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: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:27 am 
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One of the more interesting dialogs between Maranthe and Steeply:

Quote:
p.423 (Steeply) 'Since our whole system is founded on your individual's freedom to pursue his own individual desires...

Maranthe smiled. There was some silence for thinking until Maranthe finally said, looking up and off to think:'This U.S.A. type of person and desires appears to me like almost the classic, how do you say. utilitaire'

'A French appliance?'

'Comme on dit,' Maranthe said, 'utilitarienne. Maximize pleasure, minimize displeasure: result: what is good. This is the U.S.A. of you.'...

Maranthe said 'But yes, but precisely whose pleasure and whose pain, in this personality type's equation of what is good?'



An amusing philosophical misapprehension of utility with Utilitarianism, with searing commentary on the solipsistic conceit that good is by definition only self-identified or self-described. Wallace makes this reader reflect on the nature of U.S. society with an observation so startling that it is as if she has been awakened again with a hard shake.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:27 pm 
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p. 389 "After the first photograph has been in a magazine, the famous men do not enjoy their photgraphs in magazines so much as they fear that their photographs will cease to appear in magazines."

One of the things I've read about Wallace is that he had a continuing fear that he would be unable to replicate his achievements to the point that it, at times, paralyzed his ability to write. Fortunately, that paralysis was temporary.... until the end of course.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:33 pm 
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"That no matter how smart you thought you were, you are actually way less smart than that."


pg 204.

... seems to apply to the AA program, and, uh, to reading IJ.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:15 pm 
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So, so many favorites. I try to post one a day on my blog, but the irresistible include:
Any mention of the "howling fantods" which I find the best wording ever for the heebiejeebies.
The monologue exchange via Pat M's log between the forker and forkee (176-8).
For poignant and terrifying: Poor Tony's seizure episode.
And Hal's breakdown about Himself's self-immolation. "That golly something smelled delicious!" 256.
And the description of Orin "punter extraordinaire, dodger of flung acid extraordinaire" (223) juxtaposed with Joelle plotting to eliminate her own map for good.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:55 am 
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Posts: 89
Location: Brooklyn
dioramaorama wrote:
"SEC, TREAS: You're looking vigorous and hale today, sir.
GENTLE: Hhhaaahh Hhhuuuhhh Hhhaaahhh Hhhuuuhhh."
p 400


That whole section is so funny. Pg. 399 - headline: "MY BABY HAS SIX EYES AND BASICALLY NO SKULL." basically.

I also love the really long hyphenated section on pg. 381, particularly this part: "... and-take-fourteen-showers-a-day-only-they're-not-exactly-showers-they're-with-this-DErmalatix-brand-shower-sized-Hypospectral-Flash-Booth-that-actually-like-burns-your-outermost-layer-of-skin-off..." I love the self-referential moments where he acknowledges and exaggerates his style of writing. The recent New Yorker piece (well, recent as in sometime after DFW's death) talks a lot about how critical he was of his own writing style.

And on pg. 159, the description of the car as "bit-lip red" reminded me of exercises in writing workshops where we had to describe a color, only no one could come up with anything as effortless and real as "bit-lip red."

Pg. 213, Pemulis takes his contraband out of his yachting cap "sort of the way older people will array all their valuables in quiet moments."

I will stop now. I have so many favorite sections, because some are just funny, some are thought provoking, some are sad, and some are just really incredible writing. nearly my whole book is underlined.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:22 am 
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I love when Pemulis takes the contraband out of his hat like an old person arraying his valuables in a quiet moment!

Here's just the beginning of why Don Gately is my favorite character:

".. for an instant the Provident cafeteria seems pin-drop silent, and his own heart grips him like an infant rattling the bars of its playpen, and he feels a greasy wave of an old and almost unfamiliar panic, and for a second it seems inevitable that at some point in his life he's going to get high again and be back in the cage all over again, because for a second the blank white veil levelled at him seems a screen on which might well be projected a casual and impressive black and yellow smily-face, grinning, and the moment hangs there, distended..." (367)

"He says but when he tries to go beyond the very basic rote automatic get-me-through-this-day-please stuff, when he kneels at other times and prays or meditates or tries to achieve a Big-Picture spiritual understanding of a God as he can understand Him, he feels Nothing - not nothing, but Nothing, an edgeless blankness that somehow feels worse than the sort of unconsidered atheism he Came In with." (443)


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:42 pm 
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p.435 wrote:
There are industrial buckets for A.M. puking that they seem to treat like golfers treat the pin on like a golf course, aiming in its vague direction from a distance.

p.444 wrote:
Gately can't even start to guess what it would be like to be a sober and drug-free biker. He imagines these people polishing the hell out of their leather and like playing a lot of really precise pool.

p.454 wrote:
...that Stice begs off of, telling the prorector...he's having lower spasms from a mispositioned bed.

The part I love about the previous one is that the concept of Stice's bed being moved was introduced on p. 394, over 50 pages earlier. It's that great feeling of having to recall something you've read days ago. This book is so epic a reference or a joke can span over 50 pages. I've written down some other epic call-backs that I may make a thread about later. I love it.

p.463 wrote:
At twenty-four he'd done 17 months at Billerica for assault two bouncers in a nightclub -- it was more like he'd beaten the second bouncer bloody with the unconscious body of the first...

p.469 wrote:
(Referring to Gately) ...basically looking like a nervous bridge serving her first conjugal dish, except this bride's hands are the same size as the House's dinner plates and have jailhouse tatts on them...

"Conjugal dish" is another phrase I hope I remember to use in day-to-day conversation.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:26 pm 
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My personal favorite passages thus far (in order of appearance as best I can reconstruct off the top of my head (especially mindblowing material underlined)):

1. Hal's interview w/ AZ college faculty and resultant disaster, including flashback to 'I ate this'.

2. Erdedy waits for marijuana delivery and watches a bug.

3. Clenette's description of Wardine's predicament.

4. yrstruly (Emil Minty ?) scores and narrowly avoids dying from it.

5. The endnote on the futurist's description of DMZ time-flanging.

6. J. Inc Sr.'s drunken monologue to J. Inc Jr. in the garage.

7. Poor Tony's public transportation DT disaster.

8. The latter part of the Eschaton game, in which it disintegrates.

9. J v.D.'s OD.

10. The Raquel Welch and stillborn denial segments of the lengthy AA section.

11. J. Inc. Sr.'s drunken bed-maintenance disaster leading to J. Inc. Jr.'s annulation insight.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:06 pm 
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stephaniejane wrote:
And on pg. 159, the description of the car as "bit-lip red" reminded me of exercises in writing workshops where we had to describe a color, only no one could come up with anything as effortless and real as "bit-lip red."


I read this last nite, from page 577:

Quote:
Their route down here is a Mondrian of alleys narrowed to near-defiles from all the dumpsters.


Like "bit-lip red," I thought comparing the alleys to a Mondrian was just so perfect. I was able to form a better picture of the alleys Lenz and Green were walking though just from the one word than if DFW had gone on at length describing the exact location and color of every dumpster and the points at which each alley intersected with another.


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 Post subject: Re: Most essential (or just favorite) sentences/passages so far
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:18 pm 
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sobermoode wrote:
I read this last nite, from page 577:

Quote:
Their route down here is a Mondrian of alleys narrowed to near-defiles from all the dumpsters.


Like "bit-lip red," I thought comparing the alleys to a Mondrian was just so perfect. I was able to form a better picture of the alleys Lenz and Green were walking though just from the one word than if DFW had gone on at length describing the exact location and color of every dumpster and the points at which each alley intersected with another.


Yes! I loved that one too.


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