Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Pynchonesque Mischief . . .

ARPAnet Map
Circa 1977
(Image from Wikipedia)

I'm currently in Daegu, the third-largest city in South Korea and home of my wife's maternal family. We're here for the first-year anniversary of my father-in-law's decease, a ceremony called "chaesa" (or "jaesa" and variants). This will be a short post because I'm working with an unfamiliar computer.

On page 53 of Inherent Vice, Doc Sportello is introduced to an early version of the internet in the form that it had in 1969, or eight years prior to the image above. The techhead Fritz Drybeam, who's playing with this newest tech thing, tells Doc what it is, but Doc misunderstands:
"ARPAnet," Fritz announced.

"Ah, no I'd better not, I've got to drive and stuff, maybe just give me one for later --"
Obviously, Doc misunderstands Fritz to be offering him a drug of some sort. But what, precisely, is the misunderstanding? "ARPAnet" misunderstood as "Have a 'net'"? I don't get it.

Can somebody enlighten me on this? What does the 'Doc' imagine that he's heard?

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At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be apparent. "Doc" is a new resident (emigrating from Lanton, Moko, Oil Trough, heck even 'Katie's Twin Mount' (which had a Post office prior to 1912 - neither shall I guess the origin since it's now covered by the lake your "Uncle" slept on.... which begs questons of i's own...

Was he always a Preacher?

No wait - he left his nephew flagging in the wind while he was "negotiating" a place on the NATO Board of Trustees

Oop, my phone's ringing


At 1:21 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, much like Pynchon's stories, your commment heads off on an entropic tangent . . .

Anyone else wanna tell me what Doc misunderstood?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:25 PM, Anonymous trevor said...

I haven't read that one, but I'd guess Fritz is assumed to have said "Open it". "Arf a net", ie "Half of [a beer called Net]", might have worked in Britain, although not much beer or electricity or anything was produced there in the 70s.

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Trevor, I like your suggestion . . . a lot. I'm trying to see how it might fit in the context, but there doesn't seem to be anything to open . . . not that I can visualize, anyway.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Trevor, the thought occurred to me overnight that "Open it" might have been a hippy expression for "Open your mouth and I'll pop in a pill."

Does anyone recall from that time is this was the case?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:23 AM, Anonymous trevor said...

Again, I haven't read it, but it sounds to me like the Doc is unbeknown to himself turning down the Information Society.

Maybe I should read it. Donations via my blog, Santa Claus.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm thinking it sounds more like a drug - Darvon or Darvocet were hugely popular as I recall and immediately came to mind when I read it - interesting thread

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Trevor, I think that the Infogoddess is right (hat tip), that Doc thinks that he's being offered a drug, which is why he objects that he has to drive.

But do take a look at the book.

(I suppose that I could always try sending Mr. Pynchon an email . . .)

Jeffery Hodges

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