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Infinite Summer • View topic - Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!

Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:31 pm

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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:43 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:39 pm 
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I just finished, and I'm thinking that the "key" to Infinite Jest is in the sections where the narrator's consciousness seems to break down entirely and past, present, and future are existing simultaneously. I'm referring primarily to Gately's big fever dream, when Himself's wraith-form appears to him, and Hal's breakdown at the end of the novel. It seems that Gately's recollection of C and his cronies breaking into the apartment with Fackelmann and P H-J is his fractured understanding of losing the fight against his doctors in the hospital and his own addiction by being dosed with the narcotic Talwin. I don't think that Don dies, though, because he still has yet to meet Hal and go down the path that ostensibly leads to Hal, Gately and John Wayne digging up J.O.I.'s head (which is mentioned in the Year of Glad section at the very beginning). Hal's mental dissolution could be the cause of the mold he ate as a child spontaneously synthesizing into DMZ (or 'Madame Psychosis' - hmmm) but it seems more likely that he and Pemulis went through with their plan to drop the DMZ at the end of November, before the WhataBurger. Either that, or Pemulis dosed Hal when Hal stopped ingesting substances and that accounts for Pemulis's anxious depression at the end of the novel. I found the end of the novel incredibly tragic, personally. Both Gately and Hal seem to be forced into positions of surrender - Gately to his addiction, and Hal to his encasement within himself ('Himself' - ha. A fate his father wanted to protect him from by creating the Entertainment.)

However, I have no idea what transpires once the A.F.R. arrives at E.T.A. We can infer that the Entertainment is already being disseminated during Y.D.A.U. but it's unclear what results from there. If the Year of Glad is the last year of O.N.A.N.-ite Subsidized Time, does this mean that the Quebecois insurgents are successful in their plan to widely disseminate the Entertainment?

I just had a good laugh imagining what someone who's never heard of IJ might think of everything I've just written.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:00 pm 
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I got an idea from the mention of digging up Hal's father's head. Maybe that's the metaphor for this book. Maybe it explains what's in Hal's father's head. I don't know if that will hold up under scrutiny though.

I had to read IJ really loosely. I hoped that by just being an audience member, the end of the book would tie up all the loose ends. When I finished I was disappointed.

I think I will need to reread the book and make infinite notes. But not for a while.

“I’m sad and empty as I always am, when I finish something long,” Wallace wrote to Franzen, shortly before the book’s publication. “I don’t think it’s very good—some clipping called a published excerpt feverish and not entirely satisfying, which goes a long way toward describing the experience of writing the thing.”


Edit: The thing I take from IJ, my favorite bit is the idea of the wheelchair assassins.

B. I just met someone from Quebec, my first. I almost told her I was reading a book that talked a lot about Quebec, but realized there wasn't much I could say.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:37 am 
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Yes, I finished the novel a few days ago, and like you, have problems and needs I didn't know I had a month ago! I feel embarassed to continue, so please forgive me if my question seems pure stupidity. As you, I would have described myself before this summer as a trained and accomplished reader, but that has gone down the drain this time. Let me begin (and I hope not end) with the biggest question of them all, totally confounding to me: is Jim O. Incandenza, at all implicated in the untimate jest of the entertainement? Is he criminally complicit in this affair? If he is, then I am a coffeepot. It's beyond the capacity of my imagination to imagine this sad stork coming up with such a devastating piece of weaponry. I must have missed out on something somewhere.
So there you are. Of course, I would love to get my brain around other questions that may be yours, but I can truthfully say that I'm not a reliable client for information or resolution of problems: I have more now than I ever dreamed I might one day have!
By the way, thanks for your post. Hope-giving .... all the best from France: Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:03 am 
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J. O. Incandenza may have been a sad stork however he was a very intelligent sad stork who I have no trouble envisioning as the creator of the Entertainment. One difficulty with reading Infinite Jest is that I find myself perhaps reading too much into what's there. Such as: James O. Incandenza Entertainment creates the acronym J.O.I.E. which is French for Joy as in joie de vivre.

Wallace definitely enjoys the wordplay as evidenced in fn. 176 where he describes the alleged affair between President Gentle and the wife of Canada's Minister of Enviromental and Resource Development Enterprises abbreviated MERDE which, as I recall is French for "shit".

I obviously have too much time on my hands.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:56 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:22 pm 
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I read IJ in the late '90s after two aborted attempts. I kept thinking about the parts that I HAD read the first two times and finally read it all the way through in '98-'99.

Then I read these two essays
1) http://dfan.org/jest.txt (by Dan Schmidt, about 4 pages)

2) http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropol ... hesisb.htm (by Chris Hager, about 25 pages).

Then I read IJ again sometime in 2003-04. In the last few weeks, I reread A Supposedly Fun Thing and Consider The Lobster and started IJ again, meandering through the first 100 pages so far...

I was getting this uncomfortable feeling regarding all the SPOILER concern on this site and couldn't really articulate what it was that was bothering me...

Here it is - the book is non-linear. I think this is pretty clear. Therefore, I honestly believe that spoilers don't matter. You could read the book the backwards, and I really don't think it would impede your enjoyment or understanding...



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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:13 am 
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Can anyone be trusted? How can anyone end up saying that the author has to be trusted? for the moment, I trust Joelle's gut feeling about April. (page 747) And I wonder, ponder, and agonize over the absence of both CT and April in the final week of "events" in the novel. (page 908) What is April doing when, on page 701, she dials the telephone number of "Moment"? And under the rubric "Hamlet," how not to see CT accused by the seagull and the blue fly on page 910?

this is starting to feel like obsession. there's no textual evidence that could incriminate Jim as the author of the weaponized entertainment, and several testimonies that substantiate this impossibility. Yet many, here too, have no problem seeing Jim engineering this terrorist potential. And here I am trying to shift the blame to the mother and her new lackluster lover whose genealogical link to Mario is painfully, and ironically, evident. But not as evidence.

Perhaps the reader too has to make choices, and has no path or venue from which to judge the author's choices. That's why I don't think it's very helpful to say, believe, or feel that this author can be trusted, except to the extent that he imposes and invokes the whirlwind of choice in any form.

I choose to render a verdict of innocence for the Sad Stork. Otherwise I'm lost.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:48 am 
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I've begun my 2nd read of IJ. It occurred to me to find all things that happened in The Year of Glad, which is where the book begins. The final mention of the Year was when Tine and Tine Jr. were talking to Mr. Yee, Veals, and Hooley at the State House Annex in Boston, on 20 Nov YDAU.

They're talking about desseminating a "product" with the target being ages four to twelve. The spot length is thirty secs w/traumatic graphic at fourteen secs. They're going to show it during the Mr. Bouncety-Bounce Show.

Mr. Tine Jr: The upcoming year's Glad's year, Buster. You wanted the year. You want the Year of Glad to be the year half the nation stopped doing anything but staring bug-eyed at some sinister cartridge while little whorls went around in their eyes until they died of starvation in the middle of their own exc--?

Later, the "product" seems to be a message to warn kids that not every entertainment cartridge out there is necessarily a good old safe pre-approved InterLace TelEntertainment product...word's reached him...of a certain very wicked and sneaky cartridge that even has a little smiling face...when you first start watching it looks like it promises to be more fun to watch then anything you've ever wished...but it's a liar....

So, are they trying to get rid of the parents?

(At first I thought, how sick am I that I need to put things into chronological order to understand them, but then I thought that the book was inviting me to play with it.)


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:23 am 
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