Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:05 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Forum rules


There are NO spoiler restrictions in this forum. Caveat emptor.



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:27 pm
Posts: 20
I have looked and I think we have not discussed the content of the Entertainment! How can this be?
Joelle, pregnant, then looking down into a camera in a baby carriage on a wobbling mount with suspicious lenses, saying "I'm sorry" a gazillion times! WTF?
The idea that the woman who ends up killing you is your mother in the next life, and is apologizing to you for it. Holy shit that's a helluva matzah ball for JOI to throw at Avril, don't you think? Especially when the point is to get your son who "can't speak" engaging again? :idea:
PLease please hash this out with me!
Misogyny? Yes! Mother-indictment? Hell yes!
What else? and why?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:49 pm
Posts: 36
I don't see how we get from "the woman who kills you is your mother in the next life" to misogyny and mother-indictment. I presumed the mother in the next life to be a kind and loving mother: one who soothes you and says I'm sorry.

There is another scene described in which Joelle goes through a revolving door at the same time as another character, who I think is pretty likely Stokely "Darkstar" McNair, who was featured in Apprentice! described by Hal late in the novel.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 20
kindermommy wrote:
I have looked and I think we have not discussed the content of the Entertainment! How can this be?
Joelle, pregnant, then looking down into a camera in a baby carriage on a wobbling mount with suspicious lenses, saying "I'm sorry" a gazillion times! WTF?
The idea that the woman who ends up killing you is your mother in the next life, and is apologizing to you for it. Holy shit that's a helluva matzah ball for JOI to throw at Avril, don't you think? Especially when the point is to get your son who "can't speak" engaging again? :idea:
PLease please hash this out with me!
Misogyny? Yes! Mother-indictment? Hell yes!
What else? and why?


I've been trying to figure out how the film is supposed to get Hal to communicate, whether it's the theme or entertainment-factor itself.

I feel that, per JOI's wraith's discussion with Gately, that he didn't think that Hal was literally mute, but that he couldn't communicate in a meaningful manner. Despite one section that discusses Hal's anhedonia, he's very robotic and mechanical (get it- like Hal in Space Odyssey). It seemed that JOI saw a lot of himself in Hal- a brilliant person who somehow cannot parlay that brilliance into emotive expression and emotional intelligence.

The content of the Entertainment itself seems to turn on its head the notion of perfection that Hal is accustomed to. JOI obviously felt that Avril was domineering and enforcer of the same cold perfectionism that JOI tried to drink himself out of. She had Hal memorizing the OED, for the purpose of learning words and meanings mechanically, but in exchange for not developing a sense of "meaning" for himself. Avril's supposed mind games and whatnot supposedly seeded Hal's fear of being unable to please people.

A movie where a mother figure (as the embodiment of death) announces an eternal debt to the viewer maybe was meant incite a paradigm shift for Hal. Hal not having to feel accountable to everyone and instead feel some give-and-take of rights and wrongs in the human experience would be a very different Hal.

It's all somewhat heartwarming if it wasn't kind of obvious, too, that JOI didn't exactly do a lot to help Hal during his own life.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:49 pm
Posts: 7
Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst/philosopher who argued that we spend our entire life trying to recover from the trauma of realizing that the world is external to the self - that (eg) the mother has needs and wants of her own and doesn't just act as a source of nourishment and attention. (I'm well aware that there's a substantial body of literature arguing that Lacan was basically FOS about this and, for that matter pretty much everything else, but bear with me ...) If the movie is thought about from a Lacanian perspective, doesn't it become intensely powerful?

ps. I don't remember if DFW ever specifically mentions Lacan, but he definitely refers to Deleuze, so I think it's a fair bet that he had at least some familiarity with Lacanian ideas.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 30
kindermommy wrote:
I have looked and I think we have not discussed the content of the Entertainment! How can this be?
Joelle, pregnant, then looking down into a camera in a baby carriage on a wobbling mount with suspicious lenses, saying "I'm sorry" a gazillion times! WTF?
The idea that the woman who ends up killing you is your mother in the next life, and is apologizing to you for it. Holy shit that's a helluva matzah ball for JOI to throw at Avril, don't you think? Especially when the point is to get your son who "can't speak" engaging again? :idea:
PLease please hash this out with me!
Misogyny? Yes! Mother-indictment? Hell yes!
What else? and why?


i know it's tough to catch--it confused me too--but in a different forum, it was pointed out that this isn't actually a description of the entertainment. rather, it's a different JOI film: the one in the filmography right before Infinite Jest (V), called "Sorry All Over the Place."

ARE there any attempts to describe what happens in the entertainment anywhere in the novel? i'm curious about this myself (i'm around page 600 right now so there's a lot of text to go yet...)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:58 am
Posts: 14
I've got a couple links that may be a little helpful in parsing out what we know about the Entertainment. On p. 230 Joelle recalls the "mother-death cosmology" that she “repeated over and over, inclined over that auto-wobbled lens propped up in the plaid-sided pram” during the filming of the Entertainment. This mother-death cosmology comes out again in the obscure reference to the Coatlicue Complex on p. 516 (this is the part where Hal is waiting to go into CT's office and is seeing/thinking about Avril).

Basically, Coatlicue is the name of an Aztec goddess who represents both fertility and death. I talk about this in my post on the Coatlicue myth (http://infinitedetox.wordpress.com/2009 ... e-complex/), and Daryl over at Infinite Zombies digs way, way deep in to the Coatlicue myth and looks at some of the possible resonances in IJ (http://infinitezombies.wordpress.com/20 ... coatlicue/).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 30
I just want to be clear that it doesn't actually say straight out on page 230 that Joelle is talking about the Entertainment. She never saw what he was making. He didn't even tell her about it, exactly. But right before Infinite Jest (V) wasn't released, another film, called "Sorry All Over the Place," wasn't released and was logged in the filmography. Joelle might assume that her apologies went into the Entertainment that she's heard rumors about (she uses the term "allegedly") but we don't know that for sure. In fact it seems likely that she got it wrong, given the title of that second-to-last-film. Here's that full passage on 230:

"Would she kill somebody else to get out of the cage? Was the allegedly fatally entertaining and scopophiliac thing Jim alleges he made out of her unveiled face here at the start of YTSDB a cage or really a door? Had he even cut the tape into something coherent? There was nothing coherent in the mother-death-cosmology and apologies she'd repeated over and over, inclined over that auto-wobbled lens propped up in the plaid-sided pram. He never let her see it, not even the dailies. He killed himself less than ninety days later. Fewer than ninety days?"

I think it's a red herring, not an actual description of what goes down in the Entertainment...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:58 am
Posts: 14
Interesting theory, and I had totally looked over that second-to-last film in the filmography, which definitely does complicate things a little. But I still think the evidence leans sharply toward the notion that Joelle is talking about the Entertainment in those passages.

For instance, footnote 80 on p. 999: "[...] to shoot Joelle in the weird wobble-lensed maternal 'I'm-so-terribly-sorry' monologue scene of the last thing he'd done, and then never shown her, and had ordered the cartridge's burial in the brass casket w/him" (emphasis mine). Also note that the narrative voice in this footnote is no longer that free-indirect voice that's hovering close to Joelle around p. 230, but more of a typically omniscient 3rd-person voice (the characters' full names are used on first reference, for instance), which indicates to me that it's probably a little more trustworthy when it comes to factual questions.

Also in the JvD section the word "scopophiliac" gets tossed around in direct reference to the entertainment, and JvD herself uses it when she's referring to the apology-monologue scene. Note also that in the filmography listing for IJ V, there's a reference to "radical experiments in viewers' optical perspective and context," which jives with what Joelle says about the bizarre lens James had constructed for her final scenes.

I mean, unless there's direct textual evidence that Joelle actually is mistaken about the identity of the thing she appeared in, I think we're safe to say she's talking about the Entertainment. Yes, there's that second-to-last film who's title seems thematically linked to the apology scene, but I don't think we can assume that Joelle is mistaken and she actually appeared in that second-to-last film on the basis of that title alone.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 30
I see your point, Infinite Detox, but I'm still not convinced. weren't there those who doubted whether Infinite Jest (v) actually did exist even as an unfinished project? the question of what counts as his last work from an "official" perspective seems to remain an open one. also, we have something in the range of five theories about what ultimately happened to the "master" cartridge of the entertainment--one of which being that it was actually planted in Himself's head. so i'm not convinced by the account that it was buried in his casket at JOI's request. beyond that, the second-to-last title "Sorry all over the place" is just too apt to dismiss, especially since there's so little evidence to go on w/r/t the Entertainment and what it actually IS. given the ambiguity, i'm much more inclined to believe that DFW didn't give us any description at all. it fits better. what could possibly meet a reader's exceedingly built-up expectations about what this crazy-deadly-unwatchable-commercial entertainment is anyway?

having said all that, i REALLY want to know more about what DFW envisioned the entertainment to be...and i'm going to be grumpy if that particular desire remains frustrated after over a thousand pages!! :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment- We haven't talked about the actual film
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:46 pm
Posts: 23
The other thing we are told about the plot of the Entertainment is that it starts with Joelle walking through a revolving door and seeing someone else going the other way; this is corroborated by both Joelle and by the experiments that Steeply tells Marathe about. (That was all they were able to get out of one of their test subjects who was watching it before he stopped talking.). But how do you get from that to the baby scene anyway? Maybe the apologies are part of this other film...

One last thing; when they're interviewing Joelle's friend (I forget her name... Molly?), she keeps referring to the film being either Infinite Jest V or VI, while the filmography has no VI, and is uncertain if V was actually a separate film or just the completion of IV. More facts that I'm not sure what to make of...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Translated by Maël Soucaze © 2009 phpBB.fr