in the trip after arriving at their destination.nThe human situation is stillnwhatever it was to begin with, even innMerrymount, Connecticut (the settingnfor Noon), except it’s more sophisticated,nmore aware, more New Yorkerish.nFor someone as witty as DeVries, andnfor his fans, that may be as much asnthere is. In Noon, though, the hero isnnot quite the same as in the 20-plusnother DeVries novels where the fellownwho has made it in advertising comesnto this disillusion. The typical DeVriesnprotagonist may have produced heavilynsuggestive commercials exploitativenof women and pandering to men, butnthat’s still not porn. Or, when thennarrator was a writer, he may havenwritten erotically, but that’s not porn.n(Eros is the sophisticate’s porn?) Andnalways he groans at women who saynices (I sez), at men whose hopefullynmodifies nothing.nHere it’s good ol’ boy Eddie Teeters,nthough, who is the gauche one. At thennovel’s opening, he is only six monthsnpast mispronouncing epitome (howndoes he do on epigone?) and now wantsnto get so well set in exurbia that eventuallynhe can have children who willnreject him and all he’s striven for asn”plastic.” A different perspective,nthen. Very soon he meets his Daisy,nhis first “nice” girl. She is CynthianPickles, a toothsome sophisticate whonwants backers for an avant-garde journalnshe is editing. To her, Teeters saysnhe “must of made a delible impressionnon you . . . ” — this after she hasnturned right-side-up his copy of ExistentialnThought Since Kierkegaard,nover which he had been eyeing her atnpoolside. The pool is a public onentaken over from a failed country club:nwould Chirouble go there? wouldnCynthia? I dunno: I’m a new boynmyself, and as such, one trembles fornTeeters—waiting for him to sayingnsomething like “nest pa?”nThere is, as is usual in DeVriesnbooks, an alternative female for thennarrator to choose, a woman who isnusually a bit too tacky or prurient orntoo tackily prurient to be ultimatelynsatisfactory as a mate. In this instancenToby Snapper, a waitress in the convertednclub, is available: she is availablenindeed, but since Teeters hopes tonraise himself “by his own . . .npetard,” she doesn’t seem quite right.nAs usual, there are other female asidesn— DeVries loves women in theirnvariousness—but these are droppednthreads: a Wellesley lit major who hasna summer job as a swillperson (drives angarbage truck) probably is there for thenfun of seeing such a one in such a job,nand Roxy, an assistant to Chirouble, isnin too indeterminate a position to bendeveloped—she’s about halfway (ascending)nbetween Toby and Cynthia.nOne gets used to this sort of smorgasbordnof sexual opportunities that De­nVries presents in his works, thoughnone wishes he would pare it down a bitn(art is supposed to). There is also anmotorcycle gang, which at first challengesnand then supports Teeters, atnone time providing an escort for hisnoutrageous Land Yacht of a car. Teetersnpromises them work, but can’tndeliver after he gets into censorshipndifficulties, and they seem merely tonfloat off.nTeeters courts Cynthia’s mother, anrepresentative of old-fashioned values,nconvincing her he’s true blue (hernphrase). She wants grandchildren,nwhich her step-daughter Cynthia doesnnot plan to give her. For a time thenmother seems likely to adopt Eddie.nBut DeVries pairs her off with anothernold geezer with soda fountain values,nand she’s taken care of Thus we haventhe oddity of an author presentingncharacters younger than himself asnexemplars of virtues much older thannthose of his narrator. It doesn’t seemnright.nToby is the one who pairs withnTeeters, finally, showing that Noon’snopening line is right, that “the troublenwith treating people as equals is thatnthe first thing you know they may bendoing the same thing to you.” Cynthia,nwho had manipulated Teeters tonclimax while they watched him (shenignorantly) act or perform in one of hisnown films, marries Chirouble. Itnseems Teeters does the close-ups himself,nfrom the neck down, at least,nleading up to, as he calls it, la mortndouche. Toby recognizes him by anmole he has, and Cynthia finds out;nneither cares.nOught they? Ought anyone? A Californiancourt recently convicted a pornfilmnproducer on the basis of thatnstate’s anti-pimp law: the court rulednthat anyone who hired women to performnsexually was a pimp—and hisnemployees prostitutes. At Teeters’ trial,nnnDeVries has the defense refer obliquelynto Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’snLover, then goes on to contradictorynexperts who cancel each other out onnthe artistic merit of sexucational films.nThe real question for DeVries seems tonbe whether it would seduce susceptiblenpersonalities, but the asinine pregnantnteenager (who says kwee for could we)nwho testifies cannot be taken seriously.nThe part about the expert witnesses Inbelieve: in the case where I testified, ansocial worker and a sociologist/sexntherapist said the films in questionnwere innocuous films (they were thensort usually advertised as XXX Rated),nin which the people involved werenmerely being “friendly.” My counternwas that literature ordinarily has twoandnthree-dimensional characters, flatnones and round ones (cf E.M. Forster’snAspects of the Novel), those whonare not integral to the story and thosenwhose personalities are developednfully. In pornography, the charactersnare not even flat, not evenntwo-dimensional: they are onedimensional.nPornography treats people,nespecially women, as Things.nThis seemed to convince the jury,nthough the $15,000 fine was of nonconsequence. These films are producednby organizations that, as MeyernWolfsheim says in Gatsby, haven”gonnegtions.”nNot so in The Prick of Noon: EddienTeeters apparently has no underworldngonnegtions and is broken financiallynby his suspended sentence. Teeters hasnto drive his Land Yacht for hire, butnhe’s happy being married to Toby, whonis pregnant—see, pornographers arennormal after all, yearn for a regularnlife—and he’s trying to place a scriptnof his own. At the close, he’s having anhard time raising the money, thoughnhe has faith he can do it.nWhich, of course, is the heart of thenwhole thing: in a Marketplace Economy,nthat which can be sold will bensold, and that which can’t be won’t be.nProbably that’s better than a Plannedn(Censoring) Society, but DeVriesndoesn’t address this issue directly, nonmore than he explores the infrastructurenof pornography. Nor does he asknwhat its actors are like: his star isnnamed Mea Culpa, a woman whonthinks it’s like Mia Farrow’s name. Wennever get to know Mea, for she remainsna flat character. On screen, I’llnDECEMBER 1985 / 15n