Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Reclusive Birthday

Thomas Pynchon hits the big 7-0 today. I'm hoping that he gets out and celebrates this noteworthy point in his life, but even if he does we wouldn't know it -- no one knows what he looks like; in fact, a photograph of him hasn't been published in over 40 years.

Short of that, however, and in honor of his birthday, I've posted this clip from "The Simpsons." It's Pynchon's voice, but that's all we know.

An earlier appearance had Pynchon standing on the street inviting folks to stop and have their picture made with a reclusive author. Video isn't available, but this picture -- for those who know how reclusive this guy really is -- is good for some chuckles (sound clip was available at one point, and I'm trying to find again).

Summary of this first episode, written by Erik Ketzan and posted at TheModernWord.com: After Marge finishes her novel back at home, she finds a publisher who decides that it needs some glowing reviews by famous novelists. Enter Thomas Pynchon, cartoon character. Wearing a paper bag over his head (Pynchon may have broken his silence, but we still have to guess what he looks like now by mentally ageing his high school portrait fifty years), he stands next to a flashing sign, reading, “Thomas Pynchon’s house,” pointing. . . at his house, presumably. On the phone with Marge’s publisher, he says “Here’s your quote. Thomas Pynchon loved this book. Almost as much as he loves cameras,” a reference indicating, with sly sarcasm, that Marge’s book, well, sucks. He hangs up the phone, dons a waffle-board sign reading “Thomas Pynchon” (with a big red arrow pointing up at his head), and yells at passing motorists, “Hey, over here, have your picture taken with a reclusive author! Today only, we’ll throw in a free autograph. But, wait! There’s more!”


Dave said...

You are a Pynchon fan then? I have a few of his books on my shelf, but haven't waded into them yet. I own Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland and Mason & Dixon. I attempted GR years ago when I was probably 19 or 20... it was beyond my capacity. Of the three, which would you recommend? I have to finish another book first, but I think I'm ready to give Pynchon a go...

NoVA Dad said...

At this point, I think I'm more of a fan of the Pynchon mystery rather than the Pynchon writing. I recently decided to dive in and get a couple of his books, so I picked up Gravity's Rainbow (along with a companion book that explains the book line-by-line, in case I need help), The Crying of Lot 49, and a book of his early short stories. I've been warned that GR is a huge challenge, and it sounds like you've confirmed that. Perhaps we should try a Pomoxian reading group and tackle it??