Saturday, January 09, 2010

Works Cited

"I'm not so much for Beethoven qua Beethoven," Gustav argues, "but as he represents the German dialectic, the incorporation of more and more notes into the scale, culminating with dodecaphonic democracy, where all notes get an equal hearing. Beethoven was one of the architects of musical freedom--he submitted to the demands of history, despite his deafness. While Rossini was retiring at the age of 36, womanizing and getting fat, Beethoven was living a life filled with tragedy and grandeur."

"So?" is Säure's customary answer to that one. "Which would you rather do? The point is," cutting off Gustav's usually indignant scream, "a person feels good listening to Rossini. All you feel like listening to Beethoven is going out and invading Poland."

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Works Cited

One night he set fire to twenty pages of calculations. Integral signs waved like charmed cobras, comical curly ds marched along like hunchbacks through the fire-edge into billows of lace ash. But that was his only relapse.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Family Connections -- However Tenuous

I was at McDonald's this morning and I noticed the woman standing in front of me had Wackenhut written on the back of her jacket. I know the name Wackenhut, because it's my great grandmother's maiden name.

In fact, I even know why this woman had it on the back of her jacket.

"Do you work for Wackenhut Security?" I said.

"Yes. Well, I did. For five years. It's a good company."

"One of my cousins actually founded it. Fred Wackenhut," I said.

So we sat down and had breakfast together.

I guess the surreal part was seeing the name and thinking that, one century ago, my great great grandfather Johannes arrived on a ship from Germany, and he's the one who brought that name to this country. I doubt he had much else.

And step by step it eventually ended up on a complete stranger's shirt. And step by step, a part of him had made me. Cool.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Works Cited

Slothrop goes hunching paranoically along the street, here's "God Bless America," a-and "This Is the Army, Mister Jones," and they are his country's versions of the Horst Wessel Song, although it is Gustav back at the Jacobistrasse who raves (nobody gonna pull an Anton Webern on him) to a blinking American lieutenant-colonel, "A parabola! A trap! You were never immune over there from the simple-minded German symphonic arc, tonic to dominant, back again to tonic. Grandeur! Gesellschaft!"

"Teutonic?" sez the colonel. "Dominant? The war's over, fella. What kind of talk is that?"

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow