Elsewhere, I have tried to argue that quotations, like statistics, can easily be extracted to muster evidence for whatever "coherence," "logic," or "position" their manipulator wants to find anyway. A possible counter-position to this is explored in this paper. I try to show how a critical reading of a fictional work can be constructed from passages which have been selected not on the basis of their support for a particular preconstructed argument but on random, or at least thematically unmotivated grounds. At the risk of self-defeat, to cite Gravity's Rainbow itself now: the "debate" between Mexico and Pointsman (89–91), assuming we side with the former, the text's own clear favourite, would support a probabilistic reading over one founded on cause (predetermined theme) and effect (quoted passage). Another reason for selecting textual samples first (rather than selecting them later to support a pre-given reading) is that it avoids what is rapidly becoming, in the case of Gravity's Rainbow at least, a "canon" of Pynchon quotables.