8.18.2010

Exhibit 26.22

Pynchon on Barthelme & Houston & Himself & Houston

But behind Barthelme's own slick city-sophisticate disguise still lounged, alarmingly, this good old Dairy Queen regular in some conspicuous hat, around in whose backseat opened containers had been known to roll, harboring the mischievous daydreams of a Texas rounder, not to mention a lengthy stretch of DNA dedicated just to locating and enjoying various highly seasoned pork products. On the principle that you can take the boy out of the country but not vice versa, Houston, Texas, his hometown before New York, must have caused Barthelme some lively internal discomfort over the course of a love-hate affair with the place that went on, it seems, for most of his life. From what I remember of Houston at about that same time, it could have provoked the one emotion just as easily as the other, and in Texas-size quantities, too. The Astrodome was brand new in those days. Air conditioning in the city was ubiquitous. There were schemes afoot to put a dome over part of downtown and air-condition it, creating what today we would call a mall. Entire boulevards were dedicated to churches, side by side, one after another, allowing you to drop the family car in low and actually cruise places of worship. The nearest venue for dope, sex, and rock 'n' roll, then as now, was Austin. The new NASA space center out by Buffalo Bayou was hiring heavily, while from the marshlands around it, mosquitoes were busy spreading an encephalitis epidemic. Sir John Barbirolli had fashioned of the Houston symphony an exquisitely first-rate instrument, while teenage musical heresy focused on California surf culture -- though the Gulf only had surf during hurricanes, all kinds of kids could still be observed driving around with some stick in some woody, flaunting boards that never caught a wave, as if trying to make it all be California. Anyplace but what it was.

From Pynchon's introduction to The Teachings of Don B. You can read the entirety of the introduction right here. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

hoostown said...

Thomas Pynchon also has a selection of writings out called _Scrabble Rack_. I couldn't find it on GoogleBooks, but here's an example selection: "IIIIIEO"