March Kelleher––women don’t like the way she turns herself out, men don’t like her attitude.

For my blog post, I chose option 3 and I would like to tie in Haraway’s idea of a posthuman cyborg woman with Pynchon’s character, March Kelleher.

After March gives her enigmatic and way beyond her audience’s head type of commencement speech in the beginning of the novel, she meets Maxine and tells her,

“‘It’s my personality,’ […] ‘The women don’t like the way I turn myself out, the men don’t like my attitude. Which is why I’m starting to cut back on the personal appearances and concentrate instead on my Weblog.’” (Pynchon 114).

This is March’s very first dialogue towards Maxine that we get and she comes off as a pretty headstrong woman, to say the least (for reference, her Weblog is called tabloidofthedamned.com).

The particular section in Haraway’s essay, A Manifesto for Cyborgs, is found on page 23 of the reader.

“Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafting our bodies. These tools embody and enforce new social relations for women worldwide. Technologies and scientific discourses can be partially understood as formalizations, i.e., frozen moments, of the fluid social interactions constituting them, but they should also be viewed as instruments for enforcing meanings. […] Furthermore, communications sciences and modern biologies are constructed by a common move––the translation of the world into a problem of coding, a search for a common language in which all resistance to instrumental control disappears and all heterogeneity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investment, and exchange.”

I think one of Pynchon’s most impressive choices in this novel is that he assigns incredibly important and revolutionary characters to females in Bleeding Edge (i.e. Maxine and March). Though Maxine’s role is obvious and clear in its importance, I think March deserves equal, if not more, praise for her actions as a woman from the beginning to the end of this novel. After the events of 9/11, Pynchon reemphasizes to his readers the role of March and how she has kept herself busy and active with the changes and looming aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers. She has partaken on her own, with full conviction and determination, the role of managing this Weblog that in many ways represents what Haraway is talking about when she speaks of utilizing “communications technologies” not only to recraft women’s bodies, but to be a small part of a bigger move to remove control (i.e. in the control society) in order for all heterogeneity––be it New Yorkers in the city or Americans of various races and genders in this country––to disassemble, assemble, invest, and exchange. I thought it was absolutely wonderful that Pynchon assigned the role of conspiracy blogger to the very confident and unyielding March Kelleher. From the moment we are introduced to March’s choice of commencement speech to her gutsy post of Reg’s footage of the Stinger missiles on the Internet––a Deep Web, a “problem of coding”––that is accessible to so many individuals, we see Haraway’s message that is her manifesto revealing itself in Pynchon’s novel.

The contribution of technology in the reality we experience in the 21st century is truly as invaluable as it is a theme in Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge. Although Pynchon is critical of the control society we are classified as, due to our willingness to give in to technology and offer our very person to each application we download, to each post we publicize on social media, to each password we have our computer memorize for us, it is all the more interesting that he has March Kelleher, use this very technology for her benefit and for her goals as a blogger. Haraway’s words echo in every one of March’s actions––as she is moving from WiFi hotspot to WiFi hotspot to avoid being traced––March is in many ways the recrafted cyborg that Haraway speaks of in postmodern society.

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2 Responses to March Kelleher––women don’t like the way she turns herself out, men don’t like her attitude.

  1. tomhaverford says:

    Nice connection between March and Harraway. March very much resembles the cyborg Harraway speaks of, it is interesting to note March’s role in society in comparison to Haraway’s cyborg vision as a metaphoric paradigm for political action. March uses her Weblog, her “cybernetic” component, much in that same sense as she tries to use her Weblog to sway public opinion.

    Like

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