November 07, 2003
Backtracking a little bit...
We haven't talked about Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 for a while, but I came across a link today that reminded me of the book. A product called WASTE has been developed to provide smallish groups with a highly secure method of communication over the internet. Though they haven't cited Pynchon as inspiration for the name, the correlation is fairly obvious. WASTE is also, of course, the name of Radiohead's own merchandise shop, which attempts to circumvent the middleman in order to sell t-shirts, concert tickets and the like directly to their fans at lower prices.
Not that either one of these websites is horribly relevant to the theme of machine literature, but I thought it was pretty interesting that Pynchon's WASTE began as a fictitious creation but, in a way, has lately been granted its own self-referential existence, yet another case of life imitating art.
Posted by cmeyer at November 7, 2003 08:57 PM
Apparently, Thom Yorke (the lead singer of Radiohead) is a big Pynchon fan. Some of their song lyrics draw from Pynchon's work (e.g., the part of "Fake Plastic Trees" that goes "He use to do surgery/ On girls in the eighties/ But gravity always wins" may refer to 'Gravity's Rainbow'). There have also been interesting comparisons between Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake' and Radiohead's album 'Kid A' (the name of which might refer to Carl Steadman's work about Jacques Lacan which is entitled "Kid A in Alphabet Land")...
Speculative interdisciplinary intertextuality: so much fun.
Links between Finnegans Wake and Kid A? That sounds fascinating, I haven't heard about that before. Is there literature online?
That's neato! Who knew musicians were well read?
I do not think the the line in 'Fake Plastic Trees' refers to 'Gravity's Rainbow'. I believe that line refers to breast implants and plastic surgery. 'Gravity always wins' meaning that you can get your plastic surgery, but your tits will still droop eventually. Not to say that they don't reference good literature in their works however, i.e. the song whose title is something about Alligators in the New York Sewer.
I've wondered about a connection btw radiohead and Pynchon for quite a few years now. My suspicions were aroused not by plastic and gravity, but by "karma police" and Vineland. This isn't just a title reference, but a reference to the content and feeling of the novel. Good stuff. I heard radiohead, and instantly thought of Vineland. Check it out. Vineland's fun, anyhow. It'll give you a new appreciation of the song.