Infinite Divisability by painter Yves Tanguy.
(This week: Page 184, "MR. KHARIS: Does Mr. Celine seriously suggest..." to page 193, "Did it have anything to do with the weird dream he'd had of the temple in the Mad Dog jail?")
This section with Saul Goodman, apparently held captive in a hospital and being brainwashed by a doctor, seems to me to represent one of the themes of the work as a whole.
Saul is trying to figure out What Is Going On. He wants to know where he is, and who this "doctor" is. But in the rest of the trilogy, he also is trying to figure out what is going on, wading through a sea of information and theories. And many of the characters are trying to figure things out, too, although some, such as Simon Moon, seem awfully sure of themselves every time they open their mouth.
One point that RAW seemed to consistently teach over his lifetime was NOT to be sure of yourself, to keep trying to figure out what is going on, to avoid all encompassing belief systems and instead to venture opinions, which can be discarded as new evidence appears. It's a teaching he offered over and over again.
As an example, consider the New Libertarian Notes interview. Does anyone think he is only talking about politics?
I also read at least one periodical every month by a political group I dislike -- to keep some sense of balance. The overwhelming stupidity of political movements is caused by the fact that political types never read anything but their own gang's agit-prop.
Some notes on the text:
"Does Mr. Celine seriously suggest that the United States government is in need of a guardian?" page 184. It seems to me that one of the political debates in this country is between those who believe the government should be restrained by the rule of law, and those who see no need for any restraint, so long as their side is in charge.
"We believe we have shown that the resettlement plan offered by the government will be no hardship for plaintiffs," page 184. The place where I lived most of my life, Oklahoma, still has many Native Americans because they were "resettled" there. The western half of the state is mostly "Plains Indians" from the west, while the eastern half has Cherokees, Choctaws, Seminoles etc. shipped in from the eastern states.
"And I'm damned if I'll drive a broken-down jalopy that spends half its time in a garage being repaired merely because that would make me seem more 'dedicated' to you left-wing simpletons." Page 185. I love this sentence.
"Slavewagon," page 185. Volkswagen cars, associated with the hippie movement, had their roots in Nazi Germany. (As Simon Moon surely knew, hence he offers no rebuttal.)
LDD, page 186. Despite the jokes, what it really stands for is "Legion of Dynamic Discord." The legion was the basic military unit of the very un-Discordian Roman Empire, so the name is itself a joke.
"Proving that government is a hallucination in the minds of governors," page 186. "There is no governor present anywhere," Chuang Tzu, quoted in Robert Shea's fanzine of the same name. Considered by some an early anarchist and skeptic.
Tanguy, page 192. Yves Tanguy, a Surrealist, one of my favorite painters. Known for his eerie, other-worldly landscapes.
"George had chosen to denounce the Crusades as an early outbreak of Western racist imperialism." page 193. Fair enough, I guess, but I always wonder why nobody notices most of the Muslim world was Christian until it was occupied by an earlier outbreak of Arab imperialism. It didn't start at the end of the 11th century.
(Next week: Page 194: "The sub's engine was vibrating pleasantly" to "when you're lost our here," Page 204.)