Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:14 pm 
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I have seen speculation that the Entertainment is in Jim Incandenza's head, based on this passage from p. 31, in which Jim Incandenza (pretending to be a professional conversationalist) is speaking:

'That your quote-unquote "complimentary" Dunlop widebody tennis racquets' super-secret-formulaic composition materials of high-modulus-graphite-reinforced polycarbonate polybutylene resin are organochemically identical I say again identical to the gryoscopic balance sensor and mise-en-scene appropriation card and priapistic-entertainment cartridge implanted in your very own towering father's anaplastic cerebrum after his cruel series of detoxifications and convolution-smoothings and gastrectomy and prostatectomy and pancreatectomy and phalluctomy . . .'

I suppose the natural reading of this is that the Entertainment is implanted in Jim Incadenza's actual head, but is it also possible that it is installed in the M.I.T. Student Union? Recall that the Student Union is built to resemble a head/brain, and that the Student Union contains (p. 182) "squash and racquetball courts and one volleyball court and the airy corpus callosum of 24 high-ceiling tennis courts endowed by an M.I.T. alum."

I'm fairly sure that Jim Incandenza attended M.I.T., and of course he would have had the money to make such an endowment. So, is it possible that the Entertainment was implanted, not in Jim Incandenza's biological head, but rather the head that he (partly) endowed to M.I.T.?

If this is true, then John N.R. Wayne may be disappointed when Hal and Gately dig up Jim Incandenza's head (pp. 16-17). Of course, it makes it harder to imagine why Jim Incandenza killed himself by sticking his head in a microwave (p. 248), unless (as some have suggested) he did not Clippertonize himself but was murdered.

Also note that it seems possible that the Student Union is where the tennis tournament will be played on November 20 YDAU (p. 966). So if the Entertainment is in fact installed there, they might get tantalizingly close to it (or may actually find it).


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:08 pm 
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I like it. I'm going to choose to believe this interpretation just like I choose to believe that Molly Notkin wasn't lying when she said that Madame Psychosis was Lucille Duquette and hence was a completely different UHID member than Joelle.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:41 pm 
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I like this theory! That's fascinating. I almost want to print out a map of Boston to see what the implied body-plan is.

That said, if you go back to ~p. 31 and re-read the passage in which that quote occurs, it's fairly likely that it is not Hal and JOI; instead it's a transcript of JOI's movie "He was in the father without knowing him". In a later scene Hal talks about (I'm paraphrasing) "that child actor who was in a bunch of Himself's movies, including the one where he plays a boy talking to a conversationalist disguised as his father", but he never mentions that this film was based on a real incident, which makes it entirely clear that the passage at the beginning of the book, which is all dialogue and no narration, is just the movie: it never actually happened to Hal.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:25 pm 
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The MIT building theory is pretty cool.

Regarding Hal and his dad, Hal refers to his father believing he (Hal) was not speaking on P. 899, though I can't recall right now if there is direct reference by Hal to the conversationalist -- in any case, the "not speaking" delusion was certainly remembered by Hal, whether or not the conversationalist episode was real.

Regarding Molly Notkin, worth noting that the name she gives Joelle (E. Duquette) is also (p. 993) the author of one of the scholarly articles about Infinite Jest V, who apparantly claims to have seen some part of it. And Duquette (?the same? ?the "Father") is one of the co-authors of the book the Filmography is taken from, which is interesting, since those authors don't seem to know whether to believe that "E. Duquette" could have seen IJ V. Is E. Duquette a nom de plume of Joelle? Or, more likely to my mind, of Notkin herself, who seems to like to claim knowledge she doesn't necessarily have and/or misattribute it (Wasn't it someone else who had the paranoia about the sum total of erections in the world, and not J.O.I., as she alledges? I can't find the original appearance of that joke in the text.) Notkin may be purposely throwing up a false scent to protect Joelle, as she may be doing, as well, when she gives a clearly absurd description of the treatment center Joelle is at. Notkin (like Pemulis is for Hal) may be a tricksterish but fiercely loyal friend to Joelle.

Oh, and doesn't the fact that Himself used Orin and Joelle's townhouse as the set for most of his late films (see Hal's recollection of Accomplice on page 945), mean that Notkin now lives on/in the set for these films, including Infinite Jest, since she took over the apartment from Joelle?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:48 am
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Location: Orlando, FL
doubtful geste wrote:
Notkin (like Pemulis is for Hal) may be a tricksterish but fiercely loyal friend to Joelle.

I like this idea a lot - I had been wondering about Notkin's role and what to think of her as a character. When we're first introduced she seems like another one of the cast of thousands, but now she seems to have more importance and I like this comparison.

ijaddict wrote:
That said, if you go back to ~p. 31 and re-read the passage in which that quote occurs, it's fairly likely that it is not Hal and JOI; instead it's a transcript of JOI's movie "He was in the father without knowing him". In a later scene Hal talks about (I'm paraphrasing) "that child actor who was in a bunch of Himself's movies, including the one where he plays a boy talking to a conversationalist disguised as his father", but he never mentions that this film was based on a real incident, which makes it entirely clear that the passage at the beginning of the book, which is all dialogue and no narration, is just the movie: it never actually happened to Hal.

I might be off base here, but I remember a passage where Hal is trying to remember that child actor and can't think of his name, is maybe searching the cartridges trying to prompt the memory - could the child actor that Hal can't name actually be Hal? Sorry if this has been discussed in another forum and I've missed it!
Joan


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Entertainment in JOI's Head?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:05 pm 
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JRLS: Ha, that would be funny, but (a) it says in the filmography and (b) Hal later remembers it - it's Peter Smothergill, one of the early students at ETA.

Doubtful Geste: I think that passage confirms what I'm saying, because (if I'm recalling it correctly), Hal says Himself suffered that delusion at the end of his life, and "He was in the father without knowing him" occurs pretty early in the filmography.


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