s why this
book wasn?t good. It?s either because he got his teeth
fixed and/or got new teeth, or because he didn?t get
his teeth fixed and they are still too large for the front
of his mouth. It could be either one.
On the back of the copy of Catch-22 I have, Joseph
Heller?s mouth looks like a vagina. Just like. Really
like. It?s obscene. Catch-22 didn?t suck, though. But
I never managed to read another book by him. Even
the one about Yossarian being an old man or something.
All the rest really sucked. I?d start reading and I?d be
like, ?Ehhh, stop sucking.? But they never did.
Thomas Pynchon?s mouth doesn?t look like a vagina.
Not as much as Joseph Heller?s does.
I just remembered that I did read another Joseph Heller
book. It was called Good as Gold. And it was actually
that book that had his mouth looking like a vagina on
the back. The book had a yellow cover with a Jewish
star thingie on it. Because it?s about being Jewish. It?s
a pretty funny book, too.
My copy of Vineland has a black and white picture of
some clearcut forest and some smoke behind it. And
it?s not about being Jewish. And it isn?t funny at all.
Your mouth doesn?t have to look like a vagina for you
to be funny, but it can?t hurt.
But, why Vineland isn?t funny. He?s always making the
cute little references. Like the one about Sean Connery
in the G. Gordon Liddy Story. All those things. I
like references I don?t get. But not cute Dennis Miller-y
ones. But, see, this book is for, like, old people who
smoke pipes and shit. With imported tobacco. Imported
from, like, Turkey. And they?re college professors, too.
And they might actually, like, laugh at that gay thing
about Sean Connery in the mini-series thing. Like,
chuckle knowingly. Because they don?t watch TV, I
guess. They only watch boring TV. And really sick
shit-porn videos that they got at a really seedy porn
shop in Berlin. And they had to disguise it as, like,
The Little Mermaid (1989.) So that there wouldn?t
be a hassle at customs.
And see I put the date behind it like he does! He puts
the date behind the real movies! But not the fake ones.
So, that?s that.
I was pretty disappointed, eh. I read The Crying of Lot
49 first. All the people said, ?Read Gravity?s Rainbow
because it?s super-good!? But I couldn?t find that one at
the library.
The Crying of Lot 49 is like. It was like. Like, six books.
No. Ten books! All overlayed. Multi-tracked! Crazy stuff.
And it had a really. It was like a swamp. A swamp. Or
not. It?s hard to say. But, it had a thick atmosphere. It
had a thick feeling all through it. A crazy paranoid feeling
that was just under the surface. Deeply confusing. It
was crazy stuff. Crazy stuff.
In Vineland, he takes away all the multi-tracked plots,
or tones them down. ?Calm down, multi-tracked plots.
You need to be toned down.? That?s what he said. And
he thins it out. If Vineland was a plain grilled cheese
sandwich, The Crying of Lot 49 would be a plain grilled
cheese sandwich, but if you were high on Benadryl and
all hallucinating and stuff and then you were flying a
crazy rocketship and then the rocketship crashed into
some kind of space creature that can live right out in
deep space, because it might not be what we think of
as ?alive,? exactly. A whole other form of ?life.? And it
just looks like a white cloud. Like a drop of milk in a
glass of water. But it kills you and assumes your
form and goes to Earth to study humans. And then
it understands that it shouldn?t have killed you because
it?s learned that humans live for only a short time or
something. So, it brings you back to life. And the sun
is about to explode, so the space creature moves the
Earth to another sun. And it becomes like a god to all
the people on Earth. Vineland just didn?t do that for me.
It just didn?t come through.
And, see, after I read The Crying of Lot 49, I went back
to the library looking for some more hot action. The big
book put me off because it was so big. And the book of
short stories had a gay cover. So, I got Vineland. And
I read it. And it was way different. Then I read the book
of short stories too.
I actually didn?t read the short stories. The guy wrote
such a terrible introduction to them. He basically said
that they all sucked because he was just a punk kid
when he wrote them. So, I started reading the first one
and it was about the army or something. And I stopped
reading it because I thought it sucked. And, maybe, if
he hadn?t of said it sucked I would have really liked it.
But he ruined it. Nice going, fuckup. You might as well
just fucking hang yourself. I couldn?t even read one of
the stories! I bet the rest sucked too. You?re a fucking
failure and you should die.
But. The Crying of Lot 49 was great. It was clever and
funny and stuff. And there were neat characters.
The characters in Vineland all sucked. All of them. They
were all boring. They were all one-sided. They felt kind
of like TV mini-series characters. Like, I could have been
watching the G. Gordon Liddy Story. They were
pretty much just window-dressing almost. For the plot
and the fancy writing.
And the plot was mini-series-ish too, eh. Not really that
bad. But kind of TV-ish. You know? Like the book started
as a screenplay he was writing as a joke.
And he does like the fancy writing. But, see, here it mostly
just got in the way. He does make some pretty sentences.
And I like pretty sentences a whole lot. Like, he makes
some ones that make you think he?s a really, really good
writing person. But they?re all scattered through.
And there?s the stupid 60?s politics stuff. Nobody wants
that stuff in there. It?s boring and only the pipe-smoking,
as-a-Disney-movie-watching college professor types like
reading that trash.
So. Oh yeah. I tried to re-read Vineland. For the thing.
It?d been quite a while since I?d first read it. And I think
I had to struggle to finish it the first time. Through all
that stupid stuff in Japan. I really hated that part. And
stupid Praire. And her stupid mom. And stupid old
hippie guy. And stupid Brock Vond. So, I tried to re-read
it. I read about a quarter of it. Half, maybe. Reading
about every fourth page or so. And scanning bits in
And. So, I didn?t like it. It was pretty gay. So, you should
read The Crying of Lot 49. And then you should read
Don Delillo. It?s kind of similar! The Crying of Lot 49,
then White Noise by Don Delillo. Then, A Wild Sheep
Chase by Haruki Murakami. Then, watch some TV or
something. Watch the thing where they race the big
trucks. Like big Volvo trucks! Like they have in Europe.
But without trailers or anything. Big truck racing. It?s
on Speedvision. Check local listings.
Thomas Pynchon?s mouth does not look like a vagina
and Vineland is pretty weak. Now go watch big truck
racing. It?s seriously some crazy stuff. These are like
three ton trucks. Or bigger. Bigger, probably. They go
super-fast, too. They?re all modified and stuff. They go
zooming around that track pretty fast. And they crash
lots, too. It?s crazy. Check it out if you see that it?s on.
You won?t regret it.

Edited by bivalve (07/19/02 09:36 PM)

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Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: Vineland. [Re: bivalve]
    #757873 - 07/19/02 12:23 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I did not read Vineland because my library doesn't have it, but I can vouch for the truck racing.

That shit is crazy. They have these big tanks of water and when they use their brakes the water gets sprayed onto the brakes because they get super hot, and there's all this steam that comes off them; then if they use their brakes too much, they run out of water, and their brakes cook and shatter and they crash, but they usually don't let it get to that point.

Those trucks are crazy... I don't have Speedvision anymore though, so I can't watch all the good redneck stuff, not even the European version of redneck stuff. Back when the Nashville Network was the Nashville Network, they had lawnmower racing. That was superior redneck programming. Now they're something else and they just show Night Rider and Baywatch or something. I don't get that channel anymore either.

That guy had big teeth, no wonder he became a writer.


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Snake Pit Champion
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Registered: 08/12/99
Posts: 21,646
Loc: Wexico
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: bivalve]
    #760437 - 07/19/02 11:26 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Good post biv.

You make Lot 49 sound as good as PGF made Vineland sound...maybe.

I think it's funny that you think the book's plot was miniseries-ish, considering TV theme and all that's in there. Probably coincidence.

The characters were kind of one-dimensional, huh?

I still find it weird that the women got so much more detail then the men. This was the only thing the least bit profound that struck me about the book. Maybe he thinks women are more complicated and men just fill the roles life gives them...more adaptable. Or maybe he just didn't think about it.


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Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: bivalve]
    #786290 - 07/30/02 01:36 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow and it's way better than big truck or lawnmower racing; better even than the Dukes of Hazzard.

I'm not terribly far into it yet, but so far it's great. This is my first Pynchon. It won't be my last.


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Registered: 07/22/00
Posts: 3,107
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: Ulysees]
    #787386 - 07/31/02 01:07 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Unless you die in a car accident. Or get shot during
a robbery. Anything could happen. You shouldn't
be so arrogant.

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Power of Lard

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Posts: 5,060
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: bivalve]
    #787597 - 07/31/02 06:19 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In this matter I see little difference between "arrogance" and "confidence." I am indeed confident that I will be alive at least long enough to finish this book and begin another. Thanks for the heads-up though bivalve, I'll take extra care while driving and do my best to avoid confrontation with weapon wielding types.

Anyhow, Gravity's Rainbow is exceptionally odd, and I'm only about 1/10 of the way through it. It's very good so far, and seems to keep getting better. I hope this trend continues, as this is a long ass book.

Doobie, didn't you mention something about Pynchon seeming to express some "ill will" toward the USA? I thought of you when I read the following:

In reply to:

The money seeping its way out through stock portfolios more intricate than any genealogy: what stayed at home in Berkshire went into timberland whose diminishing green reaches were converted acres at a clip into paper--toilet paper, banknote stock, newsprint--a medium or ground for shit, money, and the Word.
... ...
Shit, money, and the Word, the three American truths, powering the American mobility, claimed the Slothrops, clasped them for good to the country's fate.
But they did not prosper . . .

All right, that's enough of that. I left some out for good reason (for me at least); I got tired of typing it. =p
It's probably not a great example, but I thought it was somewhat funny, and like I said, I thought of Doob when I saw it.


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Posts: 21,646
Loc: Wexico
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: Ulysees]
    #790174 - 08/01/02 09:56 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

If it's anything like Vineland, you just hit the tip of what will amount to an iceburg.


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Posts: 5,060
Re: Vineland, you motherfuckers. [Re: Senor_Doobie]
    #791620 - 08/01/02 11:02 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

The tip indeed... I'm farther into Gravity's Rainbow now but still rather a long way from the end, maybe an eighth of the way through.
Incidentally, male characters make up most of the book so far.

bivalve, you should check it out. I haven't read The Crying of Lot 49, but it sounds similar enough; there are lots of different things going on, crazy things, and though I've but scratched the surface, I could pull out a few seemingly seperate plot-lines. Most probably join somewhere along the way; it's as though Pynchon goes splashing water wildly about providing only the faintest notion of what's going on. Has he forgotten? Will he pick up where he left off? Who the hell is this guy, and why is doing that?! Soon enough drops he's left behind begin to puddle together even as he goes maniacly on.

My library didn't have it either, it didn't have any Pynchon. They have some kind of network with all the libraries in the province though, and I just ordered it in on the computer. I could do it from home even! It arrived in a matter of days, a week at most.
So ya, I don't know if it's as good as Lot 49, or better than Vineland, but looking at your descriptions of the two, Gravity's Rainbow seems -so far- something you'd like.

I have my gripes about it, it doesn't exactly flow all the time... This is probably attributable -at least in part- to my agility as a reader. He sure to piled it on though, a sentance should not be made to bear the burden of his expoundings.
Even so, it's really not that bad, especially once accustomed to the ceaseless blathering.
It's a great book. (Or at least the first eight is great.)


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