Cryptonomicon! Comedy! Codes!

Book number four!

Firstly, I find this book hilarious. I've read aloud multiple passages to my friends/roommate (eventually they got annoyed I was reading so much) My favorite was the first paragraphs of the first chapter (Barrens, p. 5)
"After about three billion years of this sometimes zany, frequently tedious fugue of carnality and carnage, Godfrey Waterhouse IV was boring in Murdo, South Dakota...Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass"
excellent. that means the rest of us are stupendous badasses as well =)

I also found the passage starting on page 58 very funny.

Comical Deaths

Okay, still got quite a bit of reading to do, but as I've been reading, I keep thinking about this: from the moment I read Jim Incandenza's microwave-related death on April Fools (and Hal's reaction about something smelling delicious), I've been wondering if every death in this novel is going to be interlaced with some sort of humor. I remember the man who was robbed in the beginning of the novel, and died from a stuffy nose after the robbers put tape over his mouth.

And now we get the absolutely absurd story of Eric Clipperton, who swears he'll shoot himself if he should ever lose a tennis match, and then blows his head away when he's marked first on the rankings. The people at ETA compare him to the Kid who laced his Nestle Quik with cyanide after winning a tournament, and is discovered by his dad, who tries to give him CPR. Then every single member of his family (including the little medically-trained siblings) proceeded to give CPR to the last person who tried to recessitate someone in the family, and "by the end of the nigth the whole family's lying there blue-hued and stiff as posts, with incrementally tinier amounts of lethal Quik smeared around their rictus-grimaced mouth" (437). That moment was tragic, but also sort of amusing to me... very darkly comical.

Selected Transcripts

I loved the whole "selected transcripts of the resident interface drop-in hours" section and found the transcript of the lawyer's rhetorical refusal to deny or affirm his alcoholism for lack of a sufficiently fleshed out definition absolutely hysterical: "Im not denying anything. I'm symply asking you to define "alcoholic." How can you ask me to attribute to myself a given term if you refuse to define the term's meaning?...Am I having pancreas problems? Yes. Do I have trouble recalling certain intervals in the Kemp and Limbaugh administration? No contest. Is there a spot of domestic turbulence surrounding my intake? Why yes there is. Did I experience yes some formication in detox? I did...But what is this you demand I admit? Is it denial to delay signature until the vocabulary of the contract is clear to all parties so bound? Yes, yes, you don't follow what I mean here, good! And you're reluctant to proceed without clarification. I rest. I cannot deny waht I don't understand. This is my position" (177).

Questions, Yin-Yang and ..... a little humor

I have a burning and probably not immediately answerable question: Who is Dr. Lazlo Jamf?
Almost every thread of GR links back to him, yet I feel I don't really know him. We know a fair amount of details about him and his work, but I only feel that I've "heard of him" but not "met" him like I have with Pynchon's other characters.

With that out of the way, I particluarly liked the use of yin-Yang at the end of part 2 to illustrate the inexorable connection between Roger and Pointsman. The system of Yin and Yang is a binary one like Pointsman who may only exist at zero or one. However, regardless of their contrast to each other, they exist as a blended entity in nature. By that token, Roger, lying in the infinite domain from zero to one, provides the necessary link between Pointsman's binary universe and the far more complex real world of a war. In that same real world of a war where man's law and nature's law stand in open conflict, Roger faces the loss of Jessica, his salvation. Roger is among elect, the war has not passed him by costing him his salvation. "Lord Acton always sez, History is not woven by innocent hands" (281).

Going nuts?


For anyone who gets frustrated with the book:

Mind you, I see value in reading this book (at the moment, at least). No disrespect is was just funny.

The Blitz vs The Riviera

When I first started reading Gravity's Rainbow, I instinctively attempted to impose some sort of structure to the narrative as I read. As I continued to read, I gave up on that to a large degree. Since then I've really enjoyed just going with the narrative as it flowed from character to character, from reality to fantasy, and back again. I found the style of the first section to be very reminiscent of what is occurring in London: the constant uncertainty and danger of the Blitz being echoed in the quick changes of scene and viewpoint. The second section of the book also reflects the time and place in which it is set. So far, most of the narrative in this part has focused on Slothrop's time on the Riviera, which at least in regards to the war has been peaceful. This is reflected in the style of the section, which is a bit slower paced and doesn't tend to jump around as much. I found some of the scenes to be a bit more "light-hearted:" the beginning of the scene on the beach, the mock fight with the seltzer and brandy, the toga chase, and Slothrop's drinking game. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things progress, especially as Slothrop becomes both more paranoid, and more aware of what is going on around him.

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