Essay: History? Education? Zap! Pow! Cut!

Zap! Pow! Cut!

In his new novel, Vineland, Thomas Pynchon, that disembodied know-it-all hiding out somewhere inside our nervous system, performs an eerie kind of magic realism on the McLuhanite world around us. His is an America, in 1984, in which reflexes, values, even feelings have been programmed by that All- Seeing Deity known as the Tube. Remaking us in its own image (every seven days), TV consumes us much more than we do it. Lovers woo one another on screens, interface with friends, cite TV sets as corespondents in divorce trials. And the children who have grown up goggle-eyed around the electric altar...

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