Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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April 11, 2006
(on the importance of) "meaningful gestures of refusal"

from Thomas Pynchon's forward to the "Centennial" edition of Orwell's 1984:

We must not be too distracted by the clunkiness of the means of surveillance current in Winston Smith's era.

In "our" 1984, after all, the integrated circuit chip was less than a decade old, and almost embarrassingly primitive next to the wonders of computer technology circa 2003, most notably the Internet, a development that promises social control on a scale those quaint old 20th-century tyrants with their goofy mustaches could only dream about.

(discovered after getting to the end of BookForum's incredible Pynchon appreciation issue, approx. 10 months late of course)

[update 4/14/06: An excerpt too good not to insert here, from Gerald Howard's appreciative essay referenced above:

V. and The Crying of Lot 49 had each sold more than three million copies in their Bantam mass-market editions.

(Let us pause here to contemplate what these numbers say about the extent of literacy in the America of the '60s. Then I suggest we all commit suicide.)