Sixty-Two: Is James Jello a Real Person?

04.35: Gravity’s Rainbow

In which we continue discussing the final section of Gravity’s Rainbow with a look at the second half of chapter six – the first chapter with sub-sections.

We talk a little bit about the David Foster Wallace podcast, The Great Concavity. If you’re interested, you can find it here.

Author Michael Chabon was interviewed by Vulture, and he talked a little bit about Thomas Pynchon, including using the characters Takeshi and Ichizo as Easter eggs.

You can check out Frank’s Diner, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, via the internet.

The segment of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land that Bo tries to remember goes as follows:

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree give no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

A note on James Jello. One of our constant sources on this show has been Pynchon Character Names, by Patrick Hurley. According to this, James Jello is not, unsurprisingly, a real person. It is merely meant to be alliterative and humorous, fitting for “that year’s kind of Bohemian clowns.”

5 thoughts on “Sixty-Two: Is James Jello a Real Person?

  1. In the Feb 2018 issue of Original Logic Puzzles, the five-part detective puzzle featuring Ivan Inkling is based around Thomas Pynchon.

    Lot 49 moves into Mason & Dixon into Gravity’s Rainbow and V.
    Clues from the other four puzzles are used to solve the fifth, “Pinchin’ the Culprit”.

    Someone among characters like Profane, Driblett, Jamf, working for Inverarity, Wharfinger, Tristero or Yoyodyne has stolen a rare stamp.

    Ivan must track him down.

    Available in the lowest rack of the supermarket magazine stand everywhere.

  2. I was a little surprised that “these happen to be towns all located on the borders of Time Zones is all. Ha, ha! Caught you with….” was passed over so quickly. Because I know where Bristol TN is, I immediately recognized that at least one of those cities is not near a time zone border. Bristol is about an hour-two hours east of central time zone border. I looked at the rest of the cities listed on a map and they are all closer to being in the middle of time zones than near time zone borders. The entire state of Kansas is far from any time zone border. I thought it was interesting that Pynchon appears to be bringing up time zones for some reason and then misrepresenting them.

    1. Interesting. This didn’t occur to me when we discussed it, but it’s possible that time-zone borders have changed, right? Maybe these were border towns back in 1945, but aren’t today. I thought the whole thing was weird, but this idea might have merit.

      Anyway, thanks for listening and for the comment!

      1. Upon closer inspection I see that Kansas is actually bordered by a time zone border on the west. Boy do I feel silly. Otherwise the comment is accurate.

        Now carry on smartly.

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