The Crying of Lot 49 and memes

The historical fact regarding the bones is one of the more chilling things I've read, Pynchon's mixture of satirical wit and playful prose, paired up with deeply felt pathos and tragedy that runs as a sort of contrast is what makes this novel really interesting. And then you also open the rabbit hole that is his thesis on paranoia being the symptom of post-modernism and the world that now has an abundance of symbols, signs and truths, and you soon understand why he has come to be so regarded.

If you didn't fell for the "le meme author eksdee" shtick and actually read him, that is.

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The two books that really helped me understand it were McLuhan's Understanding Media and Norbert Wiener's The Human Use of Human Beings. He does a really good job walking the line between paranoia and metanoia and it's never clear of Oedipa is on the cusp of a genuine revelation or just becoming further atomized. One of my favorite books. Extremely prescient.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I've been meaning to check out McLuhan, but want to read Baudrillard's Simulation and Simulacra first.

      And yeah, Pynchon truly does a great job of making Oedipa essentially into a noir lead, constantly searching for clues and being in the dark, making the reader think there's a revelation at the turn of a page, but all you get is more questions and the line is seldom straight. Makes me real excited for rereading it, and seeing what Pynchon is going to do in V. and GR.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Baudrillard was influenced by McLuhan, so you should read him first.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I know, McLuhan is really influential, etc., but read a good paper on the similarity of Baudrillard's book and the themes in The Crying, so I wanted to read it for that, and just in general given its importance. I've recently read Barthes' Mythologies so McLuhan is an author I'm definitely going to check out. Other than Understanding Media, what else of his works would you recommend?

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Gutenberg Galaxy and Medium is the Message. You could also read Preface to Plato by Havelock if you're interested in where McLuhan was coming from. There's actually a lot of (unacknowledged) parallels between the 1960s and the late 4th century in Greece if you take Havelock's word for it, and that's when Oedipus Rex was written. I think that's actually one reason Pynchon named her Oedipa but of course the closed system motif is an obvious clue there.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Medium is the Message
            Massage*

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Alright, thanks a lot!

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Simulacra and Simulation got me into philosophy. It's an easier read than McLuhan but way bleaker since Baudrillard didn't have any religion to fall back on. Definitely don't miss Wiener though if you're interested in the book's thermodynamic motifs.
        >Makes me real excited for rereading it, and seeing what Pynchon is going to do in V. and GR.
        Just don't expect anything as straightforward as CoL. Those books are great but CoL I think feels far more refined. Much less of the author's own subjectivity (i.e. flaws as a writer) in it, though of course many people will say flawed works are innately more interesting.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I don't mind the bleakness, from what I've read and heard of Baudrillard, even watching some of his interviews in relation to The Matrix, I'm really going to get a lot out of reading it. Gonna check Wiener too, thanks.
          And I'm not expecting V. and GR to be tame and conventional works, everything I've heard went to the contrary and I'm hoping the hype that follows them, especially on IQfy given GR's meme status, does hold up. I've read Moore's Jerusalem, I don't think Pynchon is going to be that much more difficult in comparison.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Oh yeah didn't mean to deter you I mean it's one of my favorite books. One of those philosophical works that I think works equally well as literature, along with Nietzsche and Plato.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          lol no

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Riveting rebuttal anon.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Btw, especially for Pynchon experts on here, why is there a subsect of his fans or just people who are familiar with him, who use him to say "oh yeah, he was basically a whistleblower" and strictly use him to "prove" the legitimacy of their conspiracy theories? In that sense, I see a lot of similarities between Pynchon and Kubrick and how their work gets misused for such purposes.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      By no means an expert but I think you're better off reading that as the authors in questions' genius generating its own mystery (there's a thread on here right now nearing 300 replies about the Shakespeare authorship question). Pynchon may or may not have had insider information in MKUltra but people who use his work to dogmatically prove the validity of their theories, literary or otherwise, are better ignored or at least taken with a grain of salt. CoL49 if anything is about how definitive answers are always elusive, especially when it comes to those with power.

      What's your theory though. Do you think Pierce set everything up to gaslight her into becoming his eternal property, or letting his friends have sex with her? Was she on the cusp of a religious awakening? Being inducted into the occult? Becoming schizophrenic? Pick your potion.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        From what I've read about Pynchon, he is definitelly a peculiar person and the fact that he wrote his own lines for The Simpsons cameo is totally in-line with what you expect from him.

        Regarding my theory, not really sure since I don't think I have that good a grasp to give any definitive answers given I finished it for the first time a few days ago, but I'd say I'm leaning towards Pierce setting everything up to gaslight her and so his friends could use her. I don't think there's any great revelation for her to be had in her journey towards finding answers and meaning, nor was his goal to make her a schizophrenic. I see her as a noir lead, she's not that well educated and is unaware of the things going on behind the scenes, and throughout her journey, only discovers how little she really does know and there's no happy ending for her character in the end.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Yeah that's a fair reading.
          Here are some of my favorite essays on it I've read:
          https://paintedblindpublishing.com/2016/09/23/shall-i-project-a-world-a-hermetic-analysis-of-the-crying-of-lot-49/
          https://mendelson.org/TheSacredTheProfaneAndTheCryingOfLot49.pdf

          It is a proper rebuttal because that is all that was offered, provided nothing to support his claim and nothing to discuss. Or are you taking issue at my lack of adjectives to fluff things up and make my saying nothing seem like something?
          [...]
          Maybe in a bit, we will see how the thread progresses, as of yet I see no chance for discussion which gives me no real desire to discuss a book I don’t really care for.

          Explaining why you don't care for it would be interesting enough, since it might elucidate your reading of his thesis. You don't have to fluff it up.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thanks, gonna check these out. I found this one to be extremely interesting:
            https://baudrillardstudies.ubishops.ca/jean-baudrillards-america-and-thomas-pynchons-the-crying-of-lot-49-entropic-symbolism-of-puzzling-the-puzzled/

            OP gets what he gives.
            [...]
            For one you can not actually support it being about a post modern world, Pynchon gives nothing in that regard, he gives us the contemporary world. There is nothing in it to support tying it to a philosophical movement or analyzing it through the ideals of that movement.

            >OP gets what he gives
            This is just your laziness at work, and not because I made a shit effort in the OP. I know this is just how IQfy operates and how the rhetoric here works, but don't you see the value in showing someone why he is wrong, so they can realize their error and learn more in the process? Or are you simply going to stand your ground and be like "do your own work, bud, I ain't here to spoonfeed you."?

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Will read that essay but skimming the first few paragraphs I think your diction is far better than this guy's. He might have something worthwhile to say though. Also if you get into Baudrillard definitely don't skip Seduction.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Read the description, sounds good. Thanks!

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    we're maxwell's demon sorting through the book

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >And then you also open the rabbit hole that is his thesis on paranoia being the symptom of post-modernism and the world that now has an abundance of symbols, signs and truths
    That is not his thesis, not even close.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Why do you people just say "nah, uh", without giving a proper rebuttal and elaborating on your stance, so people like me (I'm the OP), can see where we are wrong and we can actually get a conversation going, instead of one sentence long replies that just sour the thread and dry it up.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It is a proper rebuttal because that is all that was offered, provided nothing to support his claim and nothing to discuss. Or are you taking issue at my lack of adjectives to fluff things up and make my saying nothing seem like something?

        [...]
        Also interested in anon's reading of the thesis.

        Maybe in a bit, we will see how the thread progresses, as of yet I see no chance for discussion which gives me no real desire to discuss a book I don’t really care for.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          It's not a proper one, since all you're saying is "no". At least explain why, otherwise it's as pointless and does the thread no service.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            OP gets what he gives.

            Yeah that's a fair reading.
            Here are some of my favorite essays on it I've read:
            https://paintedblindpublishing.com/2016/09/23/shall-i-project-a-world-a-hermetic-analysis-of-the-crying-of-lot-49/
            https://mendelson.org/TheSacredTheProfaneAndTheCryingOfLot49.pdf
            [...]
            Explaining why you don't care for it would be interesting enough, since it might elucidate your reading of his thesis. You don't have to fluff it up.

            For one you can not actually support it being about a post modern world, Pynchon gives nothing in that regard, he gives us the contemporary world. There is nothing in it to support tying it to a philosophical movement or analyzing it through the ideals of that movement.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >For one you can not actually support it being about a post modern world
            Would post-war world suffice? They mean almost the same thing. I do think the novel's more in line with books Pynchon is known to have read though than later scholarship on Pomo from the 70s and 80s.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >They mean almost the same thing
            They don't unless you can show the post modernist were right since Pynchon does not give us enough to go off of there. Suppose you can reduce post modern to a time period but then it is a meaningless term.

            Thanks, gonna check these out. I found this one to be extremely interesting:
            https://baudrillardstudies.ubishops.ca/jean-baudrillards-america-and-thomas-pynchons-the-crying-of-lot-49-entropic-symbolism-of-puzzling-the-puzzled/

            [...]
            >OP gets what he gives
            This is just your laziness at work, and not because I made a shit effort in the OP. I know this is just how IQfy operates and how the rhetoric here works, but don't you see the value in showing someone why he is wrong, so they can realize their error and learn more in the process? Or are you simply going to stand your ground and be like "do your own work, bud, I ain't here to spoonfeed you."?

            I see the value in showing you that you are wrong but with what you provide that is pretty much closing my eyes and trying to hit the board. I see a lot more worth in discussion but you provide nothing to discuss and leave the door open to move goal posts because your claim is ambiguous enough that you can move the goal posts a good amount while still being "right." Support your claim and we can discuss, I won't even hold you to it being "his thesis" which you can not support even remotely.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Suppose you can reduce post modern to a time period but then it is a meaningless term.
            How's that? It's epistemologically valid, just like Romanticism or Modernism. It describes a time period, which is all I think OP meant. Pynchon was writing about the era and its trappings. The postmodern philosophical assertions don't need to be true, they just need to be what people believed at the time. It's equally productive to read the book religiously or hermetically as it is as a cultural treatise.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >It describes a time period,
            In the context of literature they describe a school of criticism and theory, not a time period unless you explicitly state you are only referring to the time period but even then is not a good thing to do and generally frowned upon since the terms carry baggage. I have no idea what OP intended since he provided nothing to support it.
            >they just need to be what people believed at the time.
            Did Pynchon believe them? Did his character believe them? Did anyone outside of the movement believe them? Pynchon gives us no reason to open this door and it only gets opened because a decade later he got called a post modernist. Ultimately the term is almost meaningless in context of fiction, most of what gets called post modern is just something which can not be analyzed by any established school of theory and criticism.

            So far I have approached you in good faith, but with each reply you simply signal to me all you're in this thread for is to say no, to shut down any form of discussion ITT, and to use me being wrong as a crutch for your own laziness and inability to prove otherwise, which is funny considering you said in one of your earlier posts you're not that big on this novel to begin with, so one must ask why you're even still here replying? If you think I haven't provided sufficent crumbs for a fruitful discussion, might as well offer them yourself or just exit the thread since all you're offering is free bumps with each no you reply with.

            [...]
            >It describes a time period, which is all I think OP meant
            Yeah, I was simply calling Crying a post-modern novel and Pynchon an author who was interested in the cultural shifts and growing cynicism during the era the novel was written, and that one of the core thematic tenets seem to be the abundance of meanings and symbols that are easy to get lost in.

            All you had to do was provide something to support what you said so I have a stable target, go ahead and give it a go. I am here for the slim chance of discussion, I have no issues discussing books I do not care for and will happily do so without making it about why I dislike it since that is besides the point or you being wrong and my being right, but you need to give me something.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Take The Courrier's Tragedy in the third chapter for an example and what Pynchon tells the reader who is going to get bent up on analyzing and dissecting his work down to a t to get at the "true" meaning of the novel. And I don't see how classifying Pynchon and calling Crying post-modern isn't helpful since it defines the literary school he was a part of which and tells you he was opposed to the modernist narrative and approach of making sense of the human condition. In terms of literary theory, post-modernism is defined and only carries baggage in philosophy and our current day culture due to all the baggage Peterson and his ilk have given the term and how basically it has been misused and abused for neocon reactionary narratives that Barthes' called out in the 50s while writing Mythologies and being preoccupied with what he found interesting about France during his day, the politicians, the media and the language and signs they all used.

            Besides, I am a Pynchon novice, so I was trying to give a jumping point for others to come in and engage with so the thread can take its own course and things can develop in it from there.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Just support your assertion.
            >Besides, I am a Pynchon novice
            I know, viewing it from the context of paranoia strongly suggests all you have read is Lot 49 and some stuff people wrote about it/him. Which is fine, you got to start somewhere, I just don't have enough to go on to discuss this with you unless you support what you said. I can easily show how you are wrong just by taking Pynchon on the whole but I would rather be more focused and that takes it out of context of the book itself and your knowledge. Give me something to go on and you will be rewarded, assuming you get around to it before bedtime.

            The baggage of the term has nothing to do with Peterson and has been there for decades, it is the conflation of time period, philosophical movement, and literature movement all of which do no assume the other but if someone does not state which they are referring too there is not sane way to reply. OP's use of post modern world strongly suggests philosophy and as I said Pynchon gives us no reason to open that door.

            [...]

            >So the term applies either way.
            OP did not apply it to the book, he applied it to the world the book represents. He gave us nothing to suggest he was doing a post modern interpretation of it and his assertion could more easily be supported by modernist techniques.
            > It's impossible to say what he actually believes or where his sympathy really lies
            His sympathies lie with the people and that is what he actually believes in. Taking his work on the whole makes that fairly clear.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >In the context of literature they describe a school of criticism and theory, not a time period unless you explicitly state you are only referring to the time period
            Those things are interlinked especially in a book that, like Pale Fire, insinuates itself in its own hermeneutic process. So the term applies either way.
            >Did Pynchon believe them? Did his character believe them? Did anyone outside of the movement believe them?
            Pynchon is pretty explicitly lampooning the modernist monomythological project undertaken by people like Robert Graves and Joseph Campbell in V. It's impossible to say what he actually believes or where his sympathy really lies because his work speaks for itself. You've yet to give your own reading of the book though so I guess we're stuck with orthodoxy for the time being.

            Take The Courrier's Tragedy in the third chapter for an example and what Pynchon tells the reader who is going to get bent up on analyzing and dissecting his work down to a t to get at the "true" meaning of the novel. And I don't see how classifying Pynchon and calling Crying post-modern isn't helpful since it defines the literary school he was a part of which and tells you he was opposed to the modernist narrative and approach of making sense of the human condition. In terms of literary theory, post-modernism is defined and only carries baggage in philosophy and our current day culture due to all the baggage Peterson and his ilk have given the term and how basically it has been misused and abused for neocon reactionary narratives that Barthes' called out in the 50s while writing Mythologies and being preoccupied with what he found interesting about France during his day, the politicians, the media and the language and signs they all used.

            Besides, I am a Pynchon novice, so I was trying to give a jumping point for others to come in and engage with so the thread can take its own course and things can develop in it from there.

            It was always frustrating to hear Peterson and other metamodernists of his caliber prattle on about the postmodern boogieman when he'd probably have gotten along in some capacity with reactionaries like Baudrillard and McLuhan or Pynchon.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            So far I have approached you in good faith, but with each reply you simply signal to me all you're in this thread for is to say no, to shut down any form of discussion ITT, and to use me being wrong as a crutch for your own laziness and inability to prove otherwise, which is funny considering you said in one of your earlier posts you're not that big on this novel to begin with, so one must ask why you're even still here replying? If you think I haven't provided sufficent crumbs for a fruitful discussion, might as well offer them yourself or just exit the thread since all you're offering is free bumps with each no you reply with.

            >Suppose you can reduce post modern to a time period but then it is a meaningless term.
            How's that? It's epistemologically valid, just like Romanticism or Modernism. It describes a time period, which is all I think OP meant. Pynchon was writing about the era and its trappings. The postmodern philosophical assertions don't need to be true, they just need to be what people believed at the time. It's equally productive to read the book religiously or hermetically as it is as a cultural treatise.

            >It describes a time period, which is all I think OP meant
            Yeah, I was simply calling Crying a post-modern novel and Pynchon an author who was interested in the cultural shifts and growing cynicism during the era the novel was written, and that one of the core thematic tenets seem to be the abundance of meanings and symbols that are easy to get lost in.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >contemporary world.
            Yes, the post-modern one in which pynchin lived

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Why do you people just say "nah, uh", without giving a proper rebuttal and elaborating on your stance, so people like me (I'm the OP), can see where we are wrong and we can actually get a conversation going, instead of one sentence long replies that just sour the thread and dry it up.

      Also interested in anon's reading of the thesis.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I don't read books to "understand" them. I read books for entertainment. Pynchon is funny so I like reading him.

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