While I celebrate Matt and Max’s triumphant finishes, I have to face facts. I did not make the original deadline. And I don’t know that I’m going to have the mental energy for a while to even make a “Real End of Summer” deadline (though I am going to try).
I really wanted to hold on, and lead the troops (all two of them) into the Final Battle. I had drafts upon drafts of inspirational speeches prepared.
But now it is time to admit that a) I didn’t do it and b) that that’s okay. Not to over-Identify with the poor ETA schmucks, but after working at 2 jobs 8 hours a day 7 days a week nonstop for the past 3 weeks, I have to say I think I finally understand what it’s like to be a legit student athlete, at least in terms of those dual commitments. I mean, I was a varsity athlete for two years in high school but that was nowhere near the ETA experience. I found my version of The Show…which, ironically enough, is sort of Showbiz. And I’m doing what I gotta do to get there.
When I really galvanized this project back in the spring, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing come fall. It seemed like a good way to cope with the uncertainty. And then when things started to fall into place for moving to California, there was still a great deal of uncertainty so I clung to this book like a lifeline. And it made for great company, when I was awkwardly sitting at home trying to save money by not socializing, or when I was driving across the country and getting into fights with my sister, or when I bounced around on people’s couches in between job interview after job interview. And I miss it already, and I want to finish it before that feeling is gone.
So I’m giving myself a two week extension or so. Gonna try…god willing…to finish this baby up by the actual end of summer, September 23rd. I’m gonna just take it little by little and see where I get. Because beating myself up over missing out on the Grand Finale makes the book feel like less and less of a comfort. And I don’t want it to become that.
“There is an ending as far as I’m concerned. Certain kind of parallel lines are supposed to start converging in such a way that an ‘end’ can be projected by the reader somewhere beyond the right frame. If no such convergence or projection occurred to you, then the book’s failed for you.”
Above is an actual quote from Dubs himself. I want to believe that he always had a clear view of the characters and storylines of the book and how it was all going to end. I mean the book begins at the end. Or, at least, the farthest point in Subsidized Time. During these last three sections I have actually referred to that college session with Hal so many times. The only way to make sense of the ending was to go back to the beginning. Kind of ironic. Kind of exactly what Dubs wants you do to. Kind of WHY IT IS FUCKING CALLED INFINITE JEST GOD DAMMIT I JUST REALIZED THAT!
I don’t think I’m going to write a regular post this time. I’ll give a quick shout out to parts I liked from this final section at the end. But mostly, I want to use this time to reflect on this gargantuan mind-fuck and the journey it has dragged me through over the past 13 weeks.
If you were confused at the ending I highly recommend reading this. I believe it is a very accurate connection of all the points and storylines brought up in the book. It helped polish some of my theories that I had but couldn’t really finish out because of everything that was happening in this book. I also believe that once I re-read it most of these things will become clear. It’s as if Dubs had all the events in order and then right before handing it in he dropped all the papers and had to just pile them up and hope it made sense. This is obviously not what happened but it almost makes sense.
This book is called Infinite Jest because Dubs has presented it in such a way that he is begging you to re-read it right away. It is an Infinite Loop that you can’t escape because Dubs is so talented and has presented you with so many interesting the vague storylines that you can’t help but keep reading it until your brain can fully understand. And it’s 1000+ pages long because he wants you to vaguely remember the beginning by the time you reach the end. God dammit, Dubs. God dammit.
Dubs loves the idea of giving you JUST enough information to keep you confused but also JUST enough answers to let you connect many things over time. That is why every sentence in this book counts. That is why when I found myself dozing or thinking of other things while reading I begrudgingly forced myself back so I could re-read and understand what I had missed. Every detail counts and Dubs puts details everywhere. It’s daunting and heavy shit and it is why this book knocks out so many of its challengers (the readers). It knocked me out 3 separate times this summer. I am not kidding you when I say I cannot believe I actually finished. I thought I was done so many times. I found myself 2 weeks behind 3 separate times and had to slap myself, hunker down and just blast my brain with Dubs.
It was all worth it, though. Like really, truly worth it. Holding the entire book in my left hand as I read these final 75+ pages was amazing. These final three sections have been incredible. So many times I found myself sitting outside or on my usual couch spot just reading and then pausing to look up and think about everything Dubs has put us through. All the events and characters and all that other deep-meaningful shit. Dubs saved the best information for last and who would have guessed he would do it any other way?
I’m genuinely going to miss doing this every week. This was the perfect thing for me to do right after graduating college. In 3 days I’m moving to Brooklyn to live in my first apartment. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and happiness because of this book and this group. So thank you for that. And until next time. Because, as Matt and I now know, there actually has to be a next time in order to fully, truly understand this god damn book.
Okay, I guess it is time to talk about the section.
The part on 925 when Gately woke up from drug use and would look at P.H.-J. and see her age and be happy and Gately not realizing that this was love. Beautiful.
Gately’s whole past story with Fax and Whitey is like something out of a Tarantino film.
So happy Dubs wrote about a snow storm. The sky looking sick part. So satisfying. Made me feel like it was the middle of winter even in the end of summer.
All the descriptions and visuals Hal has while remembering his childhood. So satisfying for some reason.
My theory about the wraith (see previous post by me) is absolutely true and hammered home by the strange events happening at ETA. Like all the things being in weird places and the Darkness’ bed hovering on the ceiling.Himself is a restless motherfucking spirit and I love it. Poor, the Darkness. The description of what happened to his face post-window is crazy. The part where they say he’s like a Pizza when someone removes all the cheese.
John Wayne and the Moms?!?!?!
964-965 where we get a glimpse at every player’s pre-game rituals as they prepare to play against the Canadiens but THEN OH WAIT RIGHT THE CANADIENS WERE KILLED BY WHEELCHAIR ASSASSINS AND NOW THEY’RE KILLING CHILDREN AAAAHHH DAMMIT!!!!
I’m gonna have to agree with Matt on this final section. To use his words:
“I just like to refer to this section as the ‘HOLY SHIT WHY STOP DESCRIBING THINGS TO ME JUST LET THE BOOK END GUH THIS IS GROSS JUST DON’T TOUCH GATLEY!!!!!’ section.”
Could not have said it better. Jesus lord, Dubs just wants us to suffer even on the final fucking page.
So thanks you, Dubs. Thank you for writing such an important book. A book that will definitely go down in my life as one of my favorites of all time. Your writing is like any other and I honestly can’t wait to put myself through this book again.
Welp. Looks like we have come to the end of this fine and less than fair weathered journey we embarked upon over the course of the past few months this summer. While the deadlines and headwinds were less than ideal and stressful at times I can say I have really enjoyed this project as it has encouraged me to read and appreciate novels more critically and sarcastically. Infinite Jest will probably not go down as my favorite book of all time. (For a variety of reasons. Mostly foot note related reasons and a lack of paragraph breaks / indentations.) However, I do think it is an important, useful, and most importantly entertaining book for people our age to read. People in the process of figuring out and sorting out their lives. Not that lives ever really become more sorted or organized. They just go through momentary patches of false calm. This false calm is often then followed by a tidal wave and typhoon of upheaval. But this upheaval can be fun while also being incredibly scary. So, I want to thank DFW and Infinite Jest for reminding me that I am human. A human that enjoys friends, family, the possibility for a tomorrow that is equally as entertaining as today was, and the ability to laugh at the world around me.
Infinite Jest will be an important book to me though. A book I will be interested to reread in the near future. I am excited to go back and look at my notes several years down the line and see what my crazy, stupid, anxious little 24 year old brain was thinking and blowing up at on the evening where I was reading that exact passage. Infinite Jest has made me want to read more and appreciate the people around me more. I feel in the past few months I have really calmed down and become more aware of who I am as a person and just what I want and like in people and myself. So, thanks DFW for your words and footnotes of wisdom. I look forward to seeing what sort of person I continue to turn into. I don’t know if that person will find a love that’ll last him for a very long time. I don’t know if that person will be funny. I don’t know if that person will be successful in comedy, theatre, education, etc. I don’t know if this person will stay close to his friends or if they will drift apart. I do know that Matt Strote as a person will strive to make the choices he knows deep down in his heart and gut are the right ones to make. I sure like the person I currently am and I am sure I will like the one I become next even more.
And now…back to your regularly scheduled lack luster attempts at humorous literary analysis.
“This is nothing to laugh at I don’t think Hal. There’s I swear to fucking God a human strip of forehead-flesh upstairs on the hall window, and what looks like two eyebrows, and bits of nose. And now Tall Paul says down in the lobby Stice was seen coming out of the infirmary wearing something out of Zorro.” – Page 909
Let’s just refer to this last and final section of reading for us Infinite Summer kids “The Gross and Makes Me Squirm Section.”
“W. Sorkin, like most psychosomatic-level neurotics, was spiteful to his enemies and overgenerous to his friends.” – Page 914
If this is the classification for a neurotic person…consider me a super neurotic person.
It’s like his shoulder’s grown its own testicles and every time his heart beats some very small guy kicked him in them, the testicles.” – Page 920
“What helped make the involvement disastrous was that Pamela Hoffman-Jeep was either so leglessly drunk or so passively hungover all the time that any sort of sex any time at all with her would have classified as Taking Advantage.” – Page 924
“Deaths poster child” of a drunk.
“At some point Gatley tried to stand and was rudely assaulted by the floor, and wet his own pants.” – Page 936
Floor, why you gotta go and do that! That is super rude. Gatley did nothing to you and you just went up and assaulted him. So rude!
The advancement of the urine assaulting the finishing of the floor.
Does it make me a strange person if I was super concerned with the state of the floor and its finishing as the urine attacked it during Gatley’s drug binge?
“There were a few glitters of a possible incipient panic-attack again.” – Page 942
This bit of narration probably pops up in my life narrators script every few hours or so.
“I adjusted my angle on the carpet. I was trying to align myself along some sort of grain in the world I could barely feel.” – Page 950
I feel like I am on the right angle right now. So, that is kind of neat.
“LIFE IS LIKE TENNIS THOSE WHO SERVE BEST USUALLY WIN.” – Page 952
“The brutal questions are the ones that force you to lie.” – Page 954
“…the Warshavers, the Gartons and Peltasons and Prines, the Shins, the Middlebrooks and Gelbs…” _ Page 964
These names could not get any more “New England-esque.”
“It occurred to him if he died everybody would still exists and go home and eat and X their wife and go to sleep.” – Page 973
Thanks for cheering us up as always Gatley.
“A conversating voice at the door laughed and told somebody else it was getting harder to tell the homosexuals from the people who beat up homosexuals.” – Page 973
“You get to like the sight of your own blood after a while….When Gatley could look away from the stuff going in, he saw the librarian-type lady was sewing Fackelmann’s eyelids open to the skin above his eyebrows.” – – Page 979
“…they’d given Fackelmann the anti-narc so he’d feel the needle as they sewed his eyes open.” – Page 980
“The corporate-tool type was dropping fluid from a pipette into Fackelmann’s sewed-open eye…” – Page 980
I just like to refer to this section as the “HOLY SHIT WHY STOP DESCRIBING THINGS TO ME JUST LET THE BOOK END GUH THIS IS GROSS JUST DON’T TOUCH GATLEY!!!!!” section.
“And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.” – Page 981
I’m sitting here exhausted after having to drive my 14 year old brother to pre-season cross country training at 6:30 in the morning and I can’t believe where I am in this book. It is absurd to think we only have one section left. I’m honestly sad about it. This book just gets better and better and I can smell a fantastic ending. Like a tournament, it seems like we have narrowed down to two huge narratives. Hal and Gately, the final battle between two fucked up people. Shit is getting real people. Let’s talk about it. And by talk I mean let me write about my favorite parts and you read about me liking them. Alright.
Right away, 1 page into this section I already enjoyed it. On page 834 we read about the continuing adventures of injured Don Gately and his faitful sidekick the wraith (THAT I THINK IS HIMSELF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?). But this part in particular was interesting because of Gately’s revealed obsession with Cheers and all kinds of 80’s-90’s television. I actually was floored by this part because this past year I wrote a play that was solely based on an Austrian man who has the ability to creat alternate universes where sitcoms are created. Like the TV is just a small window we have been granted to look into this alternate timeline. And the Austrian man’s childhood obsession was Cheers. So that’s fun.
Gately’s sexual fantasy about Joelle on 847 is crazy. Just imagining Joelle’s body with Winston Churchill’s face is insane. Hard to shake that from my mind pushing forward. Dubs has this amazing skill at being so descriptive that he tattoos images onto my mind. Has this happened to anyone else?
On 850 Gately literally dreams the entirety of The Entertainment. This was a strange reveal for me. In part it strengthens my theory that the Wraith is the ghost of Himself. Which would totally make sense if you think about it. They say people often become ghosts because they themself were haunted with shit in their lifetime and who was more fucked up than Himself in his universe? Oh, right, literally every character. Right. I forgot. The other part that made this a weird reveal for me is how the hell is he able to do that? I guess it strengthens the idea of why Infinite Jest V or VI is so fucking powerful and has the ability to fuck people over mentally, you know? I hope we find out???
Stice and the motherfucking window. Oh boy. This was my favorite part of the section. Every time new things are presented about the character of Hal we realize he is slowly slipping. I mean most kids who are top ranked at ETA are slipping. They start every day crying so they can’t later? Like what the fuck? That whole curved hallway with nothing but the sound of weeping teenagers is a haunting scenario. But anyway, back to the task at hand. Stice and the motherfucking window.
The minute we were told Hal was going to pull him off I was like NOPE DON’T NO! And of course, Dubs couldn’t resist writing probably the most disturbing part of the book so far. At least I thought so. A close second going to the guy who died by way of wheelchair assassin shoving a sharpened broom stick up his butt and out his mouth. Poor guy. But that whole thing with Hal pulling and Stice’s skin pulling tight. I mean I can’t even think about it without getting light headed. Jesus christ. Let’s just move on.
I really enjoyed the whole part where Tine and Veals and the rest talk about and view the cheesy propaganda against viewing The Entertainment. Brought to mind all the old movies they used to show our parents when they were in grade school. You know, the ones about what to do if a bomb ever dropped. As if fetal-positioning under your desk would save you from it. Thanks a lot, the 50’s.
“He says all we know is it looks really entertaining. But that it really just wants to take away your functionality. He says we know its…Canadian” Page 882. I love that part. Fully Functional Phil the Ass is just the best. And the fact that they have another ad just like this but aimed at teenagers that features him breakdancing more. Ugh. Great. Dubs knows how to make great cocktails of characters and scenarios. Like combining this terrible animated ad with the precise planning and military-esque dialogue of politicians and business men.
Gately trying to communicate with the pen and paper. Gold. All I have to say on that.
Gately punching the doctor in the balls! Yes! That doctor is a great character too. The way Dubs describes him I can only picture him as Chris Traeger from Parks and Rec but as a doctor and Pakistani/Indian as Gately says.
God I hope him punching him in the balls wasn’t just a dream. So satisfying.
McDade and Diehl, the real pranksters of Boston AA. I feel like they should adopt Pemulis and they could all live out their days scamming and pranking their way through Boston. How I wish. I’m afraid to find out what happens to Pemulis, to be honest.
Finally, the entire stretch of narrative via Hal from pages 896-906 is insane. We find out so much about him in such short bursts/ Intricately written. We get to experience Hal having a full mental breakdown via this part and Dubs is a master at leading us through it. The nonsense just spitting out. It’s hard to describe. Just a pleasure-filled and such a painful read at exact same time.
There is so little left in this book. I honestly cannot believe I’m this close to finishing. I’m so excited. my book has been through so much, traveling all over the country with me. I’m equal parts ready to be done and not wanting it to ever finish. I’m also excited to have the boasting rights. We get a badge, right? We mail in proof of finishing and they give us some kind of reward. They have to. It would be absolutely unfair if they didn’t. At least a t shirt. Cmon. I’ll talk to someone about. I’ll have my people call their people.
Well folks, it looks like we are in the home stretch here when it comes to Infinite Jest. I promise I will write something deep, meaningful, hard-hitting, analytically complex, entertaining, and eye-opening. (Or I might just convey my feelings via gigs because let’s be honest who doesn’t like a nice gif from time to time.) I am sad this journey is coming to an end despite the often terrifying deadlines and speed at which I have had to read / skim this book.
I appreciate and recognize Gatley’s impressive ability to recall television knowledge even when he is overcoming major injury.
If I was in a hospital recovering a major surgery or injury I would hope to God I could pull out a plethora of MASH and Sienfeld quotes.
If I didn’t do it I think my friends and loved ones would think I had sustained a serve head trauma that effected my horribly annoying memory.
“Resentment Is The #1 Offender” – Page 837 – 838
This Boston AA cliché that Gatley has started to believe is one that I often find myself trying to believe in as well. Unless you seriously fuck up in my eyes, chances are I can and will forgive you pretty soon. There is no use in hating someone or resenting them for something they have done. What’s the phrase…everyone is the protagonist of their own story or on their own journey or some shit?
Be considerate and not a jerk.
Marathe’s decision whether or not to assault ETA truly proves his military and tactical prowess.
“A direct assault upon the Academy of Tennis itself was impossible. A.F.R.s fear nothing in this hemisphere except tall and steep hillsides.” – Page 845
“They would place a large mirror in the deserted road and delude the tennis bus that it must leave the road to avoid impact; it’s own headlights would delude it.” – Page 846
Either the American are idiots or everyone just happens to think they are.
The intermittent descriptions of little things Mario does are both endearing and aggressively annoying.
These things include his snoring, use of a ludicrous number of pillows, his setting up and getting into his camera headgear, and constant smiling.
“Last year Heath Pearson had appeared for the gala in a red vest and bellboy’s cap and furry tail, carrying a little organ and inviting patrons to grind the organ while he capered around chattering.” – Page 853
God bless you Heath Pearson.
Hal is a little dependent on weed. Just a little bit.
“It occurred to me that without some one-hitters to be able to look forward to smoking alone in the tunnel I was waking up every day feeling as though there was nothing in the day to anticipate or lend anything any meaning.” – Page 853
Embrace me sweet death for without weed I have nothing.
“Joelle doesn’t know that newly sober people are awfully vulnerable to the delusion that people with more sober time than them are romantic and heroic, instead of clueless and terrified and just muddling through day-by-day like everybody else in AA is…” – Page 855
All people are muddling through life and horrible people deep down. We are all truly miserable and terrified people that have no earthly clue what we are doing.
“FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.” “What if you never make it?” “WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!?!” “Fake it till you-“ “EXACTLY!”
“If a halfway-attractive female so much as smiles at Don Gatley as they pass on a crowded street, Don Gatley, like pretty much all heterosexual drug addicts, has within a couple blocks mentally wooed, shacked up with, married and had kids by that female…” – Page 862
If it is only straight drug addicts that do this then I guess you can consider me a drug addict. Literally anyone in public on the street, on public transportation especially.
“Lots of top players start the A.A. with a quick fit of crying, then are basically hale and well-wrapped for the rest of the day.” – Page 864
All people should start off the day with a good solid cry for 5 minutes or so. It cleanses your tear ducts and gives you that lovely emotional glow about you as you eat your breakfast.
“The walls of the subdorm’s hallways are dinner-mint blue. The walls of the rooms themselves are cream. All the woodwork is dark and varnished, as is the guilloche that runs below all E.T.A. ceilings; and the dominant odor in the hallways is always a mixture of varnish and tincture of benzoin.” – Page 864
These dorm descriptions just make me think of Catcher in the Rye and other dorm type stories that I fell in love with when I was younger.
Poor Stice’s forehead.
“The sound was like some sort of elastic from hell.” – Page 871
“…listening to the little Rice-Krispie sound of his skin’s collagen-bundles stretching and popping…” – Page 871
“Fuck me skating did that ever hurt.” – Page 872
Oh good…Troeltsch is here and he is talking into his fist again.
Is this conversation between Hal and Stice the first actual heart to heart / generally sweet conversation between two teenagers in this book?
Jeeze this took a while to happen.
And here I thought everyone in the book was an asshole.
I recently read something by Stephen Colbert where he was describing how he enjoyed and lived for awkward moments and discomfort. These moments prove that he is alive and that they cannot kill him. Like walking into a crowded elevator and singing loudly. This seemingly weird or awkward moment can and will pass. I find this idea reassuring. Take more risks and just do things.
I think I actually like Gatley more than I like Hal. To me Hal still seems sort of hazy character wise to me. I have a much clearer picture of Gatley in my mind.
Wow. Okay. I am ashamed and beating myself up for being late for a second week in a row. Especially since this section was unbelievably good. Wow. I hope I can articulate all my love for these last 80ish pages. Also, reading this section was the first time it hit me: we’re almost done. Like actually this time. At the end of this section we have only a couple pages of end notes left. And even those are all just short blurbs. We are less than 150 pages away. Like what the fuck. I loved this section though. I usually dog ear the bottom of a page when I come across something I want to blog about later and this section is SO FUCKING FULL of good shit I ended up dog ear-ing a record number of pages (Average is like 6-7 and in Section 11 I dog eared 26 pages.) Like it got so bad at one point I dog eared on a dog ear so I could note down several things on one freaking page. Okay, let’s get into it.
At first, I thought it was really sweet that Hal was so persistent that Mario comes back and sleeps in the dorm. But later in the section it’s revealed that it is mainly to vent about his own problems to Mario, who will always listen/react positively. I guess that is what brothers do? I don’t know. The Incandenza’s are fucked up. If there’s anything we can all agree on it is that fact. The conversation between Mario and the Moms is adorable, however. It’s clear that she genuinely loves her children and it almost seems like she loves Mario the most. Maybe it’s because he is the most like Himself? I just thought of that. Huh.
Kate Gompert being drunk with Marathe in disguise. Woah. That was some heavy shit. It is so sad to see an addict slip. The italics in her speech were used so well, though. and Marathe opening up about his childhood was awesome. He basically just substituted Canada with Sweden and if Kate wasn’t drunk I think she might have noticed. As we get farther and farther into this book Dubs is making it so clear why Canadians would have Americans.
THE ENTERTAINMENT HAS BEEN DEFINED! I honestly thought this day would never come. There is so much talk about it that I thought Dubs would fucking trick us into wanting to so bad and never show us. Leave it up to our imaginations. But nope! And jesus christ. It is some heavy shit. When Dubs wants to be descriptive he fucking does it. No matter what character he is speaking through. I was kind of hoping that one of the reasons Infinite Jest V or VI was so addictive and destructive would be the sight of Joelle’s face. But alas, twas never meant to be.
INFINITE JEST: ORIGINS. Someone should compile all of the backstory sections and make a smaller character book. In this section we got a glimpse at so many pasts. The most notable being a tie between Joelle’s disfiguration/family life and Tiny’s debt-ridden 3rd grade existence.
POOR PEMULIS! That’s all I really have to say on the matter. I feel for that kid so hard and he has no luck whatsoever. Those long footnotes about him were terrible. Albeit hilarious with Wayne getting high as shit and using the school PA system to do an individual critique of every resident of ETA. Incredible.
And now we get to my favorite part of Infinite Jest to date. Pages 795-808. Hal’s NA Adventure. From start to finish this was the funniest piece of literature I have ever read. Just so inherently hilarious. God damn, Dubs. Thank you. Some of my favorite parts and quotes:
-“Hal for a while also practices saying ‘My name’s Mike.’ ‘Mike. Hi.’ ‘Hey there, name’s Mike.’ etc., into the truck’s rearview.” 797.
-“The whole cubular building seems to Hal to hold the tensed menace of a living thing that’s chosen to hold itself still.” 798. LIKE WHAT THE FUCK HOW DOES DUBS JUST KNOW HOW TO PERFECTLY DESCRIBE EVERYTHING? I have a running theory that he is just god himself fucking around and writing books. Because, no offense to any religious readers of this blog, but this is better than The Bible.
-I love everything the group says to Kevin to support him. So absurd. So lovely.
-Just the fact that he drives all this way to experience the Inner Infant meeting. I was just so intensely happy during this whole part.
-“The music’s still going, going absolutely nowhere, like Philip Glass on Quaaludes.” 802.
-THE FUCKING BEARS.
-And the last paragraph on 808 is golden. Just so satisfying. I’m under the strong belief that this whole book cannot be turned into a movie. But that guy who owns the rights should just keep doing tiny scenes until the entire book is complete. I would do anything to make this part an online sketch. Anything.
I have a theory on why this section was so good. Dubs is rewarding us for getting this far. All of these incredible sections are his version of slow clapping in the theater.
The closer and closer that I get to the end of Infinite Jest, the more I think I am looking for gems and nuggets of deep thought and the more I sort of hate myself for it. This is a thing that I am sure many of the rest of us have faced in any English class throughout our schooling years. The teacher will prompt the class to discuss “Why the author did _______?” There has to be a reason for them doing _______. What is it? Maybe the author just wrote some things down on the page and we, the readers, are creating and making up this “deep stuff”. This is not to say that DFW and other popular authors are not deep and complicated special snowflakes that are filled to the brim with ideas. But, and especially with a giant book like Infinite Jest, who has time to think of and drop literally truth bombs on every page?!?!? That sounds astoundingly difficult and time intensive. Anyway…enough of my usual complaining.
I fluctuate wildly between loving Mario and thinking he is the most adorable, artist, and endearing thing ever and wanting to punch him in the throat. Listening to him talk or rather try to talk to people is a challenge in itself.
“What if you, like, only suspect somebody’s sad. How do you reinforce the suspicion?” – Page 763
“Well the person in question may cry, sob, weep, or, in certain cultures, wail, keen, or rend his or her garments.” – Page 764
Still quite a few pages left. It is entirely possible for Mario to be a robot. That’s where my money is.
“There are apparently persons who are deeply afraid of their own emotions, particularly the painful ones. Grief, regret, sadness. Sadness especially, perhaps. Dolores describes these persons as afraid of obliteration, emotional engulfment. As if something truly and thoroughly felt would have no end or bottom. Would become infinite and engulf them.” – Page 765
This resonates with me and not in a way to cause alarm or anything. But I do feel and recognize the desire to not have negative emotions in my like. I don’t like feeling sad or mad or unhappy. I bet many other people feel this way as well. Yet, what is the sentimental saying, where it more or less tells you that you can’t know what happiness is without sadness? That the happiness and joy that you can find in your life will mean nothing if you do not have negative experiences to balance against them and compare them to?
“I have a phenomenal memory for things that make me laugh is what I think it is.” – Page 772
If you make me laugh, chances are I will remember you and like you.
“I like the fans’ sound at night. Do you? It’s like somebody big far away goes like: it’sOKit’sOKit’sOKit’sOK, over and over. From very far away.” – Page 772
The BFG just whispering this to you from miles and miles away.
“You’re saying this is love? This isn’t love? I’ll know when it’s love because of the way it’ll feel. It won’t be about spinal fluid and despair believe you me, Bucko. It’ll be about your eyes meet across someplace and both your knees give out and from that second forward you know you’re not going to be along and in hell.” – Page 780
If love is having your knees give out I bet there would be a lot more horrible accidents and people in hospitals on a daily basis.
“I was at the top of the stairs and then I looked down at this woman entering the lobby and my knees gave out as my heart leapt into my throat. I then tumbled the four flights of stairs to meet her at the reception desk. We are engaged to be married next month.”
….”it features Madame Psychosis as some kind of maternal instantiation of the archetypal figure Death, sitting naked, corporeally gorgeous, ravishing, hugely pregnant, her hideously deformed face…sized into unrecognizability as any kind of face by the camera apparently very strange and novel lens, sitting there nude, explaining in a very simple childlike language to whomever the film’s camera represents that Death is always female, and that female is always maternal.” – Page 788