The final section of Gravity’s Rainbow is mostly split into different mini-sections, with the exception of the very first My Child Is A Collie T-Shirt , which makes up one third of the total length of it. This opening section begins with a depiction of a fictional city which has “grown so tall that elevators are long-haul affairs, with lounges inside.” It is difficult not to draw comparisons with the crystal city mentioned on the opening page of the novel. A tour guide on one of these elevator trips, Mindy Bloth of Carbon City, Illinois, “dreamy and practical as the Queen of Cups,” lets passengers know how the world used to be before “the Vertical Solution” – “all transport was, in effect, two dimensional.” As someone tries to call her out, she explains that airplane flight is different from this, because of a “common aerodynamic effect” whereby gateways are different in shape before and after one travels through them. Lord only knows what that’s supposed to be referring to.
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Nearby is the performance of the tightly leather-clad Lübeck Hitler Youth Glee Club (now known as ‘The Lederhoseners’). In the audience are Thanatz and My Child Is A Collie T-Shirt , who initially discuss the mother’s legs as a security symbol, followed up with an argument about S&M. “Why are we taught to feel reflexive shame whenever the subject comes up?” asks Ludwig. “Why will the Structure allow every other kind of submission but not THAT one? Because submission and dominance are resources it needs for its very survival. […] If S and M could be established universally, at the family level, the State would wither away.” Here, Pynchon tells us that S&M is a political statement – that it has been co-opted by the government as a form of maintaining its power, and that it is in its own interest to retain that power by keeping S&M a shameful act. Otherwise, people would begin to feel pleasure from the Structure’s fucking of them, which would diminish its power, as this power primarily rests in causing fear and discomfort.