Monday, January 5, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Or Further Into the Basic Connectedness of All Things...

I'm currently on a Thomas Pynchon kick, reading both Vineland and Against the Day because, well, I like dense, complex, quirky, post-modern novels by dense, complex, quirky, post-modern novelists. Uh, novelists with mad skillz.

Relax. I'm not about to go on some kind of fanboyish tirade. Far from it.

Okay, so remember the "More Cowbell" sketch from Saturday Night Live? The one with Christopher Walken as "the Bruce Dickinson" ("Guess what? I've got a fever... and the only prescription... is more cowbell!") and Will Ferrell (you can listen to it here)? 'S funny, right? And I had to wonder which SNL writer came up with the idea and what, exactly, was going through his mind. I mean, sure, the absurdity of a cowbell in "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is self-evident, but what, exactly, inspired this sketch? What made the writer think of cowbell?

Fast forward to Dec. 31, at work, where one of my numerous bosses, who is also a Pynchon fan (in fact, he loaned me his copy of Vineland when I mentioned I was reading Against the Day) as well as a devotee of weird and unusual music, was expounding upon the works of Spike Jones and Thomas Pynchon (it was a slow day). He whips over to his office and prints out a little summary sheet and directs my attention to the following items...

--"Pynchon wrote that Spike Jones, Sr.'s orchestral recordings had 'a deep and indelible effect on me as a child.' "
--"Pynchon supplied the liner notes to Spiked! The Music of Spike Jones. In his notes, he writes of Spike's unique blend of music as being 'like good cowbell solos, few and far between.' " (emphasis added)
(hoc loco)

...then made reference to the SNL sketch.

Erudite bored pathologist say whaaaa?*

The moment was positively Pynchonesque.

*Okay, confession time: sometimes I watch TV shows intended for the 'tween set**, shows like (I am so embarrassed to write this) Hannah Montana. Yeah, I'm a 12-yr. old girl. Shut up. The show has its moments. One of the catchphrase formulas has the main character responding to something completely outrageous and unexpected with "(string of adjectives) (noun cluster) say whaaaa?" It's a guaranteed Diet Pepsi Nose Spew every time. Of course, I'm easily amused.

**This has led to some meta- (not mega-, though it could be mega) embarrassing moments, most recently when I was texting my friend Erica and made an iCarly reference to which she replied, "I don't know how I should respond to the fact you knew that."


Capcom said...

OK, now I'm going to have to watch an epsiode of Hannah Montana to see what you're talking about, dammitt. I don't know if I can do it though, she has a gravely voice like an old whisky geezer, and it creeps me out when it comes out of that little girl. :-o

G. W. Ferguson said...

Miley/Hannah does sound kind of creepy, especially when she lapses more deeply into her Tennessee accent, but watch for the throwaway lines--Billy Ray Cyrus/Robbie Ray making disparaging comments about "Achy Breaky Heart" (or another time when he was trying to limbo: "Ow, my achy, breaky back!") and dancing shows (he was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars and, I gather, pretty bad), Hanna's onscreen brother channel surfing, pausing as the pounding beat of the Hannah Montana theme song begins and saying, "Ugh! When is this show NOT ON?"

And I have completely inappropriate crush on Emily Osment.

Capcom said...


I almost watched an episode the other day, but then something else came on. I'll keep trying. :-D