Positioning, positioning, Arthur Lomb was forever positioning himself, making his views known, aligning on some index no one would ever consult. Here was Dylan's burden, his cross: the accumulated knowledge of Arthur Lomb's smug policies on every possible question. The cross was Dylan's to bear, he knew, because his own brain boiled with pedantry, with too-eager trivia ready to burst loose at any moment. So in enduring Arthur Lomb Dylan had been punished in advance for the possibility of being a bore.It's been a while, but I do remember this paragraph, now that I see it again. It occurs to me that the forced quality I'm perceiving in the pop culture references may have been the point, the encyclopediac manner in which we gather and harness cultural effluvia. I may have been too hard on Lethem because I recognize that tendency in myself and try to downplay it, because I'm anxious about my own "eager trivia".
I had some other issues with Fortress of Solitude, especially with the last section, but maybe I can lay this particular complaint to rest in my mind.