Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:22 pm

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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: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:30 pm 
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Posts: 30
vtjackalope wrote:
polymathicj wrote:
After all, human experience is subjective, so how can art be anything but the same?


Well put. It's the teachers who supported this in my own past whom I've attempted to emulate in the present . . . (I could go all "Grecian Urn"/"Thrill of the chase" here but will refrain . . .)


Sounds like your kids have a good teacher. Keep up the good work!

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"It is easy to put on a show & be cocky. . . Or I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself. . . now that, my friend, is very hard to do." --Bruce Lee


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:20 pm 
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raklaw wrote:
Another possibility just perverse enough to fit the tone of IJ is that Lemon Pledge is what Hitchcock called a “Macguffin,” a false hint dropped by DFW to mock the reader who seeks significance in every object and reference, just as we did our high school English teachers who found what we mockingly called “hidden inner meaning” in the required reading, i.e., the symbolism of the Dr. Eckleburg billboard in “The Great Gatsby.”


I hate to contradict, but a MacGuffin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin) is not a false hint, but actually a device to drive the plot, more like 'the entertainment' in IJ. It's the thing that people are looking for, or driving at; what pulls the plot along. It may fade in importance, but it genuinely matters at some point.

Incidentally, I love the LP idea just because of the smells it conjures up.

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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:52 am
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Thanks for the correction. My reference was to my recollection of an old interview with Hitchcock, in which I recalled him giving an example of a MacGuffin along these lines: on a crowded train, the camera repeatedly focuses on a box under one passenger's seat, until the audience begins to suspect that it contains a bomb or the like, but it is never revealed what it contains and it doesn't matter. I was thinking of Lemon Pledge as something that draws the reader's attention, so we suspect it means something, but it really doesn't.

Ron Kershaw


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:21 pm 
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Just curious if anyone else though that the collection of pledge husks kept by Orin on page 223 was meant to evoke the masks that were in vogue for video telephony.


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:06 am 
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Location: Central Vermont
1.0 wrote:
Just curious if anyone else though that the collection of pledge husks kept by Orin on page 223 was meant to evoke the masks that were in vogue for video telephony.


That was the first thing I thought of, 1.0. For all of the separate plot lines, DFW really does a great job of demonstrating the many ways people of different ages, walks of life, etc. are connected. The masks we all wear take many different forms, it seems.


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:43 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
In a more reptilian context, the husks also reminded me of shed snake skins - an indication of growth and transformation, perhaps.


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Lemon Pledge is just a touch of absurd humour, surely? And maybe DFW wants us to see that even in the imaginary world of IJ, it's bollocks... a bunch of kids clinging to an urban myth, just like previous generations may have made nutmeg tea or smoked bananas in the vain hope of getting high :)


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:22 pm 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
i'm with adrianclark. all these interpretations are perfectly valid and compelling, but my personal take on it was that it was just an urban legend. another incidence of DFW's unique and hilarious brand of product placement (pun intended), if you will.


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Location: Central Vermont
It seems to me that the idea of kids clinging to an urban myth is not necessarily mutually exclusive of the rite of passage idea evoked by raklaw's shed snakeskin. American adolescent culture is, historically, full of various rites of passage that somehow mock, mimic, or otherwise ritualistically prepare one for the greater adult world beyond; the lives of the ETA's is certainly defined by the historic and evolving rituals of their community. In a near-future world in which time itself is product-subsidized, adherence to such engrained rituals as Lemon Pledge sunscreen seems both culturally natural (if sad in its contemporary interpretation) and developmentally necessary for these boys, if they are to adapt to the world outside/post ETA.


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 Post subject: Re: Lemon Pledge
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Regarding the "Macguffin" issue, I think the term we mean here is "red herring," something the author is suggesting might be an important piece of information but later turns out to be nothing more than a clever distraction.

I was really hoping the LP myth was real, as I wanted to try it out myself. However, it's nice to suspect that the shedding skin purposefully evokes Kafka and the transitions of the characters. Yay.


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