Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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 Post subject: Re: Schtitt, Mario and U.S. of modern A. - p. 79-85
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:32 am 
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rasnider: Thanks, I didn't mean to be adversarial or contrarian. Maybe we're seeing this differently because of reading style. I usually read one section at a time and then take a long break in-between to let it sink in, then approach the next section fresh. I think it's the only way I'll get through the whole thing the first time through. Next time though, I can pick up those 'shards' and hold them up to the light.

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 Post subject: Re: Schtitt, Mario and U.S. of modern A. - p. 79-85
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:21 am 
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testforecho wrote:
I think Schtitt and Mario have one of the most interesting conversations thus far in the book. For one, both are actually communicating which may be a first up to this point.


But are they really? Mario keeps trying to formulate questions in his head but can't really articulate them to Schtitt. It's less of a conversation and more of one talking to the other


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 Post subject: Re: Schtitt, Mario and U.S. of modern A. - p. 79-85
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:56 am 
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I also do not think that these two are really communicating. Early in the section, it is said that people often talk to Mario openly, with their barriers dropped, because it is easy to forget that Mario is there, mainly because of his physical deformities (my theory is: damaged people want to talk to someone else damaged as a kind of inherent sympathy they'll have for each other. Mario is easy to choose because he is physically deformed and more noticeably "damaged" [whereas mental damage is not so easy to discover and requires communication to see if that person is damaged], even though he mentally is fine, for the most part). Schtitt seems to talk more like a monologue, and Mario can't articulate his questions (as was said above).


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 Post subject: Re: Schtitt, Mario and U.S. of modern A. - p. 79-85
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:16 pm 
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The Mario/Schtitt conversation seems to be one of those moments where DFW is acknowledging that his characters are a mask he wears to talk to us. It’s almost like DFW, dressed in shiny black boots and epaulets, turns toward us readers to soliloquy. When DFW-Schtitt says that tennis is about “limit, the places where things broke down, fragmented into beauty” he’s also talking about IJ, a collection of fragments, some so beautiful you almost get angry about them (My roommate feels this way about Megan Fox, too beautiful for a guy like him in mid-west USA to ever have a shot at even waving hello to.). This is also where DFW defends/explains why things can’t be linear in IJ. To DFW-Schtitt, there is no efficiency in straight lines because life frequently includes obstacles. “But what when something is in the way?” DFW wants to talk about ideas that might get lost in a neat and tidy chronological telling of what’s happening at ETA, in Ennet, or among the terrorist factions. Readers will get too tied into the story as the essential item and miss that it is a vehicle for these larger concerns DFW has about being human in an increasingly inhumane world where everyone seems to need an addiction to fill some inherent-to-the-body absence or hole. No he’s not questioning or intelligence, but he is challenging the spoon-fed role books have so often played; DFW wants us to work for the values and questions in this book. So he let’s us know what’s going on in IJ is ordered as it is because DFW rejects “the only public consensus a boy must surrender to…the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing”. Further, DFW-Schtitt is all about decisions. Tennis is an “infinite system of decisions and angles and lines.” This is DFW explaining that we have to make decisions about what connects and what doesn’t. We have to go back and reread sections. We have to research. We have to do work, “compete with [our] limits to transcend the self in imagination and execution.”


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 Post subject: Re: Schtitt, Mario and U.S. of modern A. - p. 79-85
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:38 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Going out on a limb here:
I'm not totally familiar with a great deal of Hegel/Kant/Schopenhauer/whatever sorta kooky but also kinda interesting (and granted perhaps sometimes proto-fascist) German Idealists Schtitt clearly has a liking for, but what do they have to say about talking with/to physically damaged-type folks? I mean, it's Idealism right, so the physical is less important than the mental/intellectual/spiritual/Geist-y (?) (Of course there's also the whole full-on-not-proto-at-all fascist "master race" sort of physical perfection thing too, but if that's at play at all in this section it's more as a background/contrast, I think).
Eh?


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