Sample Term Paper
A graduate of engineering physics from the Cornell University and a former technical writer for the aerospace and defense corporation Boeing, Thomas Pynchon has an incredibly wide ranging and detailed knowledge of science, technology and technological issues which are incorporated into his fictional novels (Krafft).
One of the technophobic theories of human-technology interaction describe modern technology as sinister tools of mind control, especially with the rise of modern communication technology and the rise of the mass media. According to this theory mass-media represents a threat to the individualist culture of the United States. According to the proponents of this theory, the ubiquity of the mass-media threatens the ability of people to think for themselves and is subsuming people’s individual identities and opinions and creating brainless drones all connected to the ‘hive mind’ (Brosnan). This particular form of technophobia has had several manifestations in popular culture; one obvious example of this is ‘The Borg’ in the Star Trek series, a super-collective consisting of multiple intelligent species whose members have been forcibly assimilated into the Borg hive mind. This idea has reared its head in ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ as well. In the book, the use of the drug LSD causes the loss of the distinction between ‘self’ and ‘other’. The insane Dr. Hilarius refuses to take the drug, preferring instead to remain in the state of paranoia where “at least I know who I am and who the others are” (Pynchon, Crying). Mucho, on the other hand, has been taking the drug in Oedipa’s absence. She finds that much of his personality has ‘dissipated’ and now he is ‘an antenna’ one of million sharing his personality with others. In reference to the Beetles song ‘She Loves You’, a ‘dissipated’ Mucho has this to say:
“. . . .When those kids sing about ‘She loves you,” yeah well, you know, she does, she’s any number of people, all over the world, back through time, different colors, sizes, ages, shapes, distances from death, but she loves. And the ‘you’ is everybody. And herself. Oedipa, the human voice, you know, it’s a flipping miracle.(Pynchon, Crying)”
Mucho’s program director at the radio stations describes his altered state in this way:
“He’s losing his identity…how else can I put it? Day by day, Wendell is less himself and more generic. He enters a staff meeting and the room is suddenly full of people, you know? He’s a walking assembly of man (Pynchon, Crying)”
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