Eighty-Nine: The Lunacy of Your Own Civilization

05.21: Bleeding Edge

In which we examine chapters 38 and 39 of Bleeding Edge, and go deep into some Mayan mythology just for fun.

Aug mentions the Fantod Pack, a tarot deck by Edward Gorey. Here’s a write-up about it. You can also order it from his website.

9 thoughts on “Eighty-Nine: The Lunacy of Your Own Civilization

  1. 1) Appreciated the John Gray mention, he is among my favorite contemporary commentators.

    2) Monopoly actually began as the Henry George-inspired “The Landlord’s Game”, an object-lesson intended to demonstrate the perils of capitalism! It was designed to be unfair!

    3) The ancient Mayans would (often? always?) name children after their birthday in the Tzolkin calendar system, which has 20 symbols and 13 numbers which cycle through all permutations in 260 days. The names 1 Death and 7 Death are this kind of name. I don’t know why these two Death Lords have normal Mayan human names.

  2. Liam mentioned wanting a crime novel in which the detective couldn’t differentiate between reality and the internet. Something that falls somewhat in that realm is “Gnomon” by Nick Harkaway. If you check it out I hope you enjoy.

  3. Has anyone read Tim Robbins? Some of Pynchon’s terrible phrasing which to seems to be unique to Bleeding Edge (“The coin-op washing machine of intuition clangs into a new cycle” comes to mind) reminds me of the former’s worst. Read a book like “Jitterbug Perfume” and stuff like that is almost every other fifth or sixth line. I never thought Thomas Pynchon would ever remind me of Tim Robbins, and I hope he never does again.

    1. Tom Robbins, rather. The third-rate author, not the highly-watchable actor of Jacob’s Ladder and Hudsucker Proxy fame.

      1. Third-rate?! I love Tom Robbins! I have all of his books. I met him once and four of my books are signed! Gonna have to put you on notice, Scott.

        1. I have to admit that I read Jitterbug Perfume during what, in retrospect, was probably my overly-angsty college years (and was actually the same summer I read my first Pynchon, so perhaps he fell victim to unfair comparison.) This was roughly a decade ago, but I remember groaning at (what at the time felt like) his overuse of similes. That said, though, your defense of Robbins makes me want to give the guy another shot as an older and hopefully more open-minded reader. I find myself liking Pynchon for entirely different reasons I did back then, so anything’s possible. Any recommendations for what we’ll call a Robbins first-timer?

          1. He does have a tendency to purple prose and inflated metaphors, but that’s never bothered me much. I’d suggest Skinny Legs and All, which is a slow read but full of ideas, or Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates because the main character is one of my all-time-favorite literary characters.

    2. I have a pet theory that Tom Robbins actually wrote Vineland. That book in particular reads like one of his books. Not the plot or the characters, but the writing itself.

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