Avery Edison

Mission Improbable

09.17.09 | 27 Comments

Yes, I know — the term “mission improbable” brings up around forty-five thousand results in Google. I am, very decidedly, not the first person to think of it. Last week I went with the title “Grapes of Wraith”, which was somewhat poorly received in the comments section. One commenter improved it, though, changing the title to “Gripes of Wraith.” I think we can all agree that that’s a much better choice. So. Let’s try again this week. I’ll need someone to play the part of “person who cares a little too much about the title of Avery’s post” and someone else to play “person who does the extra two seconds of thinking that Avery could have done and comes up with a pun that actually makes sense.”

Your reward will be fruit punch and pie, and international fame.

A consistent response to my last post was the assertion that the inclusion of a ghost in Infinite Jest broke no established rules, since entirely impossible concepts had been appearing since the very start of the book. One could guess from the title of this post that I’m going to argue that some of those concepts are not impossible, just highly improbable. One would guess correctly.

Giant (and skull-less) babies are mentioned as being a result of the concavity, or rather the result of the annularized fusion waste that is dumped into the concavity. I was hopeful (in the kindest way) that I would find, through Googling, some evidence of elephantitis as a result of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but came short (much like the non-giant babies of Japa– heck, I’m not even gonna finish that sentence. I already feel bad just thinking it.) However, studies in the use of x-radiation on gestating mice have produced creatures with hydrocephalus — the scientific term for “dude, check out that huge head.”

One could extrapolate that the radioactive waste produced by annular fusion could have exponentially greater results, creating the giant babies and feral hamsters of IJ. One could extrapolate that, and I’m going to. So there. Totally probable.

Dymphna, the blind tennis player who uses sonic balls (page 17), would seem to present a problem to those trying to convince themselves of the plausability of this book. But anyone doubting the chances of a vision-less tennis pro needs only to read this entirely scholarly People magazine article about “The Boy Who Sees with Sound” to become convinced that in the land of the blind, the kid who can echolocate using mouth clicks is King. Dymphna? Probable-phna.113

Anyone with their finger on the pulse of the conspiracy-theory world should need not explanation for the plausibility of O.N.A.N — IJ‘s unholy union of America, Canada and Mexico. The Amero has been a cause for concern for wingnuts and kooks patriotic Americans since 1999. Arguably a “natural extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP)”, the Amero is a theoretical currency that links the three countries together.

The idea of a pan-Americas currency is based on the Euro, the coin of the realm for all of Europe. Except England, because the fears of racists concerns of nationalists have kept it from invading our shores. If it can work (kind of) in Europe, it can work in America.114 O.N.A.N? Seems like it could happen.

Do you have a problem with the idea of wheelchair assassins powerful enough to strike terror into the hearts of all sensible humankind? If you think dudes in chairs can’t be hardcore, then you’ve never seen the awesomeness that is Murderball (boring name: wheelchair rugby.) The terrifying blending of man and machine that creates muscle-bound wheelchair athletes is all too plausible, friends.

Lastly, I’ve heard tell that Infinite Jest is about an entertainment that is too enthralling, too enticing, and cannot be escaped once encountered. Whilst anyone with a child and access to Dora the Explorer knows that human beings are more than capable of becoming almost pathologically addicted to television, the idea of a film so powerful that you spent the rest of your life craving continual exposure to it seems silly.

But. We know enough of Himself’s work that we can figure out that the effectiveness of Infinite Jest(the film) relies on the distortion and/or manipulation of light. Of course, we hopefully all know of the dangerous effect light can have on the human brain. If there’s part of the noggin that sees light and decides to throw a fit, who is to say that there may not be another band, or wavelenth, or kind of light that can trigger pleasure centres in the brain to such an extent that all thought from then on is based around the desire for more of that stimulation?

Sure, we haven’t come across that kind of light yet, but David Foster Wallace predicted Skype, human beings who were born to play tennis, and Alcoholics Anonymous.115 Maybe he predicted the discovery of addictive light, too.

I mean, he probably didn’t. But how else am I meant to conclude this post? With a frickin’ emoticon?