Seventy-Nine: What Eggplants Mean in Emoji-World

05:11: Bleeding Edge

In which we discuss chapters 23 and 24 of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.We’ll be back in two weeks with a look at chapters 25 and 26.



Alan talks about a book called IBM and the Nazis. Turns out the title is IBM and the Holocaust. You can find it here.

Paola brings up the novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz. You can find that one here.

5 thoughts on “Seventy-Nine: What Eggplants Mean in Emoji-World

  1. Consensual domination seems to be a Pynchon theme overall, but each time he telegraphs a different way we’re supposed to “feel” about it. In Gravity’s Rainbow it’s got a tragic component (guilt-ridden characters like Greta Erdmann and Pudding wanting punishment) where in Against the Day it’s surprisingly “sweet” (by Pynchon standards) with Cyprian getting actual emotional fulfillment from it. Here in Bleeding Edge it’s almost … mundane? Routine? Maxine (at this point, haven’t read past this episode yet) doesn’t seem to motivated by the usual Pynchon mainstays like guilt, fetish, or emotional connection. She’s just a divorced person who presumably hasn’t had sex in a while and her choices at this point seem to be for the sake of their novelty (indulging Outfield’s condom-clad footjob, this coupling with Windust, the occasional return to Horst). It reads to me like a character who suddenly has sexual freedom exploring all its avenues, without much rhyme or reason behind it. In that respect, it rang true to me.

    1. It’s the fact that Windust is always a jerk to her that gets me. I get Maxi wanting to explore sexual avenues – endorse it, in fact! But with WINDUST? That’s what I have to shake my head at.

      And we’ve brought up from time to time on the show the question of how consensual some of these domination scenes are. I question especially Pudding, who is essentially brought into submission through Pointsman’s very elaborate operant conditioning. It’s safe to say that domination is a theme in Pynchon’s work – sexual or otherwise. I’m not sure that consensual domination is.

      Thanks for commenting and thanks for listening!

      1. Interesting, I may need to re-read. I was under the impression that Pointsman was “curating” an existing fetish of Pudding’s (dating back to some vision he had back in his old combat days, not something Pointstman cooked up himself) just to secure funding. Though, arguably, exploiting a weakness, even when one gives in willingly, blurs the line of consent, and Pynchon I’m sure wants us to side against whatever Pointsman does, though in this case, I took the “evil” of Pointsman to be more akin to giving a recovering alcoholic a case full of whiskey. Then again, the whole consensual domination thing I’m hung up might have more to do with my having read Against the Day more recently than Gravity’s Rainbow and that later book coloring my memory of the earlier one. Now I’m wondering if “Pynchonian sex” follows any kind of evolution throughout his career. Gravity’s Rainbow, V, and Lot 49 all have some form of rape committed BY main characters who aren’t the villain (people we’re supposed to side with), but I don’t recall anything even close to that in ATD or Inherent Vice.

  2. Also, gotta wonder if this has any comparison to be made between Maxine showing up and happily indulging Windust’s demands vs. Oedipa Mass literally waking up to find herself being raped by Metzger. It rings true to the whole “Maxine has agency, Oedipa has things happen to her” dynamic.

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