Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Searching for Thomas Pynchon

This past Sunday I caught the last ten minutes or so of the Simpsons. I was reading at the same time, so I wasn't paying that much attention. The episode had something to do with Marge writing a novel. But in the credits under guest voices I saw something surprising: Thomas Pynchon.

Now if you don't know much about Pynchon he's a bit of a recluse. A well respected novelist, it's thought he lives somewhere in Mexico but no one really knows for sure. Well, someone knows, but they're not talking. The only photo I've ever found of him dates back to the 1940's when he served in the Navy. Despite his reclusive nature, he pops up in strange ways. Every once in awhile you'll see a book review or blurb on the back of a friend's book. Even more strangely, I've run across a few music reviews in places like Spin and Rolling Stone. In the early 90's the odd sitcom The John Larroquette Show made an obscure Pynchon joke/reference and he sent them a fan letter. Other than that Pynchon's had very little contact with the public world.

So first I checked IMDB. There I found Pr├╝fstand VII, a german movie that looks to based on Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Even more strangely is the movie A Journey Into the Mind of P., a documentary that investigates the known facts of his life and theorizes on his motivations for writing and being a recluse. One of my favorite bands, the Residents, apparently did the soundtrack. Definitely something I'll have to seek out.

From there I found this, a fun little site on all things Pynchon. There's even a link to some guy who makes paper dolls of the writer. Anway, that led me to an article on The Modern Word about the Simpson's appearance. Some of the article's history is wrong, but the details on the episode sound fun. Oh, why did I have to be reading when instead I could have enjoyed the masked cartoon visage of Thomas Pynchon? For an odd, postmodern recluse appearing on the Simpsons seems somehow strangely appropriate.

Probably not many here as amused by this as I am, but I thought I would share anyway.


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