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: "Eliminating Your Map"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 24
When I came across this phrase ("eliminated his own map"), I was confused. Obviously it referred to suicide or getting killed. At first I didn't even know if it was actual American slang (maybe unique to Boston) that I just hadn't come across yet.

But after the recent Eschaton section, with Pemulis shouting "You're confusing the map with the territory!" , and as we learn more about the Concavity / Convexity, it's looking like maps are a pretty significant motif. Confusing the map with the territory is an idea with a long history that I won't get into here, except that if "eliminating your map" means getting killed, then what would the territory be? Maybe the characters with substance abuse are confusing ecstasy of the body (the map), i.e. cheap thrills brought on by drugs, with a more pure peace and joy of the inner soul (the territory); only really shown in the sobriety of Don G. in this novel. Like maybe the text implies that using drugs is trying to buy salvation in a bottle - which never works.

The result of the Concacavity is that the map of the NE United States is literally eliminated - it becomes part of Quebec / Canada and also the dumping ground for the United States and is no longer habitable: "Something is rotten in the state..." indeed[1]. It's possible that in the world of the novel, the creation of the Concavity led to the use of the slang phrase of "eliminating your map" by the characters - maybe the phrase is directly referring to the Concavity and using it as a metaphor for violent death.

Another aspect that struck me while doing the dishes[2] is that Joelle has kind of eliminated her map by wearing a veil. A person's face is a map to their inner life: thoughts and emotions. With no map, she has become sort of a cipher at this point.

1 - There is another huge theme to unpack here: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" - Johnny Gentle's political platform of outer cleanliness contrasted with the need to dump horribly toxic waste into the Concavity, the prim appearances of ETA vs. the drug habits of the students, etc. But that would be another thread.

2 - This novel has now taken over almost my every moment even when I am not reading it. There's too much to process - it haunts my dreams.


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 Post subject: Re: "Eliminating Your Map"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:01 pm
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Location: Mansfield, MA
Nice post, mjdemo. Keep sharing your thoughts. :)

_________________
"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." DFW


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 Post subject: Re: "Eliminating Your Map"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:01 pm
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The phrase seemed to enter common parlance after a cultural event. It's not really a spoiler, but click below for what I think it's from:

Spoiler! "Per Mario's version of the O.N.A.N.tiad, where President Gentle inverts all of our nuclear warheads, threatening to literally "eliminate the map of the US" to get cooperation in forming O.N.A.N., kind of like how a whiny teenager would threaten to kill himself if he's not allowed to get his tongue pierced or something like that."


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 Post subject: Re: "Eliminating Your Map"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:52 am
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I think this is the right idea, that a person's "map" as face or life is a physical representation of that person, but not necessarily their essence, just as a map is a representation or depiction of a thing, not to be confused with the thing itself: quote from p. 693Spoiler! ""Everything becomes an outline of the thing. Objects become schemata. The world becomes a map of the world."""


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 Post subject: Re: "Eliminating Your Map"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 89
Location: Brooklyn
mjdemo wrote:
2 - This novel has now taken over almost my every moment even when I am not reading it. There's too much to process - it haunts my dreams.


I'm tempted to take notes every time, in real life, I hear a squeak or see a circle or a Canadian flag. It's all consuming.


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