Inherent Vice, Chapter 11



Doc gets a postcard from Shasta that reminds him of when a Ouija board sent them on a fool’s errand. When he revists the location he finds a golden building shaped like a fang. Inside he meets Japonica Fenway, a girl from a previous case, who has wraparound hallucinations. After Denis crashes his car, Doc takes it to Tito Stavrou, who tells him he was supposed to pick up Wolfman from Chryskyolodon, but he never showed. And that Chryskylodon is, at a push, Greek for ‘Golden Fang’.

p.163- An amusing alternative postal delivery system- ‘catapult mail delivery involving catapult shells, maybe as a way of dealing with an unapproachable reef’.

p.165- A little extra sensory paranoia to add to all the fears about the living

Around us are always mischevious spirit forces, just past the threshold of human perception, occupying both worlds, and that these critters enjoy nothing better than to mess with all of us still attached to the thick and sorrowful catalogs of human desire.

p.166- During a torrential storm Doc imagines floods that lead to the ‘karmic waterscape connecting together, as the rain went on falling and the land vanished, into a sizable inland sea that would presently become an extension of the Pacific’. Lest we miss the reference to Lemuria, Sortilege has a dream about it, where she reveals that ‘We can’t find a way to return to Lemuria, so it’s returning to us’ (p.167). Just because this is an imagined Eden, it is no less potent (and perhaps painful). Once again, we are dealing with the Fall. Which is perhaps the only tolerable way to explain the present. At least there is the comfort that in the past things were different.

p.166- Doc and Shasta, whose relationship is all but over, make out in a car (this is a flashback) just so they can forget ‘for a few minutes how it was all going to develop anyway’. This is pretty much a synedoche of the novel.

p.170- The Golden Fang Procedures Handbook has a chapter on ‘Hippies’.

Dealing with the Hippie is generally straightforward. His childlike nature will usually respond positively to drugs, sex, and/or rock and roll’

p.171 Doc has a vision of ‘an American Indian in full Indian gear, perhaps one of those warriors who wipe out Henry Fonda’s regiment in Fort Apache (1948)’. Though a comic moment, this is also a nod to a history of disposession, of massacre and counter-massacre.

p.172 Japonica’s delusion (‘actually visiting other worlds’ p. 175)  is not without its truth, and also recalls the figures from the future in Against the Day.

Among those who could afford to, a stenuous mass denial of the passage of time was under way. All across a city long devoted to illusory product, clairvoyant Japonica had seen them, these travellers invisible to others, poised, gazing, from smogswept mesa-tops above the boulevards, acknowledging one another across miles and years, summit to summit, in the dusk, under an obscurely enforced silence.

p.176 Another ominous technological development, when Doc sees people listening to music on headphones,

in solitude, confinement and mutual silence, and some of them later at the register would actually be spending money to hear rock ‘n’ roll. It seemed to Doc like some strange kind of dues or payback. More and more lately he’d been brooding about this great collective dream that everybody was being encouraged to stay tripping around in. Only now and then would you get an unplanned glimpse at the other side.

The disturbing implication here is that all of the experimentation and freedom of the 60s actually helped the interests of capital and authority. That the last thing the latter wanted was a public fully engaged with actuality.

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