Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:39 pm 
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I think the entertainment is almost certainly Infinite Jest (V?) that's listed at the end of JOI's filmography--which also says that it's his "last film" and presents a "thorny problem for archivists."

Someone else has pointed out that the film is "completed and privately distributed by P.Y.E.U through posthumous provisions in the filmmaker's will." I think this is a clue. Who sent out the entertainment that the medical attache received? It couldn't have been the Front Quebecois--otherwise the Wheelchair Assassins wouldn't be trying so hard to get a copy.

So who is P.Y.E.U.? (Does the fact that, sounded out, it's pronounced pee-yoo, like something smelly mean anything?)

The filmography cites "Canadian archivist Tete-Beche" (with circumflexes over the first "e" in each word) as the source for the P.Y.E.U. information. Here's what the wikipedia says about that:

In philately, tête-bêche (French for "head-to-tail", lit. "head-to-head") is a joined pair of stamps in which one is upside-down in relation to the other, produced intentionally or accidentally. Like any pair of stamps, a pair of tête-bêches can be a vertical or a horizontal pair. In the case of a pair of triangular stamps, they cannot help but be linked "head-to-tail". Mechanical errors during the process of production can result in tête-bêches, but in most cases tête-bêches are produced for the purpose of collecting.

If a pair of tete-beches results from mechanical errors during during the process of production, is it possible that the fatal entertainment resulted from an error made during the production of Infinite Jest I, II, III, or IV--all of which are unseen, unfinished, and unreleased?


Last edited by Philip on Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:35 pm 
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I think P.Y.E.U. stands for Poor Yorick Entertainment Unlimited, one of the company names Jim uses for his film production work.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:17 pm 
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SPOILERAGE HERE:

I could be entirely wrong about it, but I think the 'privately distributed' aspect might indicate that James Incandenza arranged for its distribution to medical attachés his wife had affairs with (as noted on page 30 by Incandenza himself; in a recent thread we discussed the surgeries mentioned on p 31, which I think refer not to actual procedures but are oblique and bitter references to the attachés by their specialties). I think that is why Marathe and Steeply are confused about it, as they are seeking it as a weapon and have heard of its release independent of their efforts.

I've been caught up in the end of the Infinite Jest (V?) entry where it indicates that it was "vaulted sui testator." I can't find an exact translation of this, but I wonder if it gives an early hint to something verified toward the end of the novel--that the cartridge was buried with James Incandenza. On p 17 there is reference to Hal and Donald Gately digging up James Incadenza's head. It has already been established that Gately is a burglar. From my past reading I cannot recall fully where Gately's story goes, but at this point I'm suspecting that he might have been hired for money by the assassins to steal the IJ cartridge (not that the novel will indicate this, but Gately's story might allude to some connection as it is developed).

But also this gives another possible explanation for Hal's condition at the beginning of the novel--that he perhaps viewed, in some part, the Infinite Jest cartridge after digging it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:25 pm 
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(btw, it is p 938-941 where Mme. Psychosis, in an interview, discusses Infinite Jest and gives a vague idea of what it is; it sounds like the film uses some kind of lens configuration to recreate the perspective of an infant; so perhaps the lethal effect of the film involves some kind of mental regression to infancy in the viewer).


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:34 pm 
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P 65: "Incandenza's burial in Quebec's L'Islet Country" took place in the year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar, six years before the entertainment was delivered--from Phoenix (see p. 36)--to the medical attache.

If the cartridge was buried--"vaulted sui testator"--with JOI, I don't see how or when or where Hal and Gately would have met up or how the two of them plus John N.R. Wayne ("standing watch in a mask as Donald Gately and I dig up my father's head" (p. 17)) could have gotten to Quebec. Hal and Wayne are busy at the tennis academy and Gately is in the halfway house. And who would have sent it from Phoenix?

I've thought that Hal's whaddya call it? disfunction? ("But the sounds he made/Indescribable/Like an animal/Subanimalistic noises and sounds" (p. 14) might be the result of his viewing the cartridge. There's lots of hints at the end of the novel: Both the Wheelchair Assassins and the Bureau of Unspecified Services are converging on the tennis academy where there might be a copy.

But in November of the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment--and this at the end of the chronology of IJ, the last things that happen before we see Hall all fucked up in the Year of Glad--Pemulis has scored some some incredibly potent DMZ. He and Hal are planning to take it just before the WhataBurger tournament.

On page 1063, Hal describes a "DMZ-dream." He appears to outsiders to be "belting out an Ethyl Merman show tune, but inside he's screaming for help. This is the inverse of his disastrous interview at the beginning of the novel. There, he's rational and lucid on the inside, but on the outside, he's "a writhing animal with a knife in its eye."

I think it's the DMZ, not the cartridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:53 am 
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Spoilers...

This is all just a theory and I'm not quite sure it holds water, but:

The envelope was sent to the medical attache in April YDAU with the message "Happy Anniversary" and a smiley face on it.

The N-E.M.A. was married to his wife in October, not April.

J.O.I. "eliminated his own map" on April 1, Y.T-S.D.B.

Orin lives in Phoenix and no longer speaks to The Moms, presumably because he blames J.O.I.'s suicide on The Moms affairs with near-eastern medical attaches.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:21 am 
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Spoiler warning.


The Entertainment is on a cartridge, but further on it's explained that normal cartridges can't be copied. You need the master cartridge for that.

So what the AFRs and the Office of Unspecified Services are looking for is not merely a copy of the Entertainment - after all, OUS presumably got the copy that the attache saw - but the master cartridge.

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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:25 am 
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I don't know that it is one or the other--DMZ, mold, IJ; I think it is left intentionally vague. But Hal's memory of digging up his father with Gately and Wayne seems a bit specific to be suspect, and it seems way coincidental considering the general assumption that the master copy of IJ is buried with JOI. Joelle's developing relationship with Gately would tie him in with the ETA crowd. And there is a full year of gap before Hal's episode at the beginning of the novel. It's possible that Hal's recollection is not literal, considering at some point after his DMZ experience he was likely pulled into the whole samizdat-seeking plot.

My main source of confusion around that is that the recollection is digging up his father's head; but JOI died by putting his head into a microwave oven--so what head was there? Also, Mlle. Luria Perec is mentioned as being "of" L'Islet, Quebec (p 92), the same place JOI is buried. Perhaps she had located his burial site and not found the entertainment; perhaps his head (or some variation thereof--"anaplastic"?) with the master cartridge is buried elsewhere, on ETA grounds.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:45 am 
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You could go round in circles forever proving and then talking yourself out of the many many possible causes for Hal's condition. I think, but could be wrong, that the more important issue is the kind of inversion that happens to him over the course of the novel. For most of the book he is basically empty and only a sum of his outward actions. Toward the end of the chronology it feels like he is beginning to become a more "full" person and then we fast forward to one year later when his every thought is internal and he is no longer able to interface with the outside world.


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 Post subject: Re: Infinite Jest (V?)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:51 am 
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Good stuff! There is certainly no single correct answer to the question of what happened to Hal. It's a puzzle that doesn't necessarily have a solution.

I'm wondering, though, how we know that there is a full one-year gap between the action at the end of the novel, which takes place at the end of November, YADU, and Hal's interview in Arizona, which takes place sometime in the Year of Glad during the WhataBurger tournament.

At the end of November, YDAU, everyone is getting ready for the upcoming WhataBurger tournament. It's really close in time to the action at the end of the novel. If a full year were to elapse, the WhataBurger tournament Hal mentions couldn't be this tournament; it would have to be the next one, no?


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