Entertainment is back again


One of the major themes of the other three novels that we've read so far has been entertainment, particularly film. I feel like I even wrote a blog entry or had a discussion with someone or something pretty early on in the course talking about how people sometimes imagine their lives to be a movie. And voila, in this section of Cryptonomicon we get people imagining another person's life as a movie:

"Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse's widow and five children agree that Dad did something in the war, and that's about it. Each of them seems to have a different 1950s B-movie, or a 1940s Movietone newsreel, in his or her head, portraying a rather different set of events. There is not even agreement on whether he was in the Army or the Navy, which seems like a pretty fundamental plot point to Randy" (639-640).

I think it's funny (and also kind of sad) that even Lawrence's own wife doesn't know what he did in the war (all her time was spent in the church, apparently). So instead of trying to find out, everyone just imagines his or her own view of his life, and that's that. Plus, it's not even a good movie (since it is B-list, after all). I thought Stephenson's language here was also interesting in that it kept with the theme of entertainment (like using "plot point" instead of "detail" or something mundane like that).

I guess entertainment really is fundamental to the encyclopedic novel.