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: Causal attribution/the "abuse excuse"?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 89
Location: Brooklyn
dioramaorama wrote:
And I think for the sake of full disclosure I'm just going to add that stephanie and i are friends (like face-to-face friends) and she had to listen to me read out loud from this interview for like half an hour. hi stephanie. from now on you should call me dioramaorama in real life.


You outed us! Does anyone else on here know each other in real life?


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 Post subject: Re: Causal attribution/the "abuse excuse"?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:26 am 
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OneBigParty wrote:
In effect, the book is giving us a story about how not to tell one's story, or one's isolation will only increase. Interesting, that. And to try to think of how, with all those same formative elements in place--or not--she could have done it. In any case, I think her story is the saddest one in the book so far, even sadder (and shocking) than the section on Poor Tony in withdrawal.


I would very much agree. I found this set of two stories (the stripper and the prostitute) - parallel in many ways, but polar opposites in terms of delivery, as discussed in this thread above - very key to my reading of the middle part of the story, and heartstoppingly rendered by DFW. I particularly liked the external attachments both story-tellers bore; one the imbecile sibling she is dragging on dates around like a Siamese twin, the other the dead child at the end of an umbilical cord. Rotten, rotten, rotten attachments! And this, for a novel which ultimately encourages us to become more connected? Tell me there is another way DFW!
mm


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 Post subject: Re: Causal attribution/the "abuse excuse"?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:16 am 
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The "attachment" parallel is might be important - I'm becoming convinced that nothing is in this book by accident. Each of these women is dragging around a dead version of herself, another being that can't be communicated with. Possibly we have here a metaphor for the addiction itself.

We also have more fractal imagery - "I am in here" applies to both the dead baby (before it was dead), and the strange sister who can't communicate but is still apparently conscious. Also, we have more imagery similar to the "Ecstasy of St. Theresa" - the father (often a stand-in for God) having sex with a submissive daughter "through the veil", so to speak.

Just like a fractal, the closer you look, the more there is to look at. Infinite Jest indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: Causal attribution/the "abuse excuse"?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:10 pm 
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mjdemo wrote:
The "attachment" parallel is might be important - I'm becoming convinced that nothing is in this book by accident. Each of these women is dragging around a dead version of herself, another being that can't be communicated with. Possibly we have here a metaphor for the addiction itself.


Also, nearly all of the central characters of the book are disfigured in some way (tennis players' asymetrical arms, O's larger arm and leg, Pat M's deformities, Gately's huge head, Mario, etc etc). I'm starting to think, in some ways, that the more disfigured you are on the outside, the healthier you are on the inside - it's when the inside is rotten but the outside is a smile that you really have to worry.

Although O, oddly shaped as he is, doesn't fall into this category, for me - I think he's still rotten on the inside.


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 Post subject: Re: Causal attribution/the "abuse excuse"?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:50 pm
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...it's when the inside is rotten but the outside is a smile that you really have to worry.

You've certainly nailed my frustration over Sarah Palin! (not to push this board into the mess of politics, of course...)

I guess it's kind of an extension of the David Sedaris line "Everyone looks retarded once you set your mind to it," but I'm generally of the impression that everybody has some kind/degree of deformity--obvious or not--that in part defines them. DFW seems to incorporate that (to me, anyway) and appreciates it without dishonoring or trivializing it. Even the least sympathetic characters in the novel have something that humanizes them for us.


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