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: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:03 am 
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Posts: 35
X also means having sex with someone: "Freer had been discovered . . . more or less Xing poor Bernadette Longely under an Adidas blanket in the very back seat on the bus trip . . . " (p. 282).


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:20 am 
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Location: Los Angeles
Yes, that is the meaning I was thinking of earlier, viz. 'f*cked'

On my second reading here so when I read the Year of Glad section at the beginning, the mated X's of Hal's fingers, it rang to me like 'multiply f*cked' which totally goes with the whole fractal / Sierpinski Gasket structure (Wallace once said that the structure of the novel was like a Sierpinski Gasket. I really really wish I had more math, for this.)

http://local.wasp.uwa.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/gasket/

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The dorks are saving the nation, and this book proves it. Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:46 pm
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Quote:
Yes, that is the meaning I was thinking of earlier, viz. 'f*cked'

Not the only one, of course... :| . r


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:55 am 
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Since we are beyond p. 390 I can add this remark about X.

Stephen Burn (p. 47 of his reader's guide) pointed out that November 8 is connected with the
discovery of X-rays. He remarked also that on the same day, X-rays appeared in two different situations:
during Eschaton (p. 330) and in Spoiler! "a reference to the fraudulent but seductive X-rays spectacles of
Bertraund Antitoi (p. 481)."


Burn writes: "The anniversary of the date when Roentgen saw inside himself, is the date in the novel when, at
E.T.A., the masks start to come off and the hidden interiors are revealed" (Ibidem p. 48).

So, here another meaning (not the only one) for the X. Actually I looked around for some more thoughts about the role of X-rays in the literature and I found this essay: Henderson, Linda Dalrymple. "X-rays and the Quest for Invisible
Reality in the Art of Kupka, Duchamp, and the Cubists." Art-Journal 47 (1988): 323-40.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/776982?cookieSet=1

Here a short resumé of this essay: "Henderson obviously does not dispute the major role of the fourth dimension in Modernist art (see above), but she here argues that there is a second factor "contributing to the preoccupation with supersensible reality" -- the 1895 discovery of x-rays (323). Henderson's again airtight scholarship points to popular cultural texts of the early twentieth century to show that "the notion of clairvoyant, four-dimensional vision" was
inextricably linked (initially) with x-rays (332). For the Moderns, x-rays "clearly established the inadequacy of human sense perception and raised fundamental questions" about substance and reality which were more metaphysical than scientific (324). Henderson's welcome inclusion of advertisements, cartoons, and photos convey this "remarkable public response to x rays" (324) which is seen by her as a blanket admission of the inadequacy of human sensory observations.
This "relativity of perception" (326) suggested by x rays directly inspires (according to Henderson) artists such as Duchamp and Picasso who endeavor to represent "an invisible, immaterial reality" (336) in their works; to see the unseen."
taken from http://www.cwru.edu/artsci/engl/VSALM/m ... earch.html

I wonder whether Wallace knew the Henderson studies. But I found that " to see the unseen" fits very well in
the Wallace's research.

Concerning the Xing activity, it can be argued that two persons involved in this activity, most of the time
form a sort of X or cross, or anyway two bodies with a central contact point... r


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:57 pm
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Location: Los Angeles
I love this, r. Especially, spot-on re: "point of contact" as in where the rubber meets the road (for good or ill.)

X-rays, also, reveal the underlying truth: X = the "moment of truth," the sought-after solution, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Another possible meaning for the symbol X is a terminal point in a diagram, for example, marking a destination on a map with an X. The idea of terminal points possibly ties in with the DFW's recursive loop motif. Cycles repeat until they come to an end. Addicts, for example, go through repetitious cycles of substance abuse. The terminal point for an addict is either recovery or death. I haven't really thought this through, but this notion of terminal points may tie in with other themes in IJ.


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:16 pm
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Location: North Dakota
robbi60 wrote:
I wonder whether Wallace knew the Henderson studies. But I found that " to see the unseen" fits very well in
the Wallace's research.


This is also a big thing David Lynch does in his films. Particularly true w/r/t Blue Velvet's whole mission to uncover what is out of sight; voyeurism, mysteries, entering the troubled mind, etc. Lynch, of course, being a big influence to DFW.


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: Italy
I just posted something related to this thread here The "Four Projects" of IJ. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:00 pm
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Location: Salt Lake City and no, I'm not one, either.
Within the larger scope of this forum topic, I'm surprised no one has referred to DFW's unwavering reference to Christmas as Xmas, which he obviously wants the reader to pronounce as such, given the many times he precedes it with the article an. I don't know what significance one might place on this, but I'd be interested in any theories that might be bandied about.


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 Post subject: Re: The meaning of "X"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: Italy
I noticed the Xmas, but English is not my mother language, so I believed it was just standard for Christmas...
It occurs 26 times (I believe). I have no theory.

In my list of Xs in IJ that you can find here:
Spoiler! "https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AaCzr4zL8J3hZGhnZmNxbTJfNzRmeHRqcmN2NA&hl=en"
(spoiler because it is considering all the book....) I didn't count
* X n. slang for the drug Ecstasy (C11H15NO2)
(methylenedioxy-n-methylamphetamine) MDMA

* X in the function f(x)
Also I found other occurrences of X, hidden in some words, which are, some of them, repeated with unusual frequency.
excited
extreme
unexamined
exhale (really uncommon...)
ex­haust
Experialistic
Except (but maybe only a linguistic tic of DFW)
excreting

Finally I wonder about the meaning of this apparently coded sentence in the first chapter:
"It strikes me that EXIT signs would look to a native speaker of Latin like red-lit signs that say HE LEAVES"

PS: I'm becoming crazy. Now I see X everywhere... Help! :shock:


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