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: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:33 pm 
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Posts: 47
Like Avery Edison said about this section in his essay this week: "I can't quite work work out whether I like it or not. Or even I like the idea of her [Madame Psychosis'] show or not."

And why, in the PR-circular of the Union of the Hideously and Improbably deformed does DFW include two things that don't belong i.e. "the fatally pulchritudinous" and "odalisques?" Well, I suppose these two categories could fit in with the idea of being "hated," after the fashion of an Ani Difranco song, whose title escapes me, that says that the two most hated people in a room are the ugliest woman and the most beautiful woman.

Once you look up all the words, you realize how gross some of the conditions really are, it'
s a cornucopia of grossness and also---but this part is de-emphasized--human suffering in extremis because of how other people tend to react to certain types of affliction.

DFW makes a point of saying that Madame Psychosis' tone is "reflective but not judgmental somehow." I can't help feeling that he says this because he's trying to influence the way we see her spiel so he's giving us a little spiel himself. The clinicopathological laundry list of the hideous, the twist on a Christimas carol title ("Come All Ye Hateful"), the term "Two-Bagger"--judgmental as hell, if your reading it aloud publicly as one who doesn't have these problems. I kind of think by explicitly saying MP is not judgemental, DFW is trying to have it both ways, to be mean-spirited but trying to have it come off as merely a parade of interesting language. This is not to say that I think DFW was mean-spirited. Did he include the fatally beautiful and odalisques to also make it not seem so?

I can sort of see a punk rock college radio show where some hipster reads sections of this pamphlet and cues related tracks (don't ask me to list what they are) on air just to be funny.

And why this group MP is reading the circular of "an agnostic-style" 12-step group when in the next Ennet House section endnote 69 states "In none of these Anonymous fellowships anywhere is it possible to avoid confronting the God stuff" ? Is it somehow significant that the aesthetically-challenged don't turn to God in _their_ recovery?

I can't say I wasn't impressed by DFW's sheer knowledge of the conditions. I also couldn't help thinking, God forbid that Hitler would have had this command of language and this vocabulary to describe what his idea of a non-Aryan is.

So, yeah in the end I don't really know what I feel about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:16 am 
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Having the definitions does help, I agree. I think most of them are at the IJ wiki. Check it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:10 pm
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Where does her opening quote come from?.... "and look at that fucker dance"
Her show is a bit like the book.. sections of just lists and then the boring long stuff
becomes strngely compelling..


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:36 am
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OneBigParty wrote:
And why, in the PR-circular of the Union of the Hideously and Improbably deformed does DFW include two things that don't belong i.e. "the fatally pulchritudinous" and "odalisques?"

When you know a little more about Madame Psychosis, you'll understand.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:28 pm 
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I've actually kind of liked the Madame Psychosis appearance, as far as the first impressions go. Maybe I was able relate to it because of some of my own experiences with, say, experimental, thematic and conceptual radio shows and alternative culture and underground media-aware figures in general and the GP-O's Psychic TV line of thinking etc.

I have also found it vaguely entertaining that so many other readers have disliked that bit. It made me think of how differently must we perceive this book, or any reading material, of course, and how it is pretty much impossible to imagine how anything "reads" like to anyone else.

P.S.: What did you think of 'Those Were the Legends That Formerly Were'?


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:39 pm 
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I do really like her name though, how it sounds like metempsychosis.
Metempsychosis refers to transmigration of the soul e.g. reincarnation after death, wherein the same soul inhabits in succession different bodies of people or animals. Usually used only in Greek philosophy although the concept of transmigration of souls has been part of many different religions globally, especially Eastern religions.

The term is also found in Joyce's Ulysses.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:08 pm
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The picturing of the ironic dj interspersing punkrock with the grotesquerie I know is way off base though and something must be missing here because DFW *hated* irony.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:02 pm 
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Whoops forgot to finish my post. Or *does* he (i.e hate irony)? I never read any of his fiction before and I'm a little confused about this.


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:16 pm
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Location: North Dakota
OneBigParty wrote:
And why, in the PR-circular of the Union of the Hideously and Improbably deformed does DFW include two things that don't belong i.e. "the fatally pulchritudinous" and "odalisques?" Well, I suppose these two categories could fit in with the idea of being "hated," after the fashion of an Ani Difranco song, whose title escapes me, that says that the two most hated people in a room are the ugliest woman and the most beautiful woman.


You hit the target squarly in the Bullseye zone, I think. We all remember being in awkward in high school around "the hottest girl/guy in school." Unable to make complete sentences, sweaty in all the worst possible places, constantly staring at the features it is rude to stare at, etc. The whole bit makes them uncomfortable too. Take it to an extreme and put a gorgeous person, the most gorgeous person alive, in a room with people who can only hope for a compliment like 'homely' in a society that stresses beauty and that single gorgeous person is going to be ogled the same way average looking people ogle the improbably ugly. DFW seems (to me) to believe that if you go far enough to either end of the spectrum, you will reach a point where you could just as well be on the exact opposite end. Super extremes seem to mirror one another...


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 Post subject: Re: Madame Psychosis on the radio
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:43 pm
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A big THANK YOU to OneBigParty for picking up that Madame Psychosis sounds like metempsychosis, a term used in Ullysses - Molly Bloom has an interest in the word when she reads it in a pornographic novel and Leopold has to explain it to her. I've been picking up many nods to Joyce but missed that one.


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