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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 Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:18 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: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:04 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:45 am 
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i don't think lenz's acting out would be different if he wasn't still using.

if i could pick any two words to categorize lenz it would be "snivelling coward." he seems to be excusing himself from full sobriety because he is afraid of going without cocaine. and he seems to be excusing himself from being a decent human being because he is afraid of actually dealing with his rage and powerlessness. so instead, he kills shit. and that is cowardly.

i don't think he would be any better off sans the Bing.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:56 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:16 am 
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Just a thought that struck me: alongside Lenz's inability to empathise, and the notion of the Entertainment, there's a very interesting bit about entitlement complexes earlier on: "It's like a kind of idolatry of uniqueness" (p. 604) which I thought added another slant to Lenz's feline/canine assults.

It's almost like DFW was saying that Lenz feels entitled to get his "there" moment however he sees fit, and however monstrously. Just like he feels entitled to use bing while at a halfway house. To me, if there's a character in the book that embodies that kind of "me, me, me!" thinking that's become all too prevalent in recent years, it'd have to be Lenz.

Just my 2c (now I've finally caught up).


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:12 am 
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For me, the sections on Lenz served as a means to distinguish Lenz, defined by these scenes as a true sociopath, from some of the other residents of Ennet house, who may be unlikeable or unpleasant in their own, non-pathological ways. Some of those residents may have perpetrated reprehensible actions but none have the purposefully twisted rationale and calculation shown by Lenz. In a bizarre way, it serves to humanize some of the other characters.

As a result, it's more of a conundrum for me to compare Lenz's animal-torture scenes with the rumble outside Ennet house, which I found disturbingly violent. I was really disappointed in a lot of the characters in this scene.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:45 pm 
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I think it's interesting that you were disapointed in how the characters reacted in the fight. While I was dismayed to see that Randy Lenz's actions created consequences for people who were trying to do the right thing Gately, Green, and others. I did admire Gately's perception that Lenz was his responsibility, these were his people, and he was fighting for something. Maybe not Lenz but all the time that he has invested in AA. So who were you disapointed in specifically?


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:59 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:26 am 
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At first, I was really pleased to see Gately stepping up and defending Lenz; his protection of his flock, so to speak. This I admire. But defense is one thing, and offense another.

To me, the uncontrolled rage and violence that Gately had displayed in the past was a part of his addiction, and not a part of his character. The actions he took that hurt others were an inherent part of those which hurt himself. In this scene, he lets that part of him that can't control his aggression take over (e.g. bashing the one Canadian's head over and over into the car window until he surely must be dead.) It is as if he has let his past self take control once again. To me, it's almost as if he started using again. If he can't control his deadly rage, how do we know he can control his Disease?


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:25 pm 
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I understand what your saying notLinda and there is part of me that sees it your way. However, the idea that the agression was uncontrolled or it was some kinda relapse into a violent past is were I would disagree. Gately acted very clinically, cool, and controlled during the fight up until being shot. The way Gately brokedown the scene reminded me of the way some of the tennis matches were described. There was a whole cerebral aspect to Gately's acts of violence that in my mind greatly distnguished it form the instinctual violence committed by Lenz.

I think Gately assesed the situation realized he was dealing with professionals and meted out an apropriate amount of lethal force to deal with the situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Randy Lenz and the SteelSaks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:46 pm 
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