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Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon 
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Post Re: Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
So this apparently gay man is taken in by Oedipa's appearance. In an underground world where gender roles are turned topsy-turvy, Oedipa is turning those roles even more than the gay males are comfortable with. But she decides to use man-in-woman's body ruse to try and get his story:

“If you tell me where you got your lapel pin,” said Oedipa.

“Sorry.”

She sought to bug him: “If it’s a homosexual sign or something, that doesn’t bother me.”

Eyes showing nothing: “I don’t swing that way,” he said. “Yours either.” Turned his back on her and ordered a drink.

Oedipa took off her badge, put it in an ashtray and said, quietly, trying not to suggest hysteria, “Look, you have to help me. Because I really think I am going out of my head.”

“You have the wrong outfit, Arnold. Talk to your clergyman.”

“I use the U. S. Mail because I was never taught any different,” she pleaded. “But I’m not your enemy. I don’t want to be.”

“What about my friend?” He came spinning around on the stool to face her again. “You want to be that, Arnold?”

“I don’t know,” she thought she’d better say.

He looked at her, blank. “What do you know?”

She told him everything. Why not? Held nothing back. At the end of it the tourists had been whistled away and he’d bought two rounds to Oedipa’s three.

“I’d heard about ‘Kirby,’” he said, “it’s a code name, nobody real. But none of the rest, your Sinophile across the bay, or that sick play. I never thought there was a history to it.”

“I think of nothing but,” she said, and a little plaintive.

“And,” scratching the stubble on his head, “you have nobody else to tell this to. Only somebody in a bar whose name you don’t know?”

She wouldn’t look at him. “I guess not.”

“No husband, no shrink?”

“Both,” Oedipa said, “but they don’t know.”

“You can’t tell them?”

She met his eyes’ void for a second after all, and shrugged.

“I’ll tell you what I know, then,” he decided. “The pin I’m wearing means I’m a member of the IA. That’s Inamorati Anonymous. An inamorato is somebody in love. That’s the worst addiction of all.”

“Somebody is about to fall in love,” Oedipa said, “you go sit with them, or something?”

“Right. The whole idea is to get to where you don’t need it. I was lucky. I kicked it young. But there are sixty-year-old men, believe it or not, and women even older, who wake up in the night screaming.” “You hold meetings, then, like the AA?” “No, of course not. You get a phone number, an answering service you can call. Nobody knows anybody else’s name; just the number in case it gets so bad you can’t handle it alone. We’re isolates, Arnold. Meetings would destroy the whole point of it.”

“What about the person who comes to sit with you? Suppose you fall in love with them?”

“They go away,” he said. “You never see them twice. The answering service dispatches them, and they’re careful not to have any repeats.”

How did the post horn come in? That went back to their founding. In the early ‘60’s a Yoyodyne executive living near L.A. and located someplace in the corporate root-system above supervisor but below vice-president, found himself, at age 39, automated out of a job. Having been since age 7 rigidly instructed in an eschatology that pointed nowhere but to a presidency and death, trained to do absolutely nothing but sign his name to specialized memoranda he could not begin to understand and to take blame for the running-amok of specialized programs that failed for specialized reasons he had to have explained to him, the executive’s first thoughts were naturally of suicide. But previous training got the better of him: he could not make the decision without first hearing the ideas of a committee. He placed an ad in the personal column of the L.A. Times, asking whether anyone who’d been in the same fix had ever found any good reasons for not committing suicide. His shrewd assumption being that no suicides would reply, leaving him automatically with only valid inputs. The assumption was false. After a week of anxiously watching the mailbox through little Japanese binoculars his wife had given him for a going-away present (she’d left him the day after he was pink-slipped) and getting nothing but sucker-list stuff through the regular deliveries that came each noon, he was jolted out of a boozy, black-and-white dream of jumping off The Stack into rush-hour traffic, by an insistent banging at the door. It was late on a Sunday afternoon. He opened his door and found an aged bum with a knitted watch cap on his head and a hook for a hand, who presented him with a bundle of letters and loped away without a word. Most of the letters were from suicides who had failed, either through clumsiness or last-minute cowardice. None of them, however, could offer any compelling reasons for staying alive. Still the executive dithered: spent another week with pieces of paper on which he would list, in columns headed “pro” and “con,” reasons for and against taking his Brody. He found it impossible, in the absence of some trigger, to come to any clear decision. Finally one day he noticed a front page story in the Times, complete with AP wirephoto, about a Buddhist monk in Viet Nam who had set himself on fire to protest government policies. “Groovy!” cried the executive. He went to the garage, siphoned all the gasoline from his Buick’s tank, put on his green Zachary All suit with the vest, stuffed all his letters from unsuccessful suicides into a coat pocket, went in the kitchen, sat on the floor, proceeded to douse himself good with the gasoline. He was about to make the farewell flick of the wheel on his faithful Zippo, which had seen him through the Normandy hedgerows, the Ardennes, Germany, and postwar America, when he heard a key in the front door, and voices. It was his wife and some man, whom he soon recognized as the very efficiency expert at Yoyodyne who had caused him to be replaced by an IBM 7094. Intrigued by the irony of it, he sat in the kitchen and listened, leaving his necktie dipped in the gasoline as a sort of wick. From what he could gather, the efficiency expert wished to have sexual intercourse with the wife on the Moroccan rug in the living room. The wife was not unwilling. The executive heard lewd laughter, zippers, the thump of shoes, heavy breathing, moans. He took his tie out of the gasoline and started to snigger. He closed the top on his Zippo. “I hear laughing,” his wife said presently. “I smell gasoline,” said the efficiency expert. Hand in hand, naked, the two proceeded to the kitchen. “I was about to do the Buddhist monk thing,” explained the executive. “Nearly three weeks it takes him,” marvelled the efficiency expert, “to decide. You know how long it would’ve taken the IBM 7094? Twelve microseconds. No wonder you were replaced.” The executive threw back his head and laughed for a solid ten minutes, along toward the middle of which his wife and her friend, alarmed, retired, got dressed and went out looking for the police.

The executive undressed, showered and hung his suit out on the line to dry. Then he noticed a curious thing. The stamps on some of the letters in his suit pocket had turned almost white. He realized that the gasoline must have dissolved the printing ink. Idly, he peeled off a stamp and saw suddenly the image of the muted post horn, the skin of his hand showing clearly through the watermark. “A sign,” he whispered, “is what it is.” If he’d been a religious man he would have fallen to his knees. As it was, he only declared, with great solemnity: “My big mistake was love. From this day I swear to stay off of love: hetero, homo, bi, dog or cat, car, every kind there is. I will found a society of isolates, dedicated to this purpose, and this sign, revealed by the same gasoline that almost destroyed me, will be its emblem.” And he did.

Oedipa, by now rather drunk, said, “Where is he now?”

“He’s anonymous,” said the anonymous inamorato. “Why not write to him through your WASTE system? Say ‘Founder, IA.’”

“But I don’t know how to use it,” she said.

“Think of it,” he went on, also drunk. “A whole underworld of suicides who failed. All keeping in touch through that secret delivery system. What do they tell each other?” He shook his head, smiling, stumbled off his stool and headed off to take a leak, disappearing into the dense crowd. He didn’t come back.


Here we have a tenuous but interesting connection between the founder of IA and Inverarity. I had stated earlier that the Urban Dictionary defined Inverarity as a chubby, smiling man whom I compared to a type of Buddha figurine:

Image

In the inamorato's story, the founder of IA decides to immolate himself Buddhist monk style. Seated on the floor Buddha-style, he starts laughing when the ex-coworker points out why he was fired in the first place--slow decision-making. So his story becomes legend and he is elevated to the status of a savior. A Buddha is one who is enlightened. A bodhisattva is one who forestall his enlightenment to help others reach enlightenment first. The founder of IA was about to become literally enlightened by setting himself on fire but he held off to help untold numbers of others to reject the idea of clinging to others or to material possessions which is a form of misery. The whole thing is facilitated by W.A.S.T.E. So we start to see what W.A.S.T.E. is doing: it is an underground movement linking all the various underground movements together. This makes the mega-movement strong and connected. IA was founded to defeat the idea of being in love with anything and that would include money. So did Pierce see W.A.S.T.E. as a threat to his empire and his love for material things? Or did he decide like Andrew Carnegie that money and wealth was a curse and should be dispersed through society philanthropically and was leaving it to Oedipa figure it out or die trying?



Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:26 pm
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Post Re: Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
One must remember at the time that Pynchon wrote this story that homosexuality was still largely a taboo subject in most of America. In this day of people from all walks of life coming out as gay and transsexuals fighting for rights to use the public lavatory of their choice, homosexuality has become somewhat normalized. Gay people have left the dark niche which American society had consigned them to and, through the media, shed some light upon their world for the rest of society to see. In the sixties, the homosexual world was definitely underground. Cities would not allow gay clubs to set up in "safe" areas where children might see. So gay clubs were located in rundown, bad areas that were constantly raided by cops. Patrons were beaten and robbed outside.

Pynchon had foreseen the time when "normal" Americans would want to peek into the gay world and even rub elbows with the gay members of society (not understanding that they probably already knew someone who was gay but hiding it and might even such people themselves). So he creates a tourism industry that takes Americans visiting San Francisco into bonafide gay establishments--The Greek Way implying anal sex, of course--to see how this other population live, that the Pierce Inverarity's of the world would find some way to make a buck off them, to cheapen their existence and reduce them to a marketable commodity. For that is what it ultimately means to be accepted into the American mainstream, to have a price tag hung on you, to be exploited and used up. If you're lucky, the capitalist elite finds a way to milk you again through "retro" nostalgia. But the presence of the muted post horn inside the bar lets us know that no matter how marketable the gay community might become in the future, there will always be some part that remains underground, silent and waiting.



Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
[Sorry to have gotten away from this for so long. So much has happened. But I should get back to this.--DB]

Oedipa sat, feeling as alone as she ever had, now the only woman, she saw, in a room full of drunken male homosexuals. Story of my life, she thought, Mucho won’t talk to me, Hilarius won’t listen, Clerk Maxwell didn’t even look at me, and this group, God knows. Despair came over her, as it will when nobody around has any sexual relevance to you. She gauged the spectrum of feeling out there as running from really violent hate (an Indian-looking kid hardly out of his teens, with frosted shoulder-length hair tucked behind his ears and pointed cowboy boots) to dry speculation (a horn-rimmed SS type who stared at her legs, trying to figure out if she was in drag), none of which could do her any good. So she got up after awhile and left The Greek Way, and entered the city again, the infected city.


So, again, Oedipa is woman caught up in a man's world where even the women are men and the other men are not even sure if she isn't really a man. Despite her being a woman, she isn't welcome, only cross-dressing men are. It is a world where there is no place for women except to give birth to male children, the future movers and shakers of the world. A world where men do not understand women and don't want to (remember Fallopian's contemptuous retort to Oedipa when she told him about the muted post horn she found drawn on a wall in the ladies' room at The Scope: "Women. Who can tell what goes on with them?") In the world of the IA, the chasm is so deep that people are even afraid to fall in love. Today's "incel" phenomenon is subverted from men who crave sex from women but can't get it to men who crave nothing from women and who just want to be left utterly alone. Their celibacy isn't involuntary but entirely and willingly self-imposed monk-like, hermit-like. And yet the misogyny inherent in both viewpoints appears to spring from the same source and seems every bit as misguided and dangerous.

And spent the rest of the night finding the image of the Trystero post horn. In Chinatown, in the dark window of a herbalist, she thought she saw it on a sign among ideographs. But the streetlight was dim. Later, on a sidewalk, she saw two of them in chalk, 20 feet apart. Between them a complicated array of boxes, some with letters, some with numbers. A kids’ game? Places on a map, dates from a secret history? She copied the diagram in her memo book. When she looked up, a man, perhaps a man, in a black suit, was standing in a doorway half a block away, watching her. She thought she saw a turned-around collar but took no chances; headed back the way she’d come, pulse thundering. A bus stopped at the next corner, and she ran to catch it.

Having now been initiated into this underground, Oedipa now starts to see its influence everywhere around her where before she had been so blissfully unaware. But she's not sure it's as widespread as it looks. Some of the muted post horns might just be her imagination. Then she sees a man in a black suit watching her—or is he? She takes no chances and flees.

So, the key word here is paranoia. We are delving into a fringe of society that thrives on secrecy and conspiracy theory where the most innocent of occurrences carry the most sinister and evil of intentions from shadowy agencies or entities that orchestrate these scenarios behind the scenes and disguising them as ordinary random occurrences. We enter the world of the occult. The word "occult" means hidden or secret from the Latin. By the early 16th century, it meant that which was not to be divulged. Later in the century, it took on the meaning that which cannot be comprehended, which was beyond understanding. By the 17th century, occult had come to be applied to magical traditions as alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, astrology, summonings, spell-casting, prophecy, scrying, witchcraft, devil worship and tarot. By the 20th century, UFOs and aliens could be added to the list of the occult. The contacteeism fad of the 50s was overtly occult where Invisible Colleges were replaced with Great Galactic Councils watching over humanity and making sure we never get too close to being gods lest we destroy the earth. Of course, why they allowed us to develop the atomic bomb if they were so concerned about our warlike ways is certainly something to question.

Part of the occult tradition has been the rejection of science or the appropriation of it for their own purposes (in which case, it isn't really science anymore). So, the impossible becomes possible, the unreal becomes real, the irrational becomes rational. There are always villains in back of everything. Nothing is random, everything is strictly determined and purposes are always nefarious. Underneath the entire history of the human race lie ulterior motives. So, the man in the black suit that Oedipa spies becomes a sinister agent. In modern times. the human race has even combined disparate areas of conspiracy into one. Hence, UFOs, Sasquatch, alien abduction and men in black are frequently featured together. For some UFO conspiracy advocates, the words "angel" and "demon" are interchangeable with "alien" and they believe praying and quoting bible verses actually ward off these aliens and prevent them from being abducted. It’s really the same old superstition wrapped up in science-fiction garb.

But here we are specifically concerned with the Men In Black or MIB as they are called because they feature in our story. The MIB came into the national consciousness in 1947 when a man named Harold Dahl and his crew aboard a marine salvager off the coast of Maury Island in Washington state spotted six doughnut-shaped UFOs hovering over them. One appeared to be in some kind of trouble and the other craft surrounded it. According to Dahl, the middle craft "shuddered" and released a barrage of "metal slag" that rained down on the salvager and its crew causing injury, damage and the death of Dahl's dog which was also onboard. This debris was afterwards collected and turned over to two military officers from McChord Field Air Force Base whose plane then stalled out in midair causing it to crash, killing both men and destroying all their evidence. Then a man dressed in a black suit and driving a black car arrived to visit Dahl and told him that bad things could happen to him and his family if he continued publicizing his sighting so he publicly stated the whole thing had been a hoax.

In 1953, one of the world’s original UFO researchers, Albert K. Bender, mysteriously shut down his organization, the International Flying Saucer Bureau. No one knew why. In 1962, Bender revealed in his book, Flying Saucers and Three Men, that he had been visited by three MIB who had basically put the fear of God into him and convinced him to get out of the UFO business. From that point on, the MIB became a cultural fixture in the American fringe and spread around the world. The MIB became a phenomenon unto themselves within UFO circles. They are, in fact, the creepiest aspect of ufology and conspiracy theory.

Image

These "men" are often said to talk like robots or in a strange singsong manner. They generally wear dark glasses, black hats and black suits, shoes and ties with a white dress shirt. But there are stories of MIB dressed in military officers' uniforms. They seem otherworldly and their clothes often don't seem to fit them right, as if they aren’t fully human. Some walk and sit very stiffly. Some are very tall and others very short. One strange thing I've noted is that in the 1960s, MIB were said to be dark and Asian or Indian looking but are now almost all uniformly pale or doughy in complexion. Their hair is usually black but not always. It is often worn too long for government agents or military personnel. Their hair often appears to be a wig or hairpiece as though they are completely bald. Some MIB look identical being the same height and having the same face. Some appear to be robots but others seem quite human. They are said to be very intimidating and exude an aura of pure malevolence or evil.

The MIB show up generally after a witness sights a UFO even when the witness has told no one about the sighting. They do not identify themselves either by name or organization. They would then intently question the witness, sometimes for hours, about the sighting. They usually appear in threes but not always. Usually, one man would do the talking while the other two just stood there silently looking evil. At least one of them would stare at the witness throughout the interrogation, never taking his eyes off the person. Very unnerving to say the least. They often showed up in a large, black, official-looking car but sometimes would arrive and depart unseen and often would do so impossibly fast, e.g. they might leave the apartment of a witness, closing the door behind them and when the witness would immediately open the door to watch them leave, would find the hallway deserted and no one outside. The witness would then continue to have UFO encounters and, each time, these would be followed by a visit from the MIB or by a strange phone call warning the person to remain silent. If the witness mailed something off to another party concerning his experiences, the MIB would show up on his doorstep holding the envelope or package, telling him that he was becoming a problem and if he knew what was good for him, to keep silent (here, they have a very eerie and striking resemblance to Pynchon's Trystero agents subverting the mail service). They warn the witness to keep silent about the sighting or bad things will happen. They seem to possess telepathy. While they can be polite, they are never friendly.

The stories about these MIB are rather creepy or comically odd and I'll give a few case histories to illustrate the point. I am not saying any of these stories are true as that doesn’t matter for our purposes:

-Abductee Betty Andreasson revealed that on June 8, 1978 at her rather secluded home in Ashburnham, Massachusetts at 5:35 p.m., she and her daughter, Bonnie, were the only ones there when they noticed two disturbing figures outside in the driveway apparently looking over the property. One man was dressed in a pressed black suit, was very tall, and had an extremely high forehead. His very black hair provided a sharp contrast with his very pale skin. His partner was very short, dressed in a khaki jacket, and walked with a very strange shuffling gait. The tall man moved his arms in a very stiff way, unwilling or unable to bend them at the elbows. Betty and Bonnie were too frightened of these weird-looking “men” to confront them and thought of calling the police. But then some cars came over the hill nearby and the “men” scurried behind some bushes. The tall one pointed at something in his stiff, elbowless way. Then the pair disappeared behind a stone wall and a moment later, two automobiles were seen driving away.

-In the late 2000s, author Kurt Sigurdson was Yeti-hunting near Crescent City, CA. He was an avid Sasquatch-hunter and had done it a number of times but on this occasion, he actually saw a Sasquatch approach him while he sat in his jeep parked near a swamp. In 2014, he relayed the incident. He was parked along a deserted stretch of road by a swamp in the late twilight when he saw the Sasquatch approaching him. Sigurdson realized what an extremely rare opportunity this was and he was both thrilled and scared to be in this situation and rolled up his window because he was scared. Suddenly, a car pulled up behind Sigurdson. One of the occupants in the car had what Sigurdson described as a "strobe device" of the type that he and his father used when they scuba-dived when he was a boy. He described it as big and bulky with a pistol-grip but didn't believe they made them like that anymore. The person with the strobe shined it at the Sasquatch which Sigurdson said "bellowed" and took off across the swamp. Sigurdson was angry at what he thought initially were two Sasquatch-hunters or "Bigfooters" as he called them ruining his opportunity to see one of these creatures up close. "So these guys then proceed to pull up next to me," said Sigurdson, "and they are in this like old-style, late 1970s, uh, this compact Japanese-style vehicle. It looked like a Datsun or an early Toyota. And, uh, I don't know if they made Toyotas back then, maybe a Honda. It actually looked like a Datsun, frankly, which I know most people haven't even heard of Datsun at this point but that's what it looked like. And these guys, I got a good look at 'em, they had high cheekbones, they had a very kind of a gold complexion, ya know, I'm like Scandinavian, so when I was in Iceland, I saw a few people with this complexion, there are humans with this complexion and it's very unusual and I think the Icelanders even have a special kind of phrase for it cuz it's attractive but it's weird. It's just very golden and mixed with the light-colored hair and the high cheekbones and these guys were handsome but like they just, uh, the guy in the passenger side just looked at me like I was a bug or something like I was the most vile, annoying zoo animal or something that was out of line and required some sort of intervention or whatever. And so, uh, they had light-colored eyes, not piercingly light blue eyes but, ya know, kind of light-brown hair cut fairly short. And they were wearing matching it looked like, um, plaid shirts that looked kind of well pressed and most plaid is kind of rumpled. People don't wear it pressed so it was kind of weird. They were way too big for the vehicle. They were just huge in that--they dwarfed the vehicle inside. I don't know how big they were, it's hard to tell but, you know, well, well over six feet tall. And so this guy proceeds to take out his diving light thing and I know this sounds ridiculous cuz it sounds like Men-In-Black but it really happened and he points it at me and I looked away thinking I would be okay but it reflected off the foliage on the other side of my jeep and blinded me--and this is the weird thing--so it blinds me but normally if you look at a light bulb or something weird, you look at the sun, I don't know, you get blinded for a second but I just remember like when I looked up they were already way up on this little bridge flashing out over the swamp. So I don't know how much time had elapsed but, uh...and then I honestly can't remember what happened. I try to remember but it seems like they might have come and parked behind me and I took off or I drove around them when they were on the bridge--I can't honestly remember. It wasn't that long ago so it's disturbing that I can't remember what happened. I just remember driving really fast back to Crescent City to a motel and checking in and my left eye was just killing me and it felt like I had a sty in it or something and I'm not prone to that and since it happened, I've been getting these little sores in the corner of that eye and it even makes my eye twitch. So that night I, uh, [gasps] I just... [breathes heavily] I, uh...I, um, couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat and I couldn't hold down fluids and, uh, [gasps heavily and clears throat and sounds near tears] anyway I don't like talkin' about it. It just was putting a kink in my, uh [voice breaking], Bigfooting experiences after that. I just kind of quit doing it [clears throat]."

-In 2005, a postal worker in Washington DC, who does not wish to be identified (for this reason, we’ll simply call him PW), claimed to have the following encounter: PW had to make deliveries to a certain government building that had extremely extensive surveillance all around it. When he went inside to drop off mail, he found the only place he had access to was the mailroom. No other part of the building was open to him. PW had to press a buzzer to be let in. This went on for a few weeks. Then one day, as he was making his run to the building, PW saw “three figures crossing the street on their way to the building. At first glance, I thought they were normal. But as I looked closer, I was shocked at how strange they were. They were extremely thin and they didn’t walk by putting one leg in front of the other but sort of waddled by moving their whole bodies from side to side lifting one foot off the ground then the other foot in a whole body side-to-side waddle. But as strange as this was, this was not what frightened me. What frightened me was that they were absolutely thin! It was like they were as flat as a set of clothes that had been ironed. Their faces and bodies were entirely flat—no contours. The nose did not jut out—nothing. And they were also extremely thin. The best I could describe it is if you saw a suit hanging from a clothes hanger, that would be about the same thickness. It was like no thickness at all, just clothes hanging from a hanger. All three were dressed in black suits. They all had black sunglasses.” As PW watched, the three figures walked up to the door of the building and rang the buzzer. They were given admittance in a few seconds. “I was absolutely scared shitless as I had just been about to enter that same building. I really wasn’t sure what to do but I kind of steeled myself and slowly forced myself to ring the buzzer and enter the building figuring, ‘Hey, I might have imagined this.’ In any case, I should force myself to go through my routine until I can think this thing out. When I entered the mail room, there were like 10 (normal) men standing there just looking at me. It was really intimidating. They asked me if I had seen anything. I was kind of speechless for a second and one of THEM walked right up to me from the side and slightly behind me. I could tell it was one of the same types of things that I had seen crossing the street. It walked right up to me and I was too afraid to turn my head to the side and look at it. I am very scared just typing this right now, remembering it. It didn’t say anything, it just got right up close to me and I had a feeling of fear so intense. I felt as if my heart had just frozen and was going to fall out of my body onto the ground. Again, they asked me, ‘Did you see anything? What did you see?’ I just shook my head and stammered, ‘No, I didn’t see anything!’ PW said there was no way they couldn’t tell that he was terrified. “I thought they might hold me there and not let me go. But finally they said, ‘Okay, leave now.’ The MIB that was to my side and a little behind me kind of took a step back to make way and I had to steel myself to actually walk past it on my way to the door and I was out of the building. It is the bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” PW thought about the encounter when he got home. “At the time, I had never heard of the MIB. I had no idea what that thing was or what the government was doing. All I knew was that I was dealing with something far more powerful than me. I thought maybe it was some new type of robot and the government was doing test-runs on them but why that would be done in broad daylight I could not and still do not understand.” PW was so frightened that his first thought was that he should leave the country but then thought that if he did that, they might find that suspicious and track him down and kill him so he decided to do nothing and act as normal as possible. A short while later, he was assigned a new route by his supervisor who did not know why PW was being reassigned but told him that the order to reassign him came from higher up. As soon as he could procure new employment, PW quit but he still puzzles over what he saw that day and why it happened. He is adamant that, in spite of the weird flat creatures, the building was a government building being run by ordinary humans.

-This story happened in Japan. A man identified only as Kenji was a blogger and wrote about weird occurrences, cryptozoology (bizarre animals), UFOs and the like. One night while sitting in a nearby bar, he noticed three men come in. They superficially resembled the Japanese but were taller than most Japanese men. They wore black suits and ties but because the men were so thin, the suits were loose-fitting. They had very long fingers—a common trait of MIB. They looked like a mixture between Japanese and Middle Eastern but their skin was very smooth and looked almost translucent making them look sickly. They sat at a nearby table. They conversed in Japanese but with a weird accent that Kenji had never heard before. They ordered drinks but when they were brought over, they didn’t drink them. Once man tasted his drink, sort of grimaced and never touched it again. They sat still, occasionally fidgeting but otherwise doing nothing. One man attempting to use his cell phone but didn’t appear to know how and dropped it on the table. Other people in the bar began to stare at the strange men. Kenji felt they were there because of him and got up to leave. That’s when the one closest to him suddenly turned and started to converse with him. He remarked what a cold day it had been when, in fact, it was the middle of the summer and the day had been rather hot. The man wanted to know what Kenji did for a living. He told them. The man remarked that there must not be much money in it. Kenji asked them who they were and the man said they were businessmen just passing through. When Kenji tried to excuse himself, the man asked him to stay and they’d buy him a drink. During this time, the other two men did not speak but merely sat, one of them fidgeting with the chopsticks on the table as if he had never seen chopsticks before. The man said why go home and write about UFOs when he could stay with them and they would buy him drinks. The other men laughed at this point and Kenji said their laughter was humorless and menacing and raised his hackles. He felt scared and excused himself. Kenji said that maybe these really were businessmen and he misread the situation but these were the strangest businessmen he had ever seen.

-Author John Keel has written extensively about the MIB in his now famous 1975 book, The Mothman Prophecies, concerning UFO activity and the appearance of a terrifying flying “man” with hypnotic, glowing red eyes that the press dubbed the Mothman. The activities of the UFOs, the Mothman and the MIB culminate in the collapse of the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River between in Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Gallipolis, Ohio on December 15, 1967 killing 46 people. After the tragedy, Mothman was seen no more in the area although the people of Point Pleasant have never forgotten him. Keel’s book was made into a movie in 2002. The story begins with a sewing machine salesmen name Woodrow Derenberger returning to his home in Mineral Wells, West Virginia one rainy night along I-77 from Ohio when a strange car passed him at amazing speed. This strange car had what Derenberger described as a “kerosene lamp chimney” and rode a few inches above the ground apparently having no wheels. This car cut Derenberger off forcing him to brake to a stop. A man dressed in black exited the “car” which then levitated about 40 feet into the air and hovered there. This strange man approached Derenberger wearing a large grin. He telepathically asked Derenberger to lower his window as he wanted to talk to him and that he meant no harm. Derenberger rolled his window down and the man asked Derenberger his name and then told him that his name was Indrid Cold.

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Derenberger and Cold talked about the distant town of Parkersburg whose lights were off in the distance. Cold seemed unacquainted with simple earthly things. Finally, Cold told Derenberger that he had enough information and thanked him saying they would meet again. The grinning man walked back towards his vehicle which lowered itself to the street. Cold got in and the “car” zoomed off into the night at tremendous speed and was gone in a few seconds. Since that time, many people have claimed to have met Indrid Cold whom many believe to be an MIB.

We will now examine the role of MIB down through the ages.



Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:31 pm
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Post Re: Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
DB Roy wrote:
This is not written to get you to read the book. You should read it beforehand. That's not hard because it is very short--a novella, really--and you don't have to buy it as the text is available on the internet. If you read this essay without having read the novel first, it will be spoiled for you because I intend to analyze every part of it from beginning to end. I hope you find it engaging and educational. It certainly was educational for me.

This looks like a lot of fun. It helps me see why Pynchon is considered such a genius. It also helps make sense of why Franzen's "The Corrections" was so well received. I mean, it's good writing, but I think a lot of what made it "significant" was that it worked off Pynchon. At least, judging by what you have here.

The bad news (for me) is I'm not sure I'm up to reading "The Crying" right now. Even though it isn't that long. The good news is that it doesn't look to me like "spoiler" is a serious problem. As with a lot of good literature, it looks like it will be better the second time than the first. Because the meat is more in the writing than in the plot.

So maybe I will just read through your excerpts and comments at a leisurely pace. Enjoying them so far.



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Post Re: Essay on "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
My profession is a Teaching and writing. I am providing my services as a writer in a company and as a teacher in a school. My company provides online help and services to students for their assignment related problem best Assignment Help and others.


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