The Whole Enchilada

A Server Farm at Night

A Server Farm at Night

Oscar Wilde said it: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” For Thomas Pynchon, it’s not only the true mystery, but the whole enchilada.

There is no introspection or doubt in his novels: Things happen according to a kind of internally generated gonzo energy. In the case of Bleeding Edge, that energy involves—most especially—the Internet, September 11, hidden server farms, insane conspiracies, Russian gangsters, bent right-wing government men, Satanic CEOs, and a sinister firm called that could be either pro or anti government.

What is nowhere are any steps one millimeter closer to finding the meaning of life. That gonzo energy is life itself. Why be paralyzed by doubts, when those omnipresent marionette strings are urging you on to the next adventure?

Okay, no, scratch introspection. What there is, is the energy—and great gobs of interesting trivia and wit. Whenever heroine Maxine Tarnow jumps into action, I want to know what will happen in all these terribly involved situations that would have me, were I in her shoes, edging out the door, down the street, across the country—hell, halfway to Argentina.

Maybe I’m just a big coward. But at least I know what I like, and I do like Thomas Pynchon with his paraphernalia. Maybe Horace Engdahl of the Nobel Prize for Literature selection committee was right about American literature:

“There is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world … not the United States,” he told the Associated Press. “The US is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature…. That ignorance is restraining.”

But it sure is fun.

The Great Benghazi Conspiracy

Attack on Benghazi, or Is It Just a Homecoming Weekend Bonfire?

It does not seem as if the Republicans have learned much from their decisive loss in the November 6 Presidential Election. A few Republicans have repudiated Grover Norquist’s insane no-taxes-under-any-circumstances pledge—and that is all to the good! But the continuing drumbeat on Benghazi and all the swirling conspiracy theories relating to who said what when continue to crowd the Right’s media noise machine.

That all doesn’t matter, does it? Talking points are not deeds. What matters is what is done. In the meantime, the various U.S. embassies and consulates in Islamic and some non-Islamic Third World countries will continue to be targets of opportunistic terrorists. Now Susan Rice is under attack by John McCain and his fellow senatorial troglodytes because she only passed on what she was told by intelligence sources. Of course, that puts her at the epicenter of this conspiracy which has gone on long enough.

I think that the sane half of the country should come up with its own conspiracy theories. Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are paid agents of the DPRK (that’s the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea).
  • Grover Norquist is a traitor and turncoat who is deliberately attempting to sabotage the political and economic future of the United States.
  • Mitt Romney is a robot created by the Chinese and programmed to take over the country; but, like many Chinese products, it was defective.
  • The House of Representatives is infiltrated by the descendants of Nazis who fled Germany in 1945 and who are attempting to build a Fourth Reich based on the teachings of Ayn Rand.

I have always thought that the obvious solution for failed U.S. Conservative wing-nuts is self-deportation to some tiny airless asteroid on a collision course with the planet Uranus. And I say that only because I’m basically a nice guy.