Comments and Questions re the Promo Video
Is it Pynchon's voice?
Yes. Tracy Locke of The Penguin Press confirms that Pynchon narrates the trailer for his new book, Inherent Vice. Source. Before this firm confirmation, the Wall Street Journal hired a voice expert to analyze the video, who said that the Voice in the Video is Pynchon "Beyond a reasonable degree of professional certainty"
Comments by Pynchonwiki contributors
Let's put some reactions to the video here. We can do better than the (mostly) mindless posts re the video on YouTube. Here are some starters:
So are these scenes from Manhattan Beach, Pynchon's "Gordita Beach"? For more info on "Meerkat Media Arts Collective," which produced the video, go here
And is this definitely Pynchon's voice, "doing" Doc? (Sure sounds different than the high-pitched voice on the Simpsons episode, though.) [How can you say that his voice is different but it's "definitely" his voice?] [Well, you can play the excerpt from Diatribe of a Mad Housewife, contrast and compare. Eventually someone will whip out a spectrum analyzer and settle it once and for all.] [Primeau, the "voice analysis expert" touted in the WSJ article, appears to claim his analysis shows that the voice in the German TV film clip is by the same person who did that bit in the Simpsons episode and who narrated the Inherent Vice promo video. But as Tim Ware points out in his response to the WSJ article, the voice in the German clip is that of John Corey, the comedian who accepted the award for Pynchon in 1973--that's his image on screen much of the time and him giving us in the voiceover his take on the events. Doesn't this gross mistake pretty much discredit Primeau's "professional certainty"? (Unless Primeau was misquoted by the reporter.) However, an interesting result _did_ come out of this comedy of errors, which is that Penguin now apparently has confirmed that TP did indeed do the voiceover on the promo video.... Which makes me very happy, since the incarnation of Doc's "live" voice so well captures what's also on the page. And it's by far the longest sample of Pynchon's voice that we've gotten so far.]
Any clues about the music? Something Neil Young did, on request from TP? (Just a wild guess.) So far Meerkat is mum.
The images emphasize how much "Gordita Beach" has changed for the worse. Just about every space is partitioned, privatized, blocked, barricaded. And check out the black cat just when Doc starts meditating about bad karma. The fog, though, remains the same.
How many other books have been promoted by an "author" video playing with the p o v of one of the characters? Or is Pynchon the first, or one of the first, to catch this new wave? He's a goofyfoot rider, fer sure.
The whole thing's brilliant and funny and sad, right up to the kicker at the end. A "music video" for a novel! But far more than just a simple "promo." Notice how "Doc" is inside and outside of the book's time zone--he both talks about the story as if it's just beginning and he's living it AND as if he's outside of time, looking back, and a little lost, with his completed story residing in this book that some guy named Pynchon has published.
Another question: if this is current footage, why does he (whoever he is) say '...later this will all be high-rise..' etc.? I take that to imply that Gordita/Manhattan as it was in Doc's/Pynchon's day has been built over? But the footage doesn't look 'old' does it? Hmmm.
--A "bi-location" video? (cf. this concept in Against the Day?) That is, the "time" and "place" the vid represents actually exist in 2 separate but linked virtual worlds, Gordita Beach then/now? Sort of like Doc's own space-time fogs ... or like Firesign Theater? (i.e., their 1969 album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once if You're Not Anywhere at All? ....)
I find it curious/typical that "HCYBITPAOWYNAAA" is an obvious reference point for Inherent Vice, but the Firesign Theater in not mentioned anywhere in the book. KRLA—home of Radio Free OZ—is mentioned, the obscure, very funny & very surreal Bonzo Dog Band is mentioned, the entire set-up of The Stoned Detective is derived [at least in part] from Nick Danger, Third Eye but the four [or is it five?] crazy guys are not mentioned at all in any of Pynchon's books.--Robin Landseadel, 05:40 11 August 2009 (PDT)
Why do people keep signing their contributions? It's very annoying and distracting. [OK, no more signage.]