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: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:09 pm 
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Location: Fresyes, CA
I've heard "maps" before too.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:12 pm 
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Location: Oakland, CA
I loved this section, thought it read very smoothly (whereas I struggled more with Wardine, had to read that through twice). I knew something was going to go down at Dr. Wo's, but was surprised that Poor Tony called the bad bundle. I also loved some of the language, like "a cold feeling of super station" that came over yrstruly about PT.

I'm noticing lots of complaints coming up in the forums, whether it be the footnotes, the Steeply/Marathe sections, or these. I'm interested to know what people are looking for. Is it for DFW to have written a different, or perhaps better, book than IJ?

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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:32 pm 
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Sorry "maps" is face not mouth.

I just read this section again, and I really, really like it. It just took a little while to get into the swing of things. yrstruly is extremely observant. He notices people's subtle expression as when he describes Wo's behavior, and how calculated the man is. He notices how Poor Tony doesn't seem to be acting the same way he usually does when they shoot up as a group. The hyper-vigilance of the addict or the child of addicts as the literature on addiction talks about. It's like a DFW-type consciousness and attention to minute details being expressed by a streetwise member of the underclass. The misspellings and things like "super station" for superstition somehow show that even though he's not literate as far as writing goes, he uses concepts that are sophisticated throughout the narrative, is people-smart as well as street smart. What happens in the section as far as violence goes is totally devastating. A really dark picture of hardcore addiction as well as crime and poverty in an urban setting--I don't think it can get any darker, unless DFW gives us crystal meth and crack addicts abusing their kids next.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:01 am 
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Location: Fresyes, CA
paris wrote:
I'm noticing lots of complaints coming up in the forums, whether it be the footnotes, the Steeply/Marathe sections, or these. I'm interested to know what people are looking for. Is it for DFW to have written a different, or perhaps better, book than IJ?

I don't think they're complaints. I think in this context they're called critiques. And yes, an author should always be striving to write a better book. No author has ever written a perfect book. This one we're discussing, it's big, it's grand, it's ambitious, it's meticulous, it's messy, it's difficult, it's ambiguous, parts of it hold up to the passage of time better than others. That's what we're talking about. The book we're looking for is this one, we're just trying to understand it.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:05 am 
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I find it interesting, really, after going through a bit of semi-debate with fellow ISers regarding the Wardine section, that we again find ourselves turning over in our minds DFW's dialectical choices in this section. Quite frankly, I don't think this section warrants much if any criticism from a language choice perspective - it seems far more "natural," to me, in terms of vernacular transcription, than the Wardine section did. That's just my opinion, however.

In terms of content, this is one of the most powerfully affecting passages in the whole novel, in my opinion. The description of a slow death from mainlining Draino, huddled over an exhaust vent for warmth, transcends race or dialect I think, and is just absolutely devastating.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:27 am 
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I went back and read this section again. As I was reading I thought to myself, - what is it that I am doing when the words flow better?

Well, guess what? For me it worked better if I DIDN"T THINK so much. Instead of engaging my brain I just looked at it with my eyes or my "body". I think that is what is partly meant by this. He wants us to have to FEEL being un-hooked from our brains. Many of the words only work if you just look at them as a picture or symbol or puzzle - literally. The meaning gets applied afterward - then you can re-hook your brain. It's hard work - but when I read it again I loved it.

How about "cheese blisses". Did anyone think of cheese blintzes?
I'm sorry but I don't know what the cheese means? I'm sure this is another duh thing, but I don't get what the reference to cheese means.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:09 am 
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Location: Oakland, CA
ontoursecretly wrote:
I don't think they're complaints. I think in this context they're called critiques. And yes, an author should always be striving to write a better book. No author has ever written a perfect book. This one we're discussing, it's big, it's grand, it's ambitious, it's meticulous, it's messy, it's difficult, it's ambiguous, parts of it hold up to the passage of time better than others. That's what we're talking about. The book we're looking for is this one, we're just trying to understand it.


Nicely said. Forum anonymity and contextless-ness can make it difficult to distinguish between critical interpretation (which passages hold up and why) and subjective preference (I didn't like this or that passage). And I agree about the "no perfect book," too. Perhaps that is why writing such a great book can make it difficult for many authors to write another, knowing that success and failure are intimately tied together in the literary project.

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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:53 pm 
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I liked this section. At first I had a difficult time following what was going on, but I went back and re-read it looking for connections between this and Wardine section (I mixed up Poor Tony and Roy Tony, but the latter is mentioned in this section).

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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Location: Norwalk, CT
I thought references to cheese, like "eating cheese" were slang for a rat, or ratting someone out.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:35 pm
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Good call, I didn't know what to make of the cheese references.

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