Many reviewers of The Crying of Lot 49 in 1966 found in it a timely satire of American society. Stanley Trachtenberg noted a debunking of "such communal myths as the development of the west, the Hollywood scenario, the manipulation of the corporate structure, the hypocrisy of bohemian retreat, and the complementary inanity of super-patriotic organizations" (133). Erik Wensberg saw "an exuberant ribbing of all the California manias, of pop culture gone to rock and ruin, of the wreckage of taste that our machinery produces in abundance" (446). But if Pynchon's novel merely satirized mid-sixties California life, wouldn't it have lost its political and pedagogic significance as the historical and theoretical distance from its first publication increased? The economic, cultural and political reality of California, as well as the rest of the world, has changed greatly since the mid-sixties. That time was the golden age of an economic system in which centralized "mass production was coupled with mass consumption in a virtuous circle of growth." Now we inhabit an age of decentralized globalization integrating the world "into one economic space via increased international trade, the internationalization of production and financial markets, and the internationalization of a commodity culture promoted by an increasingly networked global telecommunications system" (Gibson-Graham 150, 120).
How to Cite:
Decker, M. T., (2001) “A Proliferation of Bad Shit: Informational Entropy, Politics and The Crying of Lot 49”, Pynchon Notes , p.142-156. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.93