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: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:26 am 
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For me pages 128-135 were one of those leap of faith sections that you had to plow through as a reader. I have faith in DFW and that it'll pay off down the road but it probably ranks for me as the least enjoyable section of the book so far. I actually thought yrstruly was interesting and he reminded me a little of Bups from The Wire even still I found myself constantly checking how many pages I had left in that section. Anybody feel the same way or have I openned myself to an onslaught of yrstruly and poor tony fans?


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:32 am 
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This is a difficult portion of the novel, but what I think DFW is trying to accomplish here makes it an important piece. These people are obviously addicts that cannot remove themselves from the world they've fallen into. They have warped minds. Not in the horribly evil sociopath way that warped seems to always mean. More like the geometry of their brains has changed radically from what most people operate on. For the sake of an analogy we can all grab on to and either extend or refute (I do love opening opportunities for constructive disagreement), these people are non-Euclidian while the rest of us are hanging out in the big E's world (or vice versa). So of course we struggle to grasp their language and the events recounted in this passage. Part of the point is to tear us away from our comfortable perspectives and make us shove our feet into uncomfortable shoes (Poor Tony's heels), walk a few miles, and then think about what just happened. Yrstrly and Poor Tony come back (as does everything in this book). Be painfully aware of how much easier it becomes to be in their minds later on. Especially Tony.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:05 pm 
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1.0 wrote:
I actually thought yrstruly was interesting. . .even still I found myself constantly checking how many pages I had left in that section. Anybody feel the same way or have I openned myself to an onslaught of yrstruly and poor tony fans?


I definitely felt the same way. The Wardine section was rough, but short. Yrstruly may have been a little easier to follow, but went on for such a long time that I found myself counting down to the end of the section as well (although I admit that it did get a bit easier to read the further into the section I went).
I guess my problem was that I had to pay attention with every fiber of my being to root through the misspellings (like using the wrong "there") and slang terms (apparently a map = someone's face?), and often found myself re-reading entire sections in order to tease out the meaning. Labor-intensive reading, if ever there was some.
I'm not so much complaining as saying, "Phew! That was a neuronal workout of Herculean proportions!"

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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:37 pm 
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polymathicj wrote:
I'm not so much complaining as saying, "Phew! That was a neuronal workout of Herculean proportions!"

Try Trainspotting. It's that, novel-length, in Scots dialect.

I guess I found this whole scene a little cliché. Without being able to attach the plot or characters to another part of the book, the plight of the characters comes across, to me at least, as interchangeable with every other book/story/film/song about drug addiction, especially the glut of them from the 1990s.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:28 pm 
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I feel like this section, considering the use of a heavily dialectal voice and made-up slang ("eating cheese," "crewing") to describe scenes of violence and theft, is definitely inspired by A Clockwork Orange. It's not surprising that DFW would take a cue from the book, either, considering its emphasis on language and IJ's own emphasis on language. And there have been some more direct references to A Clockwork Orange: if I recall correctly, I think I've seen both "horror-show" and "droogie" used previously.

With that said, this was pretty annoying to plow through. Still, there's something to be said for DFW's ability to create a voice and language here that he manages to keep completely consistent, so much so that any of the slang that I had trouble identifying the meaning of at the beginning eventually made sense to me by the end.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Has anybody read Chuck Pahlniuk's latest book "Pygmy"? Seems to me to be a total rip off of this technique of DFW's.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:57 pm 
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joel wrote:
I feel like this section, considering the use of a heavily dialectal voice and made-up slang ("eating cheese," "crewing") to describe scenes of violence and theft, is definitely inspired by A Clockwork Orange. It's not surprising that DFW would take a cue from the book, either, considering its emphasis on language and IJ's own emphasis on language. And there have been some more direct references to A Clockwork Orange: if I recall correctly, I think I've seen both "horror-show" and "droogie" used previously.

.

I thought I saw some reference to milk as well.

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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:36 pm 
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Roxanne wrote:
Has anybody read Chuck Pahlniuk's latest book "Pygmy"? Seems to me to be a total rip off of this technique of DFW's.


I picked up Pygmy the other day and glanced at the flyleaf. Sounded interesting, but I'm kind of involved with a book already at this point. If Pygmy is really anything like the yrstruly section, I'll be real slow to considering picking it up again.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:45 pm 
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He captures the feeling of alternately seedy and festive Chinatown still humming on Christmas when every other section of Boston is closed down and totally emptied out. And the feeling of people who have no place to go and be in the warmth and glow of the holiday and what most people who are not addicts are experiencing. The addicts' isolation from all that, and -- having been to Boston's Chinatown on Christmas--that sort of it's-nothing-special feeling, grittily quotidian, that, when you've grown up to be conditioned that the day is supposed to be extraordinary somehow, feels very lonely. He nailed that.

And the atmospheric quality of his description of the addicts sitting on the grating with the hot air blowing up one way and the snow swirling around in the Dickensian scene of getting ready to shoot up really sticks with me.


"Maps" for mouths and "slopes" for Asians--I wonder if these terms originated with DFW or are real street talk.


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 Post subject: Re: yrstruly and poor tony
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:59 pm 
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OneBigParty wrote:
"Maps" for mouths and "slopes" for Asians--I wonder if these terms originated with DFW or are real street talk.


Don't know about "maps", but "slopes" is an old racial slur.


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