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Author Topic: Thomas Pynchon Photo?
Robofication, Lightly Roasted
Jingle Bell Hock


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First, hello everyone. I'm new to the forum. I've posted a bit, but feel like I've crashed a party that I wasn't invited to. So I thought I'd introduce myself. Hi, again. [Big Grin]

I hope this is in the right place, or on subject. If not, whip me multiple times and throw me into the "We've Got Mail" section for constant ridicule.

I was searching for photos or artistic renderings of Thomas Pynchon's works (mainly from The Crying of Lot 49) and came across this photo (I'm linking to it because it's pretty big):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/oedipa/ThomasPynchon.jpg

It came from a French internet magazine called Delirium

As any Pynchon fan knows, the guy hates having his photo taken. So much so that it became TWO gags on the Simpsons.

So, I'm wondering if this is an actual picture of Pynchon post-fame.

There are many pictures out there before he started writing, like this one:

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I tend to think the first picture is real. The facial qualities are the same, if a bit older, and the teeth are still misshapen.

Also, the original photo shows the man wearing a nametag with "Thomas Pynchon" plastered on it in English and other languages, leading to the assumption that he is at an international conference of some sort.

Then again, it could be just a coincidence. It could be some poor schmuck sharing the same name and likeness.

Am I dense and this is the real Pynchon or is something else afoot?

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"As convenient as it may be, it's time I started taking responsibility for the messes I've created instead of always blaming everything on the law of entropy"

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TuFurg
The First USA Noel


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According to what I read Thomas Pynchon is about 69 years old. The guy in your photo looks to be in his mid 30's so if that photo is of him it would have been taken in the 70's. It doesn't look that dated IMO to have been taken back them but there is certainly a striking similarity. Could be I just haven't seen enough old photographs to know what they look like. The tshirt and clip on the shirt may be telling.

Can't quite make out the writing on his tag, that could be of some help.

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Robofication, Lightly Roasted
Jingle Bell Hock


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I thought the same thing, that Pynchon was close to 70. But, I have seen some pretty "young" looking 70 year olds.

The Tag appears to have some pictograms across the top--I'm not fluent in what language these pictograms are from (kanji, mandarian, etc.). Underneath, there appears to be some words in German that read:

"Unlimited [garbled] Welk Autriche Musican."

Then the name "Thomas Pynchon" at the bottom.

I blew up the tag and tried to de-noise it as best I could.


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"As convenient as it may be, it's time I started taking responsibility for the messes I've created instead of always blaming everything on the law of entropy"

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YudanTaiteki
Deck the Malls


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The Japanese says "mottomo daiyuu" which I guess is supposed to mean "best friend" although it sounds like sort of foreigner-Japanese. (I don't even think "daiyuu" is a real Japanese word)
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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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While "mottomo daiyu" isn't a Japanese phrase, "Mottomo Otomo" (a different pronunciation of the same characters) is the name of a CD and a music festival featuring Otomo Yoshihide, an improvisational musician. (Otomo is a fairly ordinary surname.) The festival was held "in Wels, Austria, in late 1999" according to cached but not maintained Internet sources. This name tag seems to be from that festival. (Note on the festival link that the title contains the word "UNLIMITED" in all caps.)

[ETA] Apparently the UNLIMITED festival has been held many times so this photo could have been taken at any of the times Otomo attended, not necessarily 1999.
http://zellinger.org/w8/content.php?content_id=337
The festival's blog mentions something in German about "Thomas Pynchon came!" (Or maybe not. I don't know any German.)
http://zellinger.org/w8/content.php?content_id=447

[ETA2] Apologies for the multiple edits but I thought it would be better to have all this info in one place. I believe that name tag would more than likely have to be from the 1999 Unlimited festival, the only one called Mottomo Otomo and the only one curated by Otomo.

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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大友 = ootomo, lots of hits on Google.

最も 大友 is "most distinguished friend" or a friendly-ish "guest of honor" tag, I expect.

EDIT: or perhaps not. At least I got the pronunciation right . . .

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Thinking about New England / missing old Japan

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Considering the evidence for and against, including Pynchon's apparent love of jazz, his age in 1999... I don't know. I suppose it could be he just looks very young for his age (62 in 1999?) or with a flash in the face. But why would he advertise his presence at a jazz festival with a name tag if he tends to be a person who would prefer to remain anonymous and unphotographed? It all seems fairly unlikely to me.
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Chocolate-Addict
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The German from Ganzfeld's last link says:
SENSATION! THOMAS PYNCHON IS COMING!
Unbelievable but true ... the following e-mail has reached us via some detours
"Would it be possible do make a reservation for your house in Wels for a room from Saturday to Sunday for two. I would love to come by with Thomas! Regards Takeshi"
I think that this hint is more than enough.

I'm not sure if this helps to clarify this issue, but I thought I'd share this. [Wink]

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Robofication, Lightly Roasted
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
Considering the evidence for and against, including Pynchon's apparent love of jazz, his age in 1999... I don't know. I suppose it could be he just looks very young for his age (62 in 1999?) or with a flash in the face. But why would he advertise his presence at a jazz festival with a name tag if he tends to be a person who would prefer to remain anonymous and unphotographed? It all seems fairly unlikely to me.

According to the various Japanese translations offered, it appears that the tag is a "VIP" of sorts. And the photo looks to have been taken backstage at the event (note the lights and their position).

Also, it doesn't look like he's posing but had the photo snapped while he was enroute somewhere.

I'd say he's wearing the equivilant of a VIP tag (thus his actual wearing in risk of announcing himself).

This all makes me wish I understood languages other than Spanish and French. And a bit of Yiddish. Oy!

--------------------
"As convenient as it may be, it's time I started taking responsibility for the messes I've created instead of always blaming everything on the law of entropy"

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hudders
I Saw Three Shipments


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This picture was snapped by South African Sunday Times photographer James Bone in 1998. It is absoloutely awful and neither confirms or denies the OP:

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However, it's the only confirmed photograph of Pynchon in 40 years. The hairstyle certainly seems similar.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Robofication:
quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
Considering the evidence for and against, including Pynchon's apparent love of jazz, his age in 1999... I don't know. I suppose it could be he just looks very young for his age (62 in 1999?) or with a flash in the face. But why would he advertise his presence at a jazz festival with a name tag if he tends to be a person who would prefer to remain anonymous and unphotographed? It all seems fairly unlikely to me.

According to the various Japanese translations offered, it appears that the tag is a "VIP" of sorts. And the photo looks to have been taken backstage at the event (note the lights and their position).
"Mottomo Ootomo" doesn't mean "VIP". It's just a title, a play on the rhyme of the words ending in "tomo" that means "The Most Ootomo". (Like CNN's play on Jeanne Moos' name, The Most Moos, was it?)

I'm willing to believe it's a backstage VIP pass for the 1999 UNLIMITED but the Japanese doesn't have anything to do with being a VIP.

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notsmiffy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but a comparison of that photo with those found at http://www.libyrinth.com/pynchon/pynchon_images.html

indicates it's just a lookey-likey. Generally, I think the ears and nose are wrong, and I'd be very suprised if Pynchon, a man who has gone to such lengths to maintain his privacy, would let a photographer get that near to his face. The only reason Pynchon stood still for the Bone shot, according to Bone's own account, is because he didn't realise Bone was aiming the camera at him in particular (something the composition of the picture seems to bear out).

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I think the giveaway is the nose. Unless the bridge of his nose has grown wider over the years (which would be pretty unusual), that couldn't be him.

Welcome to th' board notsmiffy. Don't tell me you joined just to help us chase Pynch?

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notsmiffy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Well, the Pynchon thing was the last straw, so to speak, that broke my lurkage.

It's nice to be here.

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