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Mafia IV story idea
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
Harwinton Halloween FestivalDarkside Entertainment Presents: “The Rise of The Green Lady” A haunting, legendary, family experience this October 18-20th & 25th-27th @ The Harwinton Fairgrounds! This fall, as the nights draw longer and the cool damp fog settles over the grounds, discover the excitement, fear, and surprises which await. Step on our grounds (if you dare!) for nothing with free parking included. Experience free Hayride shuttles, free admission, the Largest Fall Food Truck Festival in New England, carnival rides, and of course, The Green Lady's Haunted House of Horror$5.00-$15.00, Fri, Oct 18 – Sun, Oct 20, 9pmHarwinton Fairgrounds, 150 Locust Rd, Harwinton, CT
Haunted Trail at Harrybrooke*Be prepared to be scared! Follow a self-guided trail that winds through darkness and woods by the Still River, and through the haunted basement of the museum. Wear comfortable shoes. This is a scary event, and may not be appropriate for younger children (under 8 years old), or individuals with physical restrictions. Enter at your own risk. Concessions available.*$10, 6:00PM-10:00PM64 Lanesville Road, New Milford, CT 06776
Science Straight UP! & Spooktacular Science Weekend @ The CT Science Center*Join us for Hartford’s Smartest Happy Hour as we explore Climate Change. Whether you are a climate change expert, curious, or somewhere in between, you will love the fun entertainment, refreshing cocktails, and peer-networking with an environmental twist. See how local organizations are making a difference on a global level and explore our NEW permanent exhibition “Our Changing Earth” after-hours in a kid-free environment.The Connecticut Science Center will get a little spooky and a little kooky for our annual Spooktacular Science Weekend! Have a ball at the ultimate Halloween party. Meet Mal and Evie from the Descendants, join the Baby Shark Bubble Dance Party, and see our stunning new exhibition, Our Changing Earth. Enjoy a Hocus Pocus sing along with the Sanderson Sisters and spooky surprises throughout the day.*Oct 18-20, $5 -$23.95250 Columbus Blvd. Hartford, CT 06103
Haunted: Victorian Ghost Stories at the Mansion – Halloween Tours*Victorians were known for their riveting ghost stories and Gothic horror. From Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Body Snatcher to Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, readers in the 19th century were deeply engrossed in dark tales from the other side. In keeping with this Victorian fascination with unexplained phenomena, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Halloween tours will focus on ghost sightings as they relate to the house during the 19th century as well as its more recent history, and the compelling ghost stories that are part of Connecticut’s legends.*Oct 18-27, $10295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850
11th Annual Cove Side Carnival*Rides, food, games and more, right in the heart of one of the largest historic district and location of the famously inspired Witch of Blackbird Pond. Come for the history, stay for the fun! See flyer for more! High-energy thrill rides and rides just for children Also, food, games, and entertainment. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Wethersfield Food Bank.*Oct 18-20, FREEWethersfield Cove Park, 176 Hartford Ave. Wethersfield, CT 06109
Jurassic Quest!*Jurassic Quest is America’s largest and most realistic Dinosaur event. Our guests will walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and The Triassic period and experience for themselves what it was like to be among dinosaurs of all kinds. Jurassic Quest is the only dinosaur event that has true to life size dinosaurs. From the very small, to the gigantic, sky-scraping dinosaurs that can only be seen at our events, Jurassic Quest has over 80 true-to-life size dinosaurs in each of its two touring shows. In collaboration with leading paleontologists, each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail. Whether their prehistoric counterpart had skin that was scaly, had feathers or fur, Jurassic Quest has spared no expense in bringing this realism to life.*Oct 18-20, $25-$41Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT 06103
Museum Children Free Week*The White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center is located in the Towns of Litchfield and Morris in northwestern Connecticut. Created in 1913 by Alain C. White and his sister, May W. White, the Foundation and Center today comprise 4,000 acres of forest, fields and wetlands. Visitors will find: 40 miles of trails, a nature museum, the Bantam river and shoreline, & more!*Oct 1 - Nov 5, FREE, 9am-5pmWhite Memorial Conservation Center, 80 Whitehall Rd. Litchfield, CT 06759
Yale Mineral & Gem Symposium 2019*The main session, on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will feature eight talks by prominent mineral experts. Michael T. Bycroft of the University of Warwick (England) will present the keynote address on the topic of “Gems and the Scientific Revolution.” Friday night’s session will feature a talk at 5 p.m., followed by a reception from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.*Oct 18-20, $75-$100Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave, New Haven CT, 06511
Glastonbury Apple Fest 2019The Glastonbury Apple Harvest & Music Festival features two stages of live music with 28+ local & touring artists, a full midway of amusement rides, 100+ craft vendors, 25+ food trucks/purveyors, a fully stocked Harvest Pub, and the Angry Orchard 5K Road Race on the festival’s closing day. The festival is proudly presented by the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce. Located at a bend of the Connecticut River, the Apple Harvest Festival and 5K Race has continually been ranked as one of the state’s most popular events. It’s an all-around experience that generations revisit year after yearOct 18-20, FREERiverfront Park, 300 Welles St, Glastonbury, CT
4th Annual Chalk Art Festival*Enjoy a day of art and entertainment in celebration of the local community in the heart of downtown New Haven and Yale University. The Shops at Yale invites all professional and amateur artists, students, and artist groups to participate in the 4th Annual New Haven Chalk Art Festival on Saturday, October 19. The Shops at Yale will provide exclusive offers to retailers and restaurants, raffles, giveaways and more! This event is free and open to the public. Rain date, October 20.*12pm - 4pm, FREEThe Shops at Yale, Chapel Street and Broadway, New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Manchester Beer Festival*This event is being hosted by the MMNT Foundation and is open to the public. The Manchester Beer Fest will raise money for local veteran organizations, the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity, and scholarships to local graduating seniors. The Manchester Beer Fest will feature food trucks, unlimited samples (with a ticket) and a wide variety of beers from local CT breweries.*12pm - 5pm, $2515 Purnell Pl, Manchester, CT 06040
CT Pet Expo 2019*The Family Pet Shows are designed to educate and entertain the public about the wonderful World of pets. It promotes responsible pet ownership and care in a fun filled family event. There are demonstrations and special attractions such as high flying Frisbee dogs, Reptile and bird shows, and much more. Attractions might vary by the venue. There is an outstanding venue of pet products and services for you to buy as well as pet adoptions.*10am - 4pm, $4-$11XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut, 06103
Harvest Market & Dog Costume Parade*The Fairfield Harvest Market features 80 vendors offering artwork, crafts, pet products, jewelry, upcycled and rustic furniture, home décor items, and beauty products. Food trucks and vendors from the weekly Fairfield Farmer’s Market will be there too.*10am-4pm, FREEHistoric Old Town Hall Green in Fairfield, 611 Old Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Let's Go Birding Together*Fall migration is upon us and it’s beautiful outside! Join us for a special celebration of inclusion and take a leisurely walk through the fields and woods of Greenwich Audubon Center to learn about the many colorful birds that live here. We will also spend time watching for migrating hawks, eagles and falcons at the center's Quaker Ridge Hawk Watch. Our “Let's Go Birding Together” (LGBT) walk is for anyone who enjoys community, adventure, and wants to get outdoors! We welcome those who identify as LGBTQ, allies, families, and anyone who wants to enjoy an outdoor experience that is fun and inclusive.*9am-12pm, $5-$8Greenwich Audubon Center, Greenwich, 06831
Dinner in the Dark*Our primary fundraiser for the year, this event is a true culinary adventure! You will enjoy a gourmet dinner while wearing a blindfold, and we keep the menu secret. Come learn about the exciting ways we are working to transform the lives of those without sight. Be prepared for a unique sensory adventure, good food, fun, and dancing to live music!*5:30pm, $150 - $2,020Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, 625 North Road, Groton, CT 06340
Goats N' PajamasOct 19 & 26, Every Sat of the month*Come with your family to put the herd to bed, cuddle with your favorite goat, and experience pure silliness together. You will be brushing the goats, feeding them, and putting pajamas, tutus, and other costumes on the goats. We will take some of the goats on a walk in the good weather, or will have a coloring contest for all ages if the weather is cold or rainy. We will end the night with a goat cuddle session and feeding the whole herd hay as their Good Night snack. We will be available to take digital pictures from your camera or ours. All ages are welcome!*6pm, $15Bradley Mountain Farm, 537 Shuttle Meadow Road, Southington, CT 06489
The Great Pumpkin Festival*This fun, family annual event is scheduled for Saturday, October 19th from 12pm - 4pm. The popular festival will take place on Stratford’s historic Boothe Memorial Park. This celebration of autumn and Halloween will include a traditional costume parade and contest, a pumpkin carving contest, horse-driven hay rides, a roaming railroad, inflatables and more. The many historic and unique buildings on the Boothe park property will be open to the public.*12pm-4pm, FREEBoothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main St, Stratford, CT
Sunday, October 20th, 2019:
So You Think You Can Dance LIVE!*SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is is bringing it's best dancers to Foxwoods Resort Casino on October 20! Following the continued success of the hit summer competition series and 16 Emmy® wins, Sytycd is packing up its best dancers of 2019 and touring the country this Fall with Sytycd LIVE! 2019. Sytycd LIVE! 2019 will feature the show’s Top 10 Finalists including Season 16’s winner, America’s Favorite Dancer plus soon to be announced All Star guests.*7:30pm, $40-$60The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Casino
Llama Walk*Have you ever wanted to take a walk with a llama? You can! There are many beautiful places in and around Cornwall, Connecticut where this can take place. White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield is working together with Country Quilt Llama Farm to offer llama walks on any one of their 35 miles of walking trails.*2pm-3pm, $20White Memorial Conservation Center Museum, 80 Whitehall Rd. Litchfield, CT 06759
I've read Gravity's Rainbow four times and thought I understood it pretty well. However, reading Beckett's Molloy/Malone Dies/The Unnameable trilogy and the Beckett biography Damned to Fame, and a lot of Jung, and going through some difficult times made me realise how much within me that I had previously repressed. The slow process of integrating everything I was in denial about has allowed me to find peace that I never thought I would attain, having been clinically depressed and suicidal for around ten years. I started reading GR again with this new understanding of myself and realised that I actually hadn't understood it properly at all. I thought I'd share a few things I realised in case they might be of interest to any of you. I will discuss the book from a psychoanalytical perspective and a political perspective here, but I do not wish to reduce what is such a brilliant novel in its own right to these elements alone; I feel like the literary perspective has been discussed far more than these aspects though, and strongly doubt I would be able to add anything new to that excellent body of existing work. Even though I have realised that the political and psychoanalytical aspects are examined and explored very overtly in GR, I think they are often underexamined because the readers themselves haven't come to terms with their own inner conflicts, and are therefore in denial about certain things in themselves, such as their own possible complicity (through inaction or otherwise) with the System - much like Pokler. Therefore I am only going to be discussing the book within the very narrow frameworks of psychoanalysis and politics, while acknowledging that this comprises only a fraction of what it really is. The sheer density of GR can make it hard to tell what the hell is going on even just in terms of things like the plot. But maybe this isn't such a surprise, Pynchon's intelligence and education, how long he spent writing it, and and how much research he had to do in the process. It's only after doing a lot of the background reading that he refers to that things started to come together for me. With subjects such as Pavlov's theories of conditioning, statistics, physics, engineering, Pynchon reproduces key concepts within the text. For example:
Pavlov was fascinated with “ideas of the opposite.” Call it a cluster of cells, somewhere on the cortex of the brain. Helping to distinguish pleasure from pain, light from dark, dominance from submission... . But when, somehow—starve them, traumatize, shock, castrate them, send them over into one of the transmarginal phases, past borders of their waking selves, past “equivalent” and “paradoxical” phases —you weaken this idea of the opposite, and here all at once is the paranoid patient who would be master, yet now feels himself a slave... who would be loved, but suffers his world’s indifference, and, “I think,” Pavlov writing to Janet, “it is precisely the ultraparadoxical phase which is the base of the weakening of the idea of the opposite in our patients.” Our madmen, our paranoid, maniac, schizoid, morally imbecile—
However, for much of the history, particular that regarding intelligence agencies (whether that is WWII activity such as the O.S.S. or the S.O.E., or CIA activity in the 60s and 70s around the time that Pynchon was writing GR in a Californian beach house, very near where groups such as the Black Panthers were operating, targets of programs such as COINTELPRO and Operation CHAOS), the books had not even been written yet. I think the first few pages, with the carriage full of evacuees, can be interpreted as moving into the darkest parts of lost or repressed history, e.g.:
and it is poorer the deeper they go... ruinous secret cities of poor, places whose names he has never heard..
These names he has never heard could range from the Herero tribe whose genocide he discovered while writing V. ten years before, to Novi Pazar (with the Adenoid passage), to the all other hidden history in the book. I have also read people remarking on how in The Crying of Lot 49 it seems like Pynchon was somehow aware of MK-Ultra (which Dr Hilarius was involved with) before well the documents were leaked and the program confirmed. However, fortunately, many these history books have since been written. If anyone is interested, a great place to start is The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, published in 2016, which follows Dulles from his time at the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell to his time in the O.S.S. in Switzerland, working with Nazis in Operation Paperclip, to his directorship of the CIA through the 50s and 60s. Reading about this Cold War history, and also the writing of Huey Newton (who I strongly believe Enzian is in part based on), made a lot of GR far clearer. It is important to recognise that these histories of intelligence agencies contain irrefutable documented facts that the public at large is collectively in denial about - because they are too dark for them to acknowledge and face. For them to acknowledge these facts requires integrating that darkness into their conscious minds, before anything can be done about it on the political level. I think that, through the incorporation of all the world's darkness, from politics to history to sexual and paedophilic fantasies to etc..., this is the Secret Integration that Pynchon is trying to accomplish, and which concept he wrote a story about, published in Slow Learner. Reading this book causes the beginnings of this process, as all of the darkness is brought into one's mind by reading it. Another crucial area for me was understanding a bit about Freud and Jung. Particularly Freud's tendency to project his own incredibly powerful repression onto his patients, because of his own compulsion to analyse and differentiate everything, much in the Western tradition, seen in, for example, his five stages of psychosexual development, oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages. Some people don't need to delve into the darkest aspects of their unconscious to find peace, but since Freud did, he felt the need to inflict this also on his patients - seen in the many cases where he would tell victims of childhood sexual abuse that it was due to their own subconscious desires to be raped, which could, obviously, do enormous damage to his patients. His compulsion to do this might have stemmed from, alongside his overanalytical compulsions, the truth that anything we are in denial of or repress causes inner conflicts that manifest in our daily lives, and the only way to get rid of them is to integrate them into the conscious mind. Jung's equivalent of this is his statement that “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Jung's thinking on the unconscious, and particularly the notion of the collective unconscious - this idea that all the darkness in humanity is also within ourselves, and vice versa, much as in Daoism, another critical source for GR - is very useful to help understand the book. An interesting thing to consider is that the old psychoanalytic approach, more directive/authoritarian (going back to Mesmer powerfully dominating his hypnotic subjects), where the analyst would attempt to integrate these repressions into the conscious mind of the patient by force, has fallen out of favour - it is now seen that the permissive style, in which the therapist tries to help the patient realise things themselves without use of force, is a much healthier approach for the average person (though there are still some cases where the directive style can be more effective). The former's effects can be seen in GR when, after many sessions with Freud, Greta's darkest parts of her unconscious mind rise up and she begins murdering children. Pynchon links Freud's repressions to trauma carried down by Jews from life under the Romans, and elsewhere, slavery under the Ancient Egyptians, which is fundamental to their religious texts (linked itself with attitudes and trauma in the black population about the more recent black slavery).
The trouble with Sigmund was the place he happened to be living in, a drafty, crenelated deformity overlooking a cold little lake in the Bavarian Alps. Parts of it must have dated back to the fall of Rome. That was where Sigmund brought her. She had got the idea somewhere that she was part Jewish. Things in Germany by then, as everyone knows, were very bad. Margherita was terrified of being “found out.” She heard Gestapo in every puff of air that slipped in, among any of a thousand windways of dilapidation. Sigmund spent whole nights trying to talk it away. He was no better at it than Rollo. It was around this time that her symptoms began. However psychogenic these pains, tics, hives and nauseas, her suffering was real. Acupuncturists came down by Zeppelin from Berlin, showing up in the middle of the night with little velvet cases full of gold needles. Viennese analysts, Indian holy men, Baptists from America trooped in and out of Sigmund’s castle, stage-hypnotists and Colombian curanderos slept on the rug in front of the fireplace. Nothing worked. Sigmund grew alarmed, and before long as ready as Margherita to hallucinate. Probably it was she who suggested Bad Karma. It had a reputation that summer for its mud, hot and greasy mud with traces of radium, jet black, softly bubbling. Ah. Anyone who’s been sick in that way can imagine her hope. That mud would cure anything. Where was anybody that summer before the War? Dreaming. The spas that summer, the summer Ensign Morituri came to Bad Karma, were crowded with sleepwalkers. Nothing for him to do at the Embassy. They suggested a holiday till September. He should have known something was up, but he only went on holiday to Bad Karma—spent the days drinking Pilsener Urquelle in the cafe by the lake in the Pavilion Park. He was a stranger, half the time drunk, silly beer-drunk, and he hardly spoke their language. But what he saw must have been going on all over Germany. A premeditated frenzy.
This is a similar process to what Slothrop goes through in the Abreaction Ward, when under sodium amytal ("truth serum") and the supervision of psychoanalysts, Slothrop explores the parts of his unconscious that he has repressed, including his feelings towards race and homosexuality.
PISCES: We want to talk some more about Boston today, Slothrop. You recall that we were talking last time about the Negroes, in Roxbury. Now we know it’s not all that comfortable for you, but do try, won’t you. Now—where are you, Slothrop? Can you see anything? Slothrop: Well no, not see exactly...
By the presence of Red (Malcolm X) in the scene where Slothrop flees the black men at the jazz club trying to rape him down the toilet (which leads through a trip not only through Slothrop's own unconscious racism but also through the repressed histories, all the Preterite lost and forgotten.
Either he lets the harp go, his silver chances of song, or he has to follow. Follow? Red, the Negro shoeshine boy, waits by his dusty leather seat. The Negroes all over wasted Roxbury wait. Follow? “Cherokee” comes wailing up from the dance floor below, over the hi-hat, the string bass, the thousand sets of feet where moving rose lights suggest not pale Harvard boys and their dates, but a lotta dolled-up redskins. The song playing is one more lie about white crimes. But more musicians have floundered in the channel to “Cherokee” than have got through from end to end.
Here, among other things, if we consider Slothrop's mouth harp a (Rilke-referencing) metaphor, in part, for Pynchon's own tools of artistry, I feel like these floundering musicians can be seen as other writers who have not come to terms with the darkest parts of history, and thus their own unconscious. And the decision to delve into these things as an artist necessitates exposing one's own unconscious repressions, which causes you to be in a vulnerable position - particularly since They like to use these aspects of people to control them, as with Prentice and the drawing of the Scorpia Mossmoon lookalike he is given to activate the Kryptosam. In Pynchon's case, this means exposing his own racism and homophobia:
If Slothrop follows that harp down the toilet it’ll have to be headfirst, which is not so good, cause it leaves his ass up in the air helpless, and with Negroes around that’s just what a fella doesn’t want, his face down in some fetid unknown darkness and brown fingers, strong and sure, all at once undoing his belt, unbuttoning his fly, strong hands holding his legs apart—and he feels the cold Lysol air on his thighs as down come the boxer shorts too, now, with the colorful bass lures and trout flies on them. He struggles to work himself farther into the toilet hole as dimly, up through the smelly water, comes the sound of a whole dark gang of awful Negroes come yelling happily into the white men’s room, converging on poor wriggling Slothrop, jiving around the way they do singing, “Slip the talcum to me, Malcolm!” [*] And the voice that replies is who but that Red, the shoeshine boy who’s slicked up Slothrop’s black patents a dozen times down on his knees jes poppin’ dat rag to beat the band... now Red the very tall, skinny, extravagantly conked redhead Negro shoeshine boy who’s just been “Red” to all the Harvard fellas—“Say Red, any of those Sheiks in the drawer?” “How ’bout another luck-changin’ phone number there, Red?”—this Negro whose true name now halfway down the toilet comes at last to Slothrop’s hearing—as a thick finger with a gob of very slippery jelly or cream comes sliding down the crack now toward his asshole, chevroning the hairs along like topo lines up a river valley—the true name is Malcolm, and all the black cocks know him, Malcolm, have known him all along—Red Malcolm the Unthinkable Nihilist sez, “Good golly he sure is all asshole ain’t he?” Jeepers Slothrop, what a position for you to be in! Even though he has succeeded in getting far enough down now so that only his legs protrude and his buttocks heave and wallow just under the level of the water like pallid domes of ice. Water splashes, cold as the rain outside, up the walls of the white bowl. “Grab him ’fo’ he gits away!” “Yowzah!” Distant hands clutch after his calves and ankles, snap his garters and tug at the argyle sox Mom knitted for him to go to Harvard in, but these insulate so well, or he has progressed so far down the toilet by now, that he can hardly feel the hands at all...
GR can be seen even as a process of abreaction that Pynchon underwent. If the rumours that he used drugs through writing it are true, then that would mean exposing things in him unconscious even to himself while writing it. Worth at this point also to note Jung's criticisms of Freud's use of abreaction, and thus the possible dangers of doing this.
Though traumata of clearly aetiological significance were occasionally present, the majority of them appeared very improbable. Many traumata were so unimportant, even so normal, that they could be regarded at most as a pretext for the neurosis. But what especially aroused my criticism was the fact that not a few traumata were simply inventions of fantasy and had never happened at all.
However, as Daoism asserts, light and darkness is in everything. For the Pavlovian Pointsman, who views things in binary, this is impossible to accept - the idea that for between every extreme - like black and white - lies a spectrum, a continuous rainbow. As Western humans understand things through this differentiation and analysis, this continuity causes an inherent conflict. Pointsman, the pure cause-and-effect man, the "Antimexico" (since Mexico, the statistician who thinks all can be explained through independent variables and probability distributions, takes the opposite position), says this on Daoist thinking early on.
“Pierre Janet —sometimes the man talked like an Oriental mystic. He had no real grasp of the opposites. ‘The act of injuring and the act of being injured are joined in the behavior of the whole injury.’ Speaker and spoken-of, master and slave, virgin and seducer, each pair most conveniently coupled and inseparable—The last refuge of the incorrigibly lazy, Mexico, is just this sort of yang-yin rubbish.
But by the end of Beyond the Zero, he's having a breakdown, as his unconscious is trying to tell him the truth of the Daoist wisdom he was so quick to reject in his scientific arrogance.
“Talking to myself, here. Little—sort of—eccentricity, heh, heh.” “Yang and Yin,” whispers the Voice, “Yang and Yin... .”
With all that out of the way, the plot of what GR is actually about can perhaps begin to be discussed. I'm going to make a lot of assumptions here that many of the male characters are based on Pynchon himself. You may disagree with this approach, which is very understandable, given my total lack of evidence. My justification for it is the following passages from Slothrop's trip down the toilet:
Here now is Crutchfield or Crouchfield, the westwardman. Not “archetypical” westwardman, but the only. Understand, there was only one. There was only one Indian who ever fought him. Only one fight, one victory, one loss. And only one president, and one assassin, and one election. True. One of each of everything. You had thought of solipsism, and imagined the structure to be populated—on your level—by only, terribly, one. No count on any other levels. But it proves to be not quite that lonely. Sparse, yes, but a good deal better than solitary. One of each of everything’s not so bad. Half an Ark’s better than none.
Then slightly later on:
Isn’t there supposed to be only one of each? A. Yes. Q. Then one Indian girl... A. One pure Indian. One mestiza. One criolla. [*] Then: one Yaqui. One Navaho. One Apache— Q. Wait a minute, there was only one Indian to begin with. The one that Crutchfield killed. A. Yes. Look on it as an optimization problem. The country can best support only one of each. Q. Then what about all the others? Boston. London. The ones who live in cities. Are those people real, or what? A. Some are real, and some aren’t. Q. Well are the real ones necessary? or unnecessary? A. It depends what you have in mind. Q. Shit, I don’t have anything in mind. A. We do.
However, given the extent to which Pynchon has managed to keep his life quiet, I'm aware that this assumption could be projection from me. I think might be by design of the book though:
“Pre cise-ly why,” leaps Rozsavolgyi, “we are now proposing, to give, Slothrop a com plete- ly dif-ferent sort, of test. We are now de sign- ing for him, a so called, ‘projec-tive’ test. The most famil-iar exam- ple of the type, is the Rorschach ink-blot. The ba- sic theory, is that when given an un struc-tured stimulus, some shape-less blob of exper-ience, the subject, will seek to impose, struc- ture on it. How, he goes a -bout struc-turing this blob, will reflect his needs, his hopes—will pro vide, us with clues, to his dreams, fan- tasies , the deepest re-gions of his mind.”
With those disclaimers out the way, here's what I think. I think Mexico is the "cheap nihilist" of Pynchon as a younger man, before he's delved into his own darkness, and still very much without belief in any sort of spiritualism:
“It makes no sense unless we also consider those who’ve passed over to the other side. We do transact with them, don’t we? Through specialists like Eventyr and their controls over there. But all together we form a single subculture, a psychical community, if you will.” “I won’t,” Mexico says dryly, “but yes I suppose someone ought to be looking into it.”
Pointsman is his analytical side, obsessed with cause-and-effect, which eventually, he comes to realise, necessitates delving in the darkest regions of Slothrop's mind, but still obsessed with control, never losing control:
Sign and symptoms. Was Spectro right? Could Outside and Inside be part of the same field? If only in fairness... in fairness... Pointsman ought to be seeking the answer at the interface... oughtn’t he... on the cortex of Lieutenant Slothrop. The man will suffer—perhaps, in some clinical way, be destroyed—but how many others tonight are suffering in his name? For pity’s sake, every day in Whitehall they’re weighing and taking risks that make his, in this, seem almost trivial. Almost. There’s something here, too transparent and swift to get a hold on—Psi Section might speak of ectoplasms—but he knows that the time has never been better, and that the exact experimental subject is in his hands. He must seize now, or be doomed to the same stone hallways, whose termination he knows. But he must remain open—even to the possibility that the Psi people are right. “We may all be right,” he puts in his journal tonight, “so may be all we have speculated, and more. Whatever we may find, there can be no doubt that he is, physiologically, historically, a monster. We must never lose control. The thought of him lost in the world of men, after the war, fills me with a deep dread I cannot extinguish...”
Prentice, the employee, the seasoned intelligence veteran, strikes me as a maturation from Pynchon's earlier Mexico phase, into a more realistic and experienced person and, by the time he gets into the Counterforce, "activist". This could be projection but given that the book was written from around the mid-60s until 1973, and how much changed in that time, I feel like this could be based on his own experiences with political activism in California around that time. Might be totally wrong about that, but I just got that impression from reading the weird "interview" towards the end of the book with the Wall Street Journal between the interviewer and the "spokesman for the Counterforce". Who knows, read it again and see what you think. And Slothrop, the experimental subject, is a model of Pynchon himself, rather than a differentiated portion of his own psyche which he turned into a character. So, what I think is going on: PISCES is using Slothrop (conditioned by Jamf) to exploit the racism of the Germans in psychological warfare with the whole Schwarzkommando thing. Pointsman is following his own pathological drive to analyse every facet of Slothrop's psyche. This includes Bloat taking photographs of Slothrop's map of girls linked to rockets, which we find out later might partly be falsified, which I interpret perhaps as Pynchon's recognition of his own attempt to impose his sexual interpretation system onto the world at large - interestingly something touched on early on in Bleeding Edge, though I can't find the passage right now, he quietly references the sexual hysterias of youth or something like that. Prentice is an employee of the Firm, a greater They than either PISCES or Pointsman, using his ability to have other people's fantasies, notionally for Pointsman, but really for some even grander scheme. This is reflected in the discussion of the message which Prentice picks up from the rocket which he and Slothrop see at the beginning of the book. From the Kryptosam message with the Scorpia lookalike:
Slowly then, a revelation through the nacreous film of his seed, in Negro-brown, comes his message: put in a simple Nihilist transposition whose keywords he can almost guess. Most of it he does in his head. There is a time given, a place, a request for help. He burns the message, fallen on him from higher than Earth’s atmosphere, salvaged from Earth’s prime meridian, keeps the picture, hmm, and washes his hands. His prostate is aching. There is more to this than he can see. He has no recourse, no appeal: he has to go over there and bring the operative out again. The message is tantamount to an order from the highest levels.
This "highest orders" thing can be compared with Slothrop seeing the hand of God pointing down at him.
There is in his history, and likely, God help him, in his dossier, a peculiar sensitivity to what is revealed in the sky. (But a hardon?) On the old schist of a tombstone in the Congregational churchyard back home in Mingeborough, Massachusetts, [*] the hand of God emerges from a cloud, the edges of the figure here and there eroded by 200 years of seasons’ fire and ice chisels at work, and the inscription reading: In Memory of Constant Slothrop, who died March ye 4th 1766, in ye 29th year of his age. Death is a debt to nature due, Which I have paid, and so must you.
6:43:16 BDST—in the sky right now here is the same unfolding, just about to break through, his face deepening with its light, everything about to rush away and he to lose himself, just as his countryside has ever proclaimed... slender church steeples poised up and down all these autumn hillsides, white rockets about to fire, only seconds of countdown away, rose windows taking in Sunday light, elevating and washing the faces above the pulpits defining grace, swearing this is how it does happen—yes the great bright hand reaching out of the cloud...
I think Pynchon recognised that with his unique abilities, perception, intelligence, and even privilege, it was his duty to delve into these hidden histories and play his role in bringing about this integration of the darkest levels of the unconscious. But Beyond the Zero is all about systems, and as Pynchon is well aware all systems are inherently limited because there are irrational elements in the world. So after this we have the briefer section in the Casino Hermann Goering, where the role of chance - or fate, depending on your interpretation - is recognised, and systems are examined, particularly language systems, like the drinking game Prince. So after that, with the third part, In the Zone, I think he may have been using drugs and various other techniques to bring out unconscious things in himself, to get past these conscious systems. And then completed with the Tarot reading performed at the end, where it says "here are the cards, exactly as they came up" - I think it's very possible that he did an actual Tarot reading at this point. Maybe I'm wrong about this though, I don't want to make too many assumptions given the lack of information we really have on him. If that thing with the drugs is true, it would explain that infamous quote Jules Seigal attributed to him, "I was so fucked up while I was writing it... that now I go back over some of those sequences and I can't figure out what I could have meant." But it's unclear whether that quote is real or not. How does this play into politics? I've written far too much already, but I'll just leave things with a couple more quotes and the observation that the final part, the Counterforce, contains some very valid criticisms of the countercultural movement as it manifested in the 60s through 70s. There's this critical passage when Enzian is motorbiking around the Zone, high on Pervitins, and realises that everything has come together for this. There's definitely a sense that Pynchon is acknowledging here the importance of his work, the fact it has done things that no other book had before. But in it too there's also, in it, the mocking of the temptation to view everything as an ordered conspiracy, and not acknowledge the non-rational and non-causal forces also at work, and mocking of his own self-seriousness.
There doesn’t exactly dawn, no but there breaks, as that light you’re afraid will break some night at too deep an hour to explain away—there floods on Enzian what seems to him an extraordinary understanding. This serpentine slagheap he is just about to ride into now, this ex-refinery, Jamf Ölfabriken Werke AG, is not a ruin at all. It is in perfect working order. Only waiting for the right connections to be set up, to be switched on... modified, precisely, deliberately by bombing that was never hostile, but part of a plan both sides—”sides?” —had always agreed on... yes and now what if we—all right, say we are supposed to be the Kabbalists out here, say that’s our real Destiny, to be the scholar-magicians of the Zone, with somewhere in it a Text, to be picked to pieces, annotated, explicated, and masturbated till it’s all squeezed limp of its last drop... well we assumed—natürlich!—that this holy Text had to be the Rocket, orururumo orunene the high, rising, dead, the blazing, the great one (“orunene” is already being modified by the Zone-Herero children to “omunene,” the eldest brother)... our Torah. What else? Its symmetries, its latencies, the cuteness of it enchanted and seduced us while the real Text persisted, somewhere else, in its darkness, our darkness... even this far from Südwest we are not to be spared the ancient tragedy of lost messages, a curse that will never leave us... . But, if I’m riding through it, the Real Text, right now, if this is it... or if I passed it today somewhere in the devastation of Hamburg, breathing the ashdust, missing it completely... if what the IG built on this site were not at all the final shape of it, but only an arrangement of fetishes, come-ons to call down special tools in the form of 8th AF bombers yes the “Allied” planes all would have been, ultimately, IG-built, by way of Director Krupp, through his English interlocks—the bombing was the exact industrial process of conversion, each release of energy placed exactly in space and time, each shock-wave plotted in advance to bring precisely tonight’s wreck into being thus decoding the Text, thus coding, recoding, redecoding the holy Text... If it is in working order, what is it meant to do? The engineers who built it as a refinery never knew there were any further steps to be taken. Their design was “finalized,” and they could forget it. It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted... secretly, it was being dictated instead by the needs of technology... by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that needed the energy-burst of war, crying, “Money be damned, the very life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake,” but meaning, most likely, dawn is nearly here, I need my night’s blood, my funding, funding, ahh more, more... . The real crises were crises of allocation and priority, not among firms—it was only staged to look that way—but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft, and their needs which are understood only by the ruling elite... Yes but Technology only responds (how often this argument has been iterated, dogged and humorless as a Gaussian reduction, among the younger Schwarzkommando especially), “All very well to talk about having a monster by the tail, but do you think we’d’ve had the Rocket if someone, some specific somebody with a name and a penis hadn’t wanted to chuck a ton of Amatol 300 miles and blow up a block full of civilians? Go ahead, capitalize the T on technology, deify it if it’ll make you feel less responsible—but it puts you in with the neutered, brother, in with the eunuchs keeping the harem of our stolen Earth for the numb and joyless hardens of human sultans, human elite with no right at all to be where they are—” We have to look for power sources here, and distribution networks we were never taught, routes of power our teachers never imagined, or were encouraged to avoid... we have to find meters whose scales are unknown in the world, draw our own schematics, getting feedback, making connections, reducing the error, trying to learn the real function... zeroing in on what incalculable plot? Up here, on the surface, coaltars, hydrogenation, synthesis were always phony, dummy functions to hide the real, the planetary mission yes perhaps centuries in the unrolling... this ruinous plant, waiting for its Kabbalists and new alchemists to discover the Key, teach the mysteries to others... And if it isn’t exactly Jamf Ölfabriken Werke? what if it’s the Krupp works in Essen, what if it’s Blohm & Voss right here in Hamburg or another make-believe “ruin,” in another city? Another country? YAAAGGGGHHHHH! Well, this is stimulant talk here, yes Enzian’s been stuffing down Nazi surplus Pervitins these days like popcorn at the movies, and by now the bulk of the refinery—named, incidentally, for the famous discoverer of Oneirine—is behind them, and Enzian is on into some other paranoid terror, talking, talking, though each man’s wind and motor cuts him off from conversation.
Some words of wisdom from the seasoned veteran Prentice:
“You’re a novice paranoid, Roger,” first time Prentice has ever used his Christian name and it touches Roger enough to check his tirade. “Of course a well-developed They-system is necessary—but it’s only half the story. For every They there ought to be a We. In our case there is. Creative paranoia means developing at least as thorough a We-system as a They-system—” “Wait, wait, first where’s the Haig and Haig, be a gracious host, second what is a ‘They-system,’ I don’t pull Chebychev’s Theorem on you, do I?” “I mean what They and Their hired psychiatrists call ‘delusional systems.’ Needless to say, ‘delusions’ are always officially defined. We don’t have to worry about questions of real or unreal. They only talk out of expediency. It’s the system that matters. How the data arrange themselves inside it. Some are consistent, others fall apart. Your idea that Pointsman sent Gloaming takes a wrong fork. Without any contrary set of delusions—delusions about ourselves, which I’m calling a We-system—the Gloaming idea might have been all right—” “Delusions about ourselves?” “Not real ones.” “But officially defined.” “Out of expediency, yes.” “Well, you’re playing Their game, then.” “Don’t let it bother you. You’ll find you can operate quite well. Seeing as we haven’t won yet, it isn’t really much of a problem.” Roger is totally confused.
And finally, amid all this darkness, in a superlatively dark book, some hope at last, to hold onto, that makes life worth living, and why I think that despite what many say, GR is not a nihilistic work at all (Tchitcherine, the born nihilist, is almost a parody of this position). It starts with Slothrop's awakening to nature:
Trees, now—Slothrop’s intensely alert to trees, finally. When he comes in among trees he will spend time touching them, studying them, sitting very quietly near them and understanding that each tree is a creature, carrying on its individual life, aware of what’s happening around it, not just some hunk of wood to be cut down. Slothrop’s family actually made its money killing trees, amputating them from their roots, chopping them up, grinding them to pulp, bleaching that to paper and getting paid for this with more paper. “That’s really insane.” He shakes his head. “There’s insanity in my family.” He looks up. The trees are still. They know he’s there. They probably also know what he’s thinking. “I’m sorry,” he tells them. “I can’t do anything about those people, they’re all out of my reach. What can I do?” A medium-size pine nearby nods its top and suggests, “Next time you come across a logging operation out here, find one of their tractors that isn’t being guarded, and take its oil filter with you. That’s what you can do.”
And then, after Slothrop's harp makes its trip down the toilet, and through all of the darkness of the book until that point, where does it next show up? After he draws a rocket mandala, scrawls Rocketman was here on a wall, after the sequence with the Magician using black magic and a mandrake to multiply money, and a delegate from the Committee on Idiopathic Archetypes shows up to visit:
Crosses, swastikas, Zone-mandalas, how can they not speak to Slothrop? He’s sat in Säure Bummer’s kitchen, the air streaming with kif moires, reading soup recipes and finding in every bone and cabbage leaf paraphrases of himself... news flashes, names of wheelhorses that will pay him off enough for a certain getaway... . He used to pick and shovel at the spring roads of Berkshire, April afternoons he’s lost, “Chapter 81 work,” they called it, following the scraper that clears the winter’s crystal attack-from-within, its white necropolizing... picking up rusted beer cans, rubbers yellow with preterite seed, Kleenex wadded to brain shapes hiding preterite snot, preterite tears, newspapers, broken glass, pieces of automobile, days when in superstition and fright he could make it all fit, seeing clearly in each an entry in a record, a history: his own, his winter’s, his country’s... instructing him, dunce and drifter, in ways deeper than he can explain, have been faces of children out the train windows, two bars of dance music somewhere, in some other street at night, needles and branches of a pine tree shaken clear and luminous against night clouds, one circuit diagram out of hundreds in a smudged yellowing sheaf, laughter out of a cornfield in the early morning as he was walking to school, the idling of a motorcycle at one duskheavy hour of the summer... and now, in the Zone, later in the day he became a crossroad, after a heavy rain he doesn’t recall, Slothrop sees a very thick rainbow here, a stout rainbow cock driven down out of pubic clouds into Earth, green wet valleyed Earth, and his chest fills and he stands crying, not a thing in his head, just feeling natural...
Slothrop moseys down the trail to a mountain stream where he’s left his harp to soak all night, wedged between a couple of rocks in a quiet pool. ... Through the flowing water, the holes of the old Hohner Slothrop found are warped one by one, squares being bent like notes, a visual blues being played by the clear stream. There are harpmen and dulcimer players in all the rivers, wherever water moves. Like that Rilke prophesied, And though Earthliness forget you, To the stilled Earth say: I flow. To the rushing water speak: I am. It is still possible, even this far out of it, to find and make audible the spirits of lost harpmen. Whacking the water out of his harmonica, reeds singing against his leg, picking up the single blues at bar 1 of this morning’s segment, Slothrop, just suckin’ on his harp, is closer to being a spiritual medium than he’s been yet, and he doesn’t even know it.
There's hope after all, and I think it's reflected in how much more positive all his later works have been. Thanks so much for reading, I hope it was at least vaguely interesting, not too much of an unstructured ramble. Also, this is such a great subreddit, really I love the community here. My very best to you all!
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