Inside the Campaign to Get Thomas Pynchon to Endorse a Presidential Candidate

The Crying of Lot 49? More like The Voting of Lot 49, if you know what we mean.

Thomas Pynchon 2020
Who will the Gravity's Rainbow author pick for president in 2020?
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By Tobias Carroll / February 28, 2020 12:49 pm

There are plenty of famous and acclaimed writers who are well-known for their public appearances and their penchant for discussing their takes on art, culture and politics. And then there’s Thomas Pynchon, one of the highest-profile literary recluses out there — and the writer behind beloved books like Gravity’s Rainbow and Inherent Vice.

A 2013 article by Boris Kachka neatly summarized the paradoxes of writing about Pynchon:

He doesn’t just challenge his fans; he pranks them, dares them to find out what he’s really about (or maybe just to stop exalting Important Writers in the first place). He’s said he wants to “keep scholars busy for several generations,” but ­Pynchon academics, deprived of any scrap of history, find themselves turned into stalkers.

Pynchon has made a few decisions that elude easy literary-hermit classification, including appearing on The Simpsons. And now, writer and critic Dan Chiasson has embarked on a potentially Quixotic quest to secure a Thomas Pynchon endorsement for Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

At Literary Hub, Emily Temple has the details. Chiasson has made a few posts on Twitter using the #PynchonBernie hashtag, and also sent Pynchon a typewritten letter in the hopes of securing his endorsement for Sanders.

“I wonder if Bernie is a figure who inspires you; it makes me happy to imagine fondly that you might be rooting for him from the sidelines,” Chiasson writes.

There’s no word yet on whether Pynchon will issue a politically-charged missive endorsing Sanders (or any other candidate, for that matter). That said, a reclusive writer endorsing a democratic socialist’s unexpected run for office sounds like a very Pynchon-esque plot twist — so you never know.

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