Tuesday, December 20, 2005

bartleby otsuka pynchon RAQ

Bartleby the Scrivener is a short novel by Herman Melville written in 1853, about an office clerk famously known for his refusal to do work by repeating the phrase, "I would prefer not to." Blog commenter Bartleby has twice now expressed curiosity about how certain entries in this blog relate to certain lyrics found in Japanese pop music.

The first comment to "Brother Linus channels the SubGenius", posted on 11/01/05:
Interesting. Can you explain the significance of the lyrics "Koi suru onna no ko no Victory" by Morning Musume?

The second comment to "A is not Q's patsy", posted 12/20/05:
But how does this relate to Otsuka Ai when she chimes "waratte waratte kimi to ashita aitai" ? Could it be related to the crying of lot 49?

I will address the second comment first due to a mood of LIFO-ness.

The line is the chorus from Otsuka's single "Smily", which has sold more than 300,000 copies:
"smile smile, I want to see you tomorrow"

Otsuka Ai or Ai Otsuka when she's filling out her US visa app, is a highly-popular, 23-year-old typical 95-lb super-cute ("kawaii") J pop singer. "Kawaii-sugi" (too cute by half) if you are as sick of "kawaii" as I am. But that's the mold. She'll be a beautiful woman someday if she ever grows up. She has that thin nasal voice demanded of the genre, but plays the piano and writes her own lyrics at least. The Smily video is online. There's even a Smily ringtone!

The Crying of Lot 49 is of course the trippy convoluted '60s Thomas Pynchon novel, assigned to me in senior-year English class at St. Newt's Prep. (How did Bartleby know this?) Like most books assigned at school, I never got through it, but remember its later fame for being among other things the source of several references in the '84 movie The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension ("no matter where you go, there you are"). Mostly notably perhaps, the Yoyodyne corporation, workplace of the Red Lectroids. The protagonist in Lot 49 was Oedipa Maas, a young woman (like Otsuka--hmm...) who inherits her boyfriend's estate when he dies. Lot 49 was an auction lot containing her boyfriend's stamp collection. "Crying" a lot is what they call the bidding at an auction.

But this is all preliminary. A complete explanation of the relation between Q is not A's Patsy, Otsuka Ai's Smily lyric, and The Crying of Lot 49 will require months of further research. Until that time you may amuse yourself by looking at my old Tokyo home, which I shared with a certain Chris Bartleby among many others, and which could have fit into a Pynchon novel, no problemo.

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