PE Check123 Difference between revisions of "Chapter 26" - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Bleeding Edge

Difference between revisions of "Chapter 26"

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[[file:Sondegaard-The-Letter.jpg|thumb|caption|Gale Sondegaard in "The Letter"|100px|left]]'''ya dig wid some Sigrid be / the daughter of Kublai Khan...'''<br />
 
[[file:Sondegaard-The-Letter.jpg|thumb|caption|Gale Sondegaard in "The Letter"|100px|left]]'''ya dig wid some Sigrid be / the daughter of Kublai Khan...'''<br />
Describing Gale Sondegaard's character in "The Letter." Sigrid is a queen appearing in Norse sagas as wife, first of Eric the Victorious of Sweden, then Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigrid_the_Haughty]. Kublai Khan &#151; an Asian whose name was well known to Americans in the 1930s &#151; was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294, and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, a division of the Mongol Empire.
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Describing Gale Sondegaard's character in "The Letter." Sigrid is a queen appearing in Norse sagas as wife, first of Eric the Victorious of Sweden, then Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigrid_the_Haughty]. Kublai Khan &#151; an Asian whose name was well known to Americans in the 1930s &#151; was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294, and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, a division of the Mongol Empire. In the film "Citizen Kane" (1941), Kane is referred to as "Kubla Khan" and lives in his palace called "Xanadu" which was the summer palace of Khan. It is portrayed in the well known poem "Kubla Khan" (1816) by Coleridge. In the film "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938) [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029842/],  the character of Kubla Khan is played by George Barbier. AND the leading lady, opposite Gary Cooper as Marco Polo, is '''Sigrid Gurie''', playing Princess Kukachin, an Asian character, and the daughter of &#151; yes &#151; Kublai Khan.
  
 
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Revision as of 11:46, 1 March 2014

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.

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Page 275

formaldehyde
Clothing is coated with formaldehyde to make them "wrinkle free". Formaldehyde is also used to preserve corpses. Most people are familiar with the miasma from frog dissection in high school biology.

The Thug, here rendered in fuchsia and optical green
That is, looking a lot like the Hulk.

Page 276

a mural-size screen grab from the opening of The Letter (1940) in which Bette Davis is pretending to pump six rounds into...
Image and film info at allmovie. Bette comes out with gun blazing at 1:18 into this clip.

David Newell
Supporting actor turned makeup artist. IMDB makes it appear he spent much of his career being uncredited for his work.

Page 277

It's what, legal in Utah for three people to get married?
Despite being illegal, in Utah today, those living in polygamist families number about 40,000 people(about 1.4 percent of the population). Polygamists are difficult to prosecute because many only seek marriage licenses for their first marriage, while the other marriages are secretly conducted in private ceremonies. Thereafter, secondary wives attempt to be seen in public as single women with children.

Page 278

Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray
Dr. Brown's is a brand of soft drink made by J&R Bottling. It is a popular brand in the New York City region and in South Florida, but it can also be found in Jewish delicatessens and upscale supermarkets around the United States. Dr. Brown's dates back to 1869 when their famous Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda was commonly sold in New York delicatessens. [1]

a bit on the demi-sec side
"Demi sec" is a French term for the sweetness of a wine. It translates to "semi-dry" or medium-dry. [2]

folie à deux
French: "madness for two" — a shared psychotic disorder between two people who are extremely close

Page 279

Far from the Channel 13 upper-class dynasty
Channel 13 is a New York City PBS station, PBS being the preferred network for the educated and well healed.

well east of the Nassau line
That is, not in Nassau County which is the 13th wealthiest county in the US with a median income of $93K+. [3]

The Muffya
A bad pun on The Mafia... "Muff" is slang for pussy etc.

Donna non vidi mai
Italian: "I have never seen a woman" - So Rocky is watching Cornelia shower while he eats a pizza and sings this tenor aria from Act 1 of Puccini's Manon Lescaut. A love-at-first-sight soliloquy. "I have never seen a woman like this!" Pynchon referenced the Act 3 tenor solo in Chapter 3 of V.


Down in K-Town they call him '4-D'
Koreatown is an ethnic Korean enclave in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, centered on the block of West 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. [4]

Page 280

the high-muzzle-velocity law firm of Hanover, Fisk
Nice little pun on "hand over fist", i.e., making money hand over fist... Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. So “high” would be very fast! So it’s used metaphorically to describe the law firm, that they’re high powered, handling big cases. This rifle reference connects to the reference to the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle on page 282, the high-muzzle-velocity rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President Kennedy in 1963.

New Zealand kauri
WIKI tells us kauri forests are some of the oldest in the world, that individual trees often live longer than 600 years, and that they are very large trees with volumes, but not heights, often rivaling sequoias.

Page 281

Skadden, Arps
A real law firm in Washington, DC.

Page 282

Mannlicher-Carcano . . . Jackie and I were dear friends
A Mannlicher-Carcano is a high-muzzle-velocity rifle and what Lee Harvey Oswald used to assassinate John F. Kennedy in 1963. Jackie was, as most are aware, JFK's wife and the first lady.

"Jay-Z?" "Well, actually I'm more of a Nas person. As you may know they're in this feud at the moment, that old Queens-versus-Brooklyn thing again, hate to take sides, but---"The World Is Yours," how can anything even compare?
Probably splitting hairs here, but the feud between Jay-Z and Nas didn't become widely known until Jay-Z's "Takeover" was released on his "Blueprint" album, which came out on September 11. Jay-Z did dis some rappers at the Hot 97 Summer Jam 2001 held in late June, but the hardest hit was Nas' friend and Queens resident Prodigy of Mobb Deep, while Nas was only briefly mentioned. You'd probably had to have been close to the inner circles of these rappers to be conversationally aware of the feud which became heated in the months to come. As for "The World is Yours," reference, I agree with the sentiment, and wonder if it was used since Jay-Z sampled it on "Dead Presidents II" from his 1996 debut album. Anyone else have thoughts on this? H2oetry (talk)h2oetry

Also, it was pretty much universally accepted that Nas won the beef with "Ether," on Stillmatic which would be released in December 2001. Nas's Illmatic, from 1994, is by many, considered the greatest rap record of all time, and extremely rare these days, only contains one guest appearance for a single verse (AZ on "Life's a Bitch"). The above question in regard to the use of "The World is Yours," is indeed possible, though most likely it's used here because the phrase references Scarface, which kind of ties into the theme of this part of the book, I'd say.

Tryin to do Tupac and Biggie thangs ... Mort and Pell
A brilliant rap on Caucasians playing Asians in Hollywood films. I'd love to hear how Pynchon imagined this being rapped. Of course, it's performed by Chandler Platt's intern Darren who we know is Asian due to Maxine's avoiding using "inscrutably" to describe how he looks in, "inscrutable" being a stereotypical characteristic of Asians. And the "racist" concern Maxine has is very soon followed by this rap that addresses this "old-movie confusion" and its implicit racism. Darren kicks it off with "Dig it..."

Tupac and Biggie thangs
Tupac (aka 2Pac) Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) who were very successful rappers in the 1990s. However, there was a intense rivalry between the East-Coast and the West-Coast rappers, with Tupac representing the West Coast (Compton, a depressed LA suburb), and Biggie representing the East-Coast scene. On June 4, 1996, Tupac and Outlawz released the diss track "Hit 'Em Up", a scathing lyrical assault on Biggie and others associated with him. In the track, Tupac claimed to have had sexual intercourse with Faith Evans, Biggie's wife at the time, and attacked Bad Boy's street credibility. Both ended up dead, by unknown assailants. [5]

Mao-bank.jpg
With red velvet Chairman Mao piggy banks

Nice rhyme: Biggie thangs / piggy banks ... In other words, Darren, like Tupac and Biggie, is going to achieve fame, but in his own Asian way, the blingy Mao piggy bank representing this. At left is an actual Chairman Mao piggy bank found for sale online. Apparently, they're a common item in China, cheap souvenirs and gifts. Perhaps using Chairman Mao here is Darren's way of using his own preferred Chinese/Asian stereotype rather than those passed down by Hollywood. And down the page a bit, when asked by Platt how he expects to make money, Darren replies that's "not the point," a response a communist/Marxist would approve of.

Page 283

like Screamin Jay in Hong Kong / jumpin to wrong conclusions
Screamin Jay Hawkins recorded "Hong Kong" (1958), a paranoid & non-sensical lament ("Worried about you baby / You been down too long / in Hong Kong") I assume it's Screamin Jay who's "jumpin to wrong conclusions" about his baby. A wacky tune, for sure:


old-movie confusions
The "old-movie confusions" are, I think, about Caucasian actors playing Asian characters, such as in the two films referenced in this tune — "The Letter" (1940) [6] where Gale Sondegaard, an American actress born to Danish-American parents, plays the role of Mrs. Hammond, the asian wife of Davis's manservant whom she murders; and "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" (1933) [7] where all the asian characters are played by europeans. (Yes, Pynchon has "General Yan" — but this covers both an anime character and the 1933 film.) Also, there's also the mention of Charlie Chan, where Warner Oland plays the role of Chan.

Those "old-movie confusions" could also be the general characterization and stereotyping of Asia and Asians in the 1930s-era Hollywood films.

yo, who be dat Scandinavian brand of Azian
Why, it's Gale Sondegaard, of course! Spelling "Asian" as "Azian" derives from early Internet chatting where "Asian" was abbreviated "AZN".

Gale Sondegaard in "The Letter"
ya dig wid some Sigrid be / the daughter of Kublai Khan...

Describing Gale Sondegaard's character in "The Letter." Sigrid is a queen appearing in Norse sagas as wife, first of Eric the Victorious of Sweden, then Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. [8]. Kublai Khan — an Asian whose name was well known to Americans in the 1930s — was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294, and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, a division of the Mongol Empire. In the film "Citizen Kane" (1941), Kane is referred to as "Kubla Khan" and lives in his palace called "Xanadu" which was the summer palace of Khan. It is portrayed in the well known poem "Kubla Khan" (1816) by Coleridge. In the film "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938) [9], the character of Kubla Khan is played by George Barbier. AND the leading lady, opposite Gary Cooper as Marco Polo, is Sigrid Gurie, playing Princess Kukachin, an Asian character, and the daughter of — yes — Kublai Khan.

Warner Oland as Charlie Chan
Warner Oland, Charlie Chan

Warner Oland (October 3, 1879 – August 6, 1938) was a Swedish American actor most remembered for his screen role as the detective Charlie Chan in the popular film franchise of the 1930s. Yet another Caucasian playing an Asian, this time a private eye, and reinforcing stereotypes.

General Yan / bitter tea
As mentioned above, likely a double reference: 1) General Yan, the former Commander-in-Chief of the GHQ in the Guilty Crown anime franchise, and 2) "The Bitter Tea of General Yen," a 1933 dramatic film directed by Frank Capra where most of the Asian actors are played by Caucasians. A fan-made trailer:


for her stupidity pullin rank / Bette Davis shanked by Gale Sondergaard
Reference to "The Letter" [10], an American noir film directed by William Wyler, where Bette Davis in the role of Leslie Crosbie is the social superior to Gale Sondegaard's Mrs. Hammond who is the wife of Davis's manservant and lover whom Davis murders. "Pullin rank" could also be a double entendre, as Davis was the lead actress and Sondegaard the supporting actress. In "The Letter" Davis's character is stabbed (shanked - prison-yard slang) by Sondegaard's character. Here's the trailer for "The Letter":


like they was on the yard / or down in some forgotten cell
A prison yard, of course.

far, far from the corner of / Mott and Pell—
The heart of New York City's Chinatown. [11] Indeed they are very far away as "The Letter" takes place in Malaya.

Gongsta Rap
AKA the Asian version of Gangsta Rap. Another cute Pynchon Pun...

They gonna be give me all rice-nigga remarks and shit, this way I beat 'em to it.
"Rice nigga" is, as you might suspect, a derogatory/racist term for Asians. Darren anticipates these kinds of remarks when he starts performing out, so he writes this rap that lampoons American stereotypes of Asians, starting with Screamin Jay Hawkins' paranoid song "Hong Kong."

Page 284

chomping into it and scattering crumbs... Grabbing another, two or three actually
Chandler Platt has become the Cookie Monster.

Page 285

as Larry Talbot into the Wolf Man
Larry Talbot was the main character of the 1941 film The Wolf Man.

Trivia alert. Lon Chaney, Jr. played Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man. Though Chaney, Jr. was in a fair number of monster movies, contrary to what Warren Zevon unintentionally may have caused us to believe, he was never in a film titled "The Werewolves of London." The 1935 film Werewolf of London starred Henry Hull.

Page 286

flaneur
Term for a certain type of character found in literature, especially the works of 19th century France. WIKI tells us "Drawing on Fournel, and on his analysis of the poetry of Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin described the flâneur as the essential figure of the modern urban spectator, an amateur detective and investigator of the city. More than this, his flâneur was a sign of the alienation of the city and of capitalism. For Benjamin, the flâneur met his demise with the triumph of consumer capitalism."








Chapter 1
pp. 1-7
Chapter 2
pp. 8-19
Chapter 3
pp. 20-29
Chapter 4
pp. 30-40
Chapter 5
pp. 41-52
Chapter 6
pp. 53-67
Chapter 7
pp. 68-79
Chapter 8
pp. 80-86
Chapter 9
pp. 87-95
Chapter 10
pp. 96-111
Chapter 11
pp. 112-120
Chapter 12
pp. 121-133
Chapter 13
pp. 134-144
Chapter 14
pp. 145-159
Chapter 15
pp. 160-171
Chapter 16
pp. 172-184
Chapter 17
pp. 185-197
Chapter 18
pp. 198-210
Chapter 19
pp. 211-218
Chapter 20
pp. 219-229
Chapter 21
pp. 230-238
Chapter 22
pp. 239-246
Chapter 23
pp. 247-255
Chapter 24
pp. 256-264
Chapter 25
pp. 265-273
Chapter 26
pp. 274-287
Chapter 27
pp. 288-300
Chapter 28
pp. 301-313
Chapter 29
pp. 314-326
Chapter 30
pp. 327-337
Chapter 31
pp. 338-346
Chapter 32
pp. 347-353
Chapter 33
pp. 354-364
Chapter 34
pp. 365-382
Chapter 35
pp. 383-394
Chapter 36
pp. 395-407
Chapter 37
pp. 408-422
Chapter 38
pp. 423-438
Chapter 39
pp. 439-447
Chapter 40
pp. 448-462
Chapter 41
pp. 463-477
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