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Infinite Summer • View topic - Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks

Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:45 am

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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: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:04 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:44 pm 
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I found this section to be truly horrific. With a few days' distance now, I'm past thinking it was completely gratuitious, but it's definitely jarring — I haven't yet decided to what purpose though.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but...

On page 562 a "yrstruly" creeps into the narration, most unambiguously referring to Lenz. This couldn't possiby mean that it was Lenz narrating the episode with C and Poor Tony, could it? The style's are too wildly different — although maybe this reflects the difference in the before and after mindset (even though Lenz isn't exactly clean; OK, 'before and later'). I haven't rescoured the p 128 yrstruly passage for details that would make or break it as a Lenz story, but I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on this.

Certainly seeing yrstruly again made me sit up — it can't be an accident that it appears here?


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:51 pm 
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the yrstruly reference on 562 seems like an obvious sign that that lenz is yrstruly, but the p 128 passage sounds so different - it's so much more insightful, for one. and the yrstruly on p 128 is a heroin addict but lenz is a coke addict/dealer. at some point earlier it's hinted that emil minty is yrstruly, which makes a lot more sense, but then why the "yrstruly" on 562? I'm confused.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:20 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:22 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:48 pm 
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I posted this quite a while ago in the general discussion:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=275

I'm of the camp that believes yrstruly in the first section is Emil Minty, but as I mentioned in that post, it's interesting that Emil and Burt Smith never recognize each other in Ennet House.

Perhaps 'yrstruly' indicates something about the quality of the narration, that the mind of the person in the section is in a primitive or drug-addled state that makes it difficult for the narration to be transcribed, and it's handled with greater distance and like a letter, using 'yrstruly' instead of the more personal 'I'. But it is strange that it only appears in these two places.

For some reason, it reminds me of end note #110 where Orin sends the letter to the Moms on the Saints' letterhead, signed with the name Jethro Bodine, a character from the Beverly Hillbillies.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:02 pm 
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I wonder if there is any Boston slang that commonly uses "yours truly" as a way of referring to yourself. If so, I could accept the "yrstruly" as common shorthand. Oddly, every time I think of the phrase as a literary motif, I instantly think of the Austen/Bronte convention of addressing the "Dear Reader"*

*admit I can only think of specific instance of "dear reader" in Jane Eyre, so I might be wrong to think Austen used, since, as we all know, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single writer in possession of a good arch British phrase, must have stolen it from Austen.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:29 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Quite right -- p 562 notwithstanding, yrstruly doesn't fit with Lenz's character at all.

But it's a weird narration trick all the same. The whole passage is in 3rd person from Lenz's perspective; then there's this sudden marked lapse, like we're being told about someone else entirely, "where (some guy referred to as yrstruly) and Green strolled." Like Lenz is momentarily disconnected; and it does harken back to the kind of drug-addled, frenetic state-of-mind we saw in the yrstruly section.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:58 pm 
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