Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:50 am
Posts: 6
What *exactly* does it mean?


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 Post subject: Re: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:31 am 
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I don't know, but I love it. It should become a regular part of our language.


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 Post subject: Re: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:26 am
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A kertwang is a situation that sends you careening speedily off in a different direction from the one you were going, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Or it's the act of being so redirected. Thus a practical joke is a kertwang, finding out your father is a cross-dresser is a kertwang, waking up to find your bed is across the room from where it was when you went to sleep is a kertwang. You can kertwang someone else by creating such a situation, or you can be kertwanged by encountering it yourself.

It is no coincidence that KER-TWANG is a cartoonishly exaggerated and distorted version of the noise a tennis racket makes when you hit the ball.

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 Post subject: Re: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:17 am
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Location: Central Vermont
One of my favorite visual images in the book comes early on (page 104): "Hal's face's reflection just fits inside one of the wall-tiles opposite, and then if he moves his head slowly the face distends and comes back together with an optical twang in the next tile." Not exactly a kertwang, but from that point on in my reading I recalled that tile in relation to any other "twanging" reference, and envisioned the sudden release of slow-building tension or a person's/thing's snapping-back to form after being stretched out of shape. Having now read the rest of the book, I love how well that distended/reconstituted image in the tile literally reflects the functioning of poor Hal's mind leading up to the Year of Glad.


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 Post subject: Re: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:28 am 
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I don't remember which pages at all, but there is a section of the book in which he describes the sound of a tennis ball hitting a racket cleanly as a clean pop, or something like that. Conversely, I can't remember if the word "kertwang" was used, but I think the basic concept was described (going with jackd's tennis thing, but to add I think more specifically it's the noise a racket makes when you mishit a ball).


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 Post subject: Re: re: kertwang
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:33 pm
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I had always taken it to be the sound of when you hit a ball and the strings break. The strings are taut with tensions and the kertwang your ball goes wrong and your racket is screwed. Also, it wasn't any fault of yours that this happened, the strings just broke out of nowhere even though you were doing things the right way.

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