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: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:11 pm 
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I'm really bad at this kind of math stuff, but has anyone tried to account for any of these time oddities in terms how subsidized time operates on a lunar calendar (sorry, don't have the page #, but it was mentioned early on)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_calendar

Each year would be slightly shorter (I'm guessing that O.N.A.N. didn't do the 13-month calendar), and also, how sure are we that each subsidized year starts in January?[*]

Unsure if this is a spoiler, really: Spoiler! "President Gentle mentioned that he got the idea for subsidized time after attending a college bowl game, and "bowl season" concludes after the New Year, so subsidized time may have started in a month other than January."

[*]Don't have the book near me, so I could be very wrong if it's stated clearly somewhere. I swear, I'm not an idiot!


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:46 pm 
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I once spent some time trying to fiddle with this, mostly to see if it would resolve the one big chunk of text that absolutely doesn't seem to fit other clues to timelines in the book, which is the descriptionof Mario's birth and background (p. 312-317) (most other departures from how the years as we know it line up with Subsidized Time seem expicable as typos and lapses by DFW). But I've never found anything to suggest an extra month or to suggest that the months as we know them are out of sync with clues about the seasons, etc. in the narrative. For example, the snow during the Eschaton scene in November. If I accept (and I do) the basic info we have so far to the spoiler line that mostly seems to suggest YDAU=2009, I can make the week days and calendar dates match nicely, as well as the seasons. However, if I go to a 12 month lunar calendar, I get a calendar of about 354 days, and even if I fudge the starting point of subsidized time by a year or two either way, I end up with the two calendars (the 12 month regular and lunar versions) being around 80 to 100 days apart by the eighth year of subsidization (YDAU), which means we should be off by a full season (basically, it would be late summer/early fall in "November" of YDAU). So I think the lunar calendar has to be a sort of one-off joke by DFW unless someone can find one of the following:

-evidence of moon phases in the text that could be used to correspond to the calendar (I haven't really looked for these in any detail myself)
-evidence of a thirteen month cycle, or of some other sort of intercalery period, like a thirteen day yearly hiatus to match the 354 day cycle to the 365 day cycle
-a definition of a "lunar" calendar that still averages 30-31 days/month like our traditional calendar
-evidence that the "snow" and other seasonal hints of various scenes are the result of some outside force (?fallout from the concavity? ?accelerated global warming effects?)
-evidence of some other explanation of the seeming disjunction between some of the timeline clues (?certain groups purposesly/politically ignoring Johnny Gentle's Lunar Calendar?, some metatextual literary reason to assume Mario, Orin, and Hal exist in some sort of separate timelines from each other?)
-(your theory here)

eta: corrected my tendency to type "254" or "265" where I meant "354" or "365," respectively


Last edited by doubtful geste on Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:33 pm 
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The heavy snowfall towards the end of November YDAU would suggest that unless there is some other environment factor, that there hasn't been a significant shift in the calendar year. Of course, in [New] New England, anything can happen weather-wise.

If all the timeline issues are in fact author errors, I guess the best explanation for the lunar calendar would be the prevalence all-around "lunacy!" Ohhhh, no rimshot smiley?

Spoiler! "After reading some wikipedia, another shot at "lunacy"- it means mental illness, but also the following of the goddess Luna, a Greek goddess that was eventually replaced by Artemis, the goddess of fertility. It could arguably be a nod at the contents of the Entertainment. Also, I see Luna was also named Selene... where's there a Selene in the book? Is there?"


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:02 pm 
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Convexity wrote:
I'm really bad at this kind of math stuff, but has anyone tried to account for any of these time oddities in terms how subsidized time operates on a lunar calendar (sorry, don't have the page #, but it was mentioned early on)?


p 33: "The medical attaché turns thirty-seven tomorrow, Thursday, 2 April in the North American lunar Y.D.A.U."

No clue what that was supposed to mean. Of course the attaché is Muslim and the Islamic calendar is lunar, but if he were referring to the Islamic calendar it wouldn't be "April".


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:31 am 
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Convexity wrote:
Each year would be slightly shorter (I'm guessing that O.N.A.N. didn't do the 13-month calendar), and also, how sure are we that each subsidized year starts in January?[*]

It may have been beyond the spoiler point when you first posted this - but on page 367 is a short paragraph that tells us that the Statue of Liberty has been altered to replace the torch with each year's given product and that "The product is changed each 1 Jan. by brave men with pitons and cranes." I interpret that to mean that subsidized time still operates using the 12 month calendar we have now. But that line just broke me up thinking about the various items she would have had to hold aloft!

Joan


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:07 pm 
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I laugh hysterically remembering this headline (p. 398):

FREAK STATUE OF LIBERTY ACCIDENT KILLS FED ENGINEER - Header; BRAVE MAN ON CRANE CRUSHED BY 5 TON CAST IRON BURGER - 12-point subheader

If the regular Whopper doesn't kill you, this one most certainly will.


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:17 pm 
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illogicaljoker wrote:
FREAK STATUE OF LIBERTY ACCIDENT KILLS FED ENGINEER - Header; BRAVE MAN ON CRANE CRUSHED BY 5 TON CAST IRON BURGER - 12-point subheader

Yes! I knew there was something in there about an accident - I agree that was hysterical!

Joan


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:34 pm 
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JRLSberro wrote:
Convexity wrote:
Each year would be slightly shorter (I'm guessing that O.N.A.N. didn't do the 13-month calendar), and also, how sure are we that each subsidized year starts in January?[*]

It may have been beyond the spoiler point when you first posted this - but on page 367 is a short paragraph that tells us that the Statue of Liberty has been altered to replace the torch with each year's given product and that "The product is changed each 1 Jan. by brave men with pitons and cranes." I interpret that to mean that subsidized time still operates using the 12 month calendar we have now. But that line just broke me up thinking about the various items she would have had to hold aloft!

Joan


D'oh! You're right. That's what I get when I post on this forum and never seem to have the book near me.

Now, I wonder. In the Year of the Whopper, the Statue of Liberty is holding a Whopper. In the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment, would she be holding or wearing one? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Convexity wrote:
Now, I wonder. In the Year of the Whopper, the Statue of Liberty is holding a Whopper. In the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment, would she be holding or wearing one? :lol:


And what about the Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishwasher... did they build a Statue-of-Liberty-scale dishwasher?


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 Post subject: Re: A Flaw in DFW's Timeline?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:31 am 
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dna wrote:
Convexity wrote:
Now, I wonder. In the Year of the Whopper, the Statue of Liberty is holding a Whopper. In the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment, would she be holding or wearing one? :lol:


And what about the Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishwasher... did they build a Statue-of-Liberty-scale dishwasher?

I wondered the same things - it's another one of those really inventive and hysterically funny threads that run throughout the book. The mind reels at the thought of the various items she's had to hold or wear!

Joan


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