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09-01-2012
The Gospel of Wealth: Towards a New Generation of American Consumership By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2011
Rick Perry leads Baal worshippers in prayer meeting By Pig Bodine M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
02-01-2011
A Film Too Far: The Battle of the Strait of Hormuz By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2010
Maurice Stoker quasireviews The Vicious Circulation of Dr. Catastrophe: A Polemical Ensemble by Kane X. Faucher By Maurice Stoker
06-01-2010
Boozer Allan Hamilton Justifies the Tea Party By Boozer Allan Hamilton
04-15-2010
Keith Olbermann Freaks Out Pig Bodine By Pig Bodine
06-15-2009
Saving California: Secession and the Reagan Scheme By Pig Bodine
05-15-2009
Maurice Stoker on Tom Bradley's Even the Dog Won't Touch Me By Maurice Stoker
12-15-2008
Two Glad Tidings from The Marshall By Marshall Smith
11-01-2008
Sarah Palin's Party of God By Maurice Stoker
09-15-2008
Double-Ended Dildos Manufactured at Cosmodrome By Kane X. Faucher
07-15-2008
At the Airport By Tom Bradley
05-01-2008
Building the Perfect Weapon By Thomas Sullivan
04-01-2008
CNBC Wins Pequod Institute Award for Excellence in High School Journalism By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
03-01-2008
Pig Bodine's Funky Financial Cooze Network Topological Finance for Aging Bald Dudes By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2007
Un Mensaje Navideño del Director General Por Sandra Ramos Rossi
Christmas Parades are a Deadly Derangement of Culture and other Seasonal Asides by Kane X. Faucher
11-01-2007
Euphotan, Protoplasmic Flash, and their Properties by Nail, with commentary by Chevy the Scientist
10-01-2007
Suggested reading, Universitatis Merdalina Literature 734.5, Advanced Topics in Mathematical Literature: Pseudo-British/American/Pidgin English Literature, Tensor Products of Novels and Poetry for Quasi-Conformal Plagiarism in Modern Genre and its Relationship to Sexual Identity and Morphisms by Maurice Stoker
08-01-2007
The Unexamined Life in Hell: Peregrinations Across The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2007
Presidential Politics in the Year of the Toad by Boozer Allan Hamilton Ph.D.
04-01-2007
An Eleventh Tonkin Scenario by Donald Dickerson
03-01-2007
The Second Annual Howard Littlefield Boosterism Award for Economic Forecasting Awarded to Boozer Allan Hamilton by Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2006
Maurice Stoker On Writing a Prize Winning Best Seller by Maurice Stoker
11-01-2006
¿Study says lack of talent? by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
08-01-2006
US Cracks International Terrorist Ring by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2006
Pig Bodine Solves the US Immigration and Education Dilemmas in One Blow by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
05-01-2006
Maurice Stoker Anent Two Errors in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon by Maurice Stoker
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Maurice Stoker Anent Two Errors in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon - 5

Part V The Setup or Slavery Transformed: Breaking Fearful Symmetry?

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The setup of these two pseudo-errors of Mister Pynchon’s to clarify and place his work in focus being now almost complete, save one aspect: With all this yarn, balls and balls of it, One seems to lose track of the end piece, the loose thread still untied to these errors, howbeit the confluent secret meeting of these two conspicuous pieces must be tied somewhere in all this. Of course, One must ever keep in mind the essential distinction between gravity and electricity, that is to wit within an electrical field objects accelerate depending on their charge whereas in a gravitational field all objects experience identical acceleration and moreover, by suitable (nonlinear) coordinate change gravitational fields can be made to disappear in the small, as by falling in orbit, or reappear, as by accelerating in an area far from any perceptible gravitational field, so there be no perceptible difference between acceleration and gravitational field effects.

Now consider the metaphor these fields present regarding the nascent Nation upon whose shores Mason and Dixon find themselves using gravity and the heavens to draw virtual lines. A nation of renegades, colonials consisting of real-estate entrepreneurs grown rich slaughtering native peoples, oppressing black men, and soon to become violent scofflaws ready to fight a war over taxes, couching this revolt in the glorious terms of the gravitational field, in which mass cancels and no man be judged inferior to another, while building a field more akin the electrical field explored by Franklin, in which money and property replace charge, some men more equal than others. As be well understood in the Nation they bequeath, all men are created equal but money talks and bullshit walks, justice and freedom and all the rest only available like all other commodities, via money. Money, replacing charge, becomes the sole measure of all things, without which equality before the law, equality of any sort, being nothing but pure mythos, in truth naught but empty promise. Of course, the gaining of money be free in the sense of free-for-all, depending upon how much One be willing to compromise One’s self.

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Hearken yet another anachronism, Dixon first speaking it, then impossible actions embedding it, namely that the line they are surveying exist for separating slave from free colonies. It comes up again when Dixon takes the whip and frees the property from the dealer south of the line they have drawn, when they are obliged to flee to the free colony (not yet state, though perhaps in another sense to be explicated: bear with me yet a bit longer) Pennsylvania. Yet in history Pennsylvania did not become a Free State until 1781. Moreover, though the line supposedly marked free state from slave state for the newly born Nation, after in particular the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), Delaware remained a slave state until after the Civil War. Mr. Lincoln did not free slaves in the slave states remaining in the union, including Delaware and Maryland. General Grant owned slaves until after the Civil War and the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

Heed Dixon’s words at the end of Chapter Seventy-One:

He asks Mason what’s been common to all their assignments, and Mason replies long sea voyages. Was there anything else? Mason asks. To which Dixon replies, Slaves; "and now here we are again, in another Colony, this time having drawn them a Line between their Slave-Keepers, and their Wage-Payers, as if doom’d to re-encounter thro’ the World this public Secret, this shameful Core…. Pretending it to be ever somewhere else, with the Turks, the Russians, the Companies, down there, down where it smells like warm Brine and Gunpowder fumes, they’re murdering and dispossessing thousands untallied, the innocent of the World, passing daily into the Hands of Slave-owners and Torturers, but ho, never in Holland, nor in England, that Garden of Fools…? Christ, Mason."

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To which Mason objects that he has done nothing wrong, while Dixon makes clear they are complicit. Mason tellingly says: "Yet we’re not Slave, after all,-- we’re Hirelings." And Dixon says he doesn’t trust the King or the governing class, reminding Mason he himself saw them execute Lord Ferrers. "They execute their own. What might they be willing to do to huz?"

Just so, more now than ever. This is what Pynchon so obliquely reminds of, without pushing the reader into a crevasse. And again later, Chapter seventy-two, Captain Zhang accusing them of creating Sha with their line, to which a crew member objects that these lines are much sought after by Merchants, Commanding Officers, Express-Riders. Must all this be Sha? and Zhang tells him "Without question. Officers kill men in large numbers, Merchants concentrate wealth by beggaring uncounted others. Express-riders distort and injure the very stuff of Time."

Now we see here a joining of the errors beginning to take shape. Follow closely, lest it all vanish before your eyes. Dixon asks why not consider light equally noxious, as it moves ahead in a straight line, and Zhang replies "And if moves in some other way?"

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Which of course it does, the dual nature of light demonstrated particulate via the Photoelectric Effect and the Compton Effect yet wave-like in the macroscopic scale, most importantly traveling straight ahead as particle and yet not straight ahead as wave, light certainly bending corners.

Light, Maxwell, the myth of the Declaration of Independence as Gravitational Field, all bodies equal before Gravity, yet in reality feeling the effects of wealth and privilege, as Electrical Fields treat particles differently depending upon their respective charges. Where pedigree is bought and sold, not passed by birth, except through wealth and privilege inherited. Who needs Titles?

In Chapter Seventy-Three the theme continues, the Now-ness of it a malleable complaint of a nation enslaved: "It breaks slowly upon the Astronomers, that with no time available for gazing at anything, this people’s Indifference to the Night, and the Stars, must work no less decisively than their devotion to the Day, and the Earth for whose sake something far short of the Sky must ever claim them, a stove, a child, a hen-house predator, a deer upwind, the price of Corn, a thrown shoe, an early Freeze." Not to mention the rush hour commute, the sit-coms, the football game, their brat’s everlasting ferrying, quotidian anti-spirituality and aesthetically empty, people as dead and skinned as the sheep in the hold of the meat-ship of Mason’s return voyage from an unsuccessful Transit for Maskelyne (Chapter Seventy-Five).

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The final clues of the metaphor unmistakable, the end of Chapter Seventy-Three wherein the promised "Ineluctable Moment of Convergence. Will somebody repent, ere they arrive?" Of course: confronted by Rebekah’s ghost in Chapter Seventy-Two poor Mason is given the what-for, told he must turn away from the Nets of Imaginary Lines. Convergence, this moment promised, and here Pynchon abandons even the last remnant of safety, dropping the adequacy of sequences, resorting of necessity to Net Convergence, not even giving the reader the comfort of a First Countable Topology. Goodness.

So then how to integrate up all these disparate and often shattered dreams, how to "…break this damn’d Symmetry" as Mason mutters early on in Chapter Seventy-Four. Isn’t that, after all, what it is about in the end, breaking the Fearful Symmetry, all those myriad microscopic dreams and wishes and desires and unwilled genetic and forced behaviors blended randomly, myriad superstitious and good people mingling into islands of hateful and dangerous groups, somehow merging into interest groups coagulating into a political and social monstrosity ravaging the entire World as though It owed them something? God’s gift to them, fucking the entire world as their forefathers did the natives of the new continent? Don’t forget as the government chills the milieu within which the particulars swirl the pattern that emerges as symmetry breaks, with the Transition of State, is controlled at a level beginning with infancy, mushrooms enslaved at birth, fed shit and kept in the dark forever. The real reason to keep away immigrants from outside the Realm of the Mythos is because they might wake up the dreamers to see their true state, allowing entropy to win out again over energy and break symmetry into a new, hence fearful, pattern.