Infinite Jests

08.07.09 | 9 Comments

The ranks of Infinite Summerians are thinning quickly, as participants drop out or finish early. For those of us on the schedule, though, it’s time for a halftime celebration.

John Campbell drew the above two panels in his Hourly Comic Journal. They appeared in the January 9th, 2008 entry. Mr. Campbell went on to write pictures of sad children, which David Foster Wallace Stranded on a Desert Island:

The folks at The Onion clearly carried a torch for Wallace as well, as he was often featured in articles such as Girlfriend Stops Reading David Foster Wallace Breakup Letter At Page 20:

BLOOMINGTON, IL—Claire Thompson, author David Foster Wallace’s girlfriend of two years, stopped reading his 67-page breakup letter at page 20, she admitted Monday.

“It was pretty good, I guess, but I just couldn’t get all the way through,” said Thompson, 32, who was given the seven-chapter, heavily footnoted “Dear John” missive on Feb. 3. “I always meant to pick it up again, but then I got busy and, oh, I don’t know. He’s talented, but his letters can sometimes get a little self-indulgent…

Wallace also made cameos in U.S. Unenjoyment Rate At All-Time High and New Cambodian Barnes & Noble: Will It Threaten Cambodia’s Small Book Shops?. He even made it onto the cover of The Weekender:

Last year, The Onion ran NASCAR Cancels Remainder Of Season Following David Foster Wallace’s Death:

“I first read Infinite Jest in 1998 when my gas-can man gave me a copy when I was a rookie in the Craftsman Truck Series, and I was immediately struck dumb by the combination of effortlessness and earnestness of his prose. Here was a writer who loved great, sprawling, brilliantly punctuated sentences that spread in a kind of textual kudzu across the page, yet in every phrase you got a sense of his yearning to relate and convey the importance of every least little thing. It’s no exaggeration to say that when I won Rookie of the Year that season it was David Foster Wallace who helped me keep that achievement, and therefore my life, in perspective.”

Jason Kottke reprinted an essay entitled Growing Sentences with David Foster Wallace, originally written by James Tanner.

9. Give it that Wallace shine. Replace common words with their oddly specific, scientific-y counterparts. (Ex: ‘curved fingers’ into ‘falcate digits’). If you can turn a noun into a brand name, do it. (Ex: ‘shoes’ into ‘Hush Puppies,’ ‘camera’ into ‘Bolex’). Finally, go crazy with the possessives. Who wants a tripod when they could have a ‘tunnel’s locked lab’s tripod’?

The Howing Fantods held three David Foster Wallace parody competitions. The first two, held in 2004 and 2007, were literary:

The1 car2 pulled3 up4 into5 the6 driveway.7 Daniel8 locked9 up,10 and11 went12 inside.13

For the third, entrants were asked to create DFW-inspired Motivational Posters:

Warning: some of the motivational posters
contain spoilers.

If you know of more Infinite Jest or David Foster Wallace humor on the web, please let us know by email or in the comments.

Update: In a recent post, infinitedetox proposed some Techno-Curmudgeonly Solutions for Life in a Wallacian Dystopia.