Reading Pynchon in 2010, pt.1

What echoes of our times: his future.  Gravity’s Rainbow minces the layers of power like an onion, until you can no longer tell which piece comes from which layer.  The same way many of us feel today.

The money, for example: where has all the money gone?  Where does it come from?  What does $ 100,000,000,000.00 even mean?  Is it literal?  Or more like the made-up currency, the player’s currency they used behind the scenes in Germany in the run-up to WWII?

Another example: the dichotomies of politics, partisanning more and more into opposing forces.  Somebody’s playing it like a video game, but who?

Culture, too, is moving outward, sliding open as if two immense bronze doors until they are parallel, and a gulf has opened between them.  Absolutists on either side who cannot listen to each other; and yet, these doors are webbed across by small filaments: tax minimalists who also believe in the right of choice; homosexual people who cannot marry voting for ultra-cons because they support anti-immigrant controls; progressive liberals who mostly manage to conceal their racism until finding that secret polling screen.

Despite these cross-links, our society is becoming more and more striated.  Left and Right fighting for control, and all of us who don’t play in the game the ones to lose.  Can anything be done?  Can some one stand in the middle and shout to either side?  Reach out with Mr. Fantastic arms and bring us back together into one mass?

In physics, it takes much more energy to fuse two elements together than to split them apart (this is why nuclear fusion power is still on the drawing table), and it looks like the same is true in politics.

It also looks more and more like Pynchon’s novel was (and is) a frightening prophecy.  Metaphorically speaking.

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