Pop Culture Literary Reference of the Week


In the “All’s Fair in Oven War” episode of The Simpsons (which aired on channel 43 last week), enigmatic postmodern writer Thomas Pynchon made an animated appearance. If you happened to catch this and wonder why he had a paper bag over his head, it is because he is notorious for being incredibly reclusive and media-shy. The most recent photo of him available to the public is his 1953 high school picture, and he has refused to be interviewed by the media since the mid-1960’s.

Here’s a synopsis of the scene in which he appears:

Marge is a contestant in a baking contest (think Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen). As judges are tasting the culinary creations, a man with a paper bag over his head comments “These wings are ‘V-licious’! I’ll put this recipe in the Gravity’s Rainbow cookbook, right next to ‘the frying of latke 49’.”

… and here’s why that’s funny (aside from the paper bag part, which if you’ve read this far you always know is funny):

Three of Thomas Pynchon’s most famous works are novels entitled V, Gravity’s Rainbow, and The Crying of Lot 49. Brilliant!
For the record, this was Pynchon’s second appearance on The Simpsons. If you’re interested in reading about his first, click here.

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