Infinite Jest (spoilers)

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Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:38 pm

As soon as I finished Infinite Jest I felt the need to discuss it.

This a book that begs to be deciphered.

Overall impression? I LOVED it.

Upon starting the book you will feel incredibly confused as you are thrust into a world that is incredibly dense and never gives the reader easy answers. What is ONAN? Why can't Hal talk? these are the questions you'll initially be asking as you begin your journey. On the way you'll deal with almost every facet of popular culture and economic status of person. From the drug addled Ennett House residents to the womanizing tactics of a pro football player and everyone in between are contained in the pages of the novel. The plot of the novel concerns a mysterious “entertainment” that is so incredibly pleasurable to watch you will do anything to see it again even if it ends in your own death. To describe anymore would be a disservice to the novel.

Spoilers

Anyway what are people’s theories?

How did Hal get dosed with DMZ? Was it the fungus he ate as a child? DMZ on a toothbrush?

Was JvD really deformed? Or so beautiful she needed to hide? Was she what caused the entertainments addictiveness?

What exactly were Avril’s connection to the Quebecois separatists?

How did Gately survive watching the entertainment?

Who found the Entertainment?

Did ONAN dissolve?
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby Maui on Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:44 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:As soon as I finished Infinite Jest I felt the need to discuss it.

This a book that begs to be deciphered.

Overall impression? I LOVED it.

Upon starting the book you will feel incredibly confused as you are thrust into a world that is incredibly dense and never gives the reader easy answers. What is ONAN? Why can't Hal talk? these are the questions you'll initially be asking as you begin your journey. On the way you'll deal with almost every facet of popular culture and economic status of person. From the drug addled Ennett House residents to the womanizing tactics of a pro football player and everyone in between are contained in the pages of the novel. The plot of the novel concerns a mysterious “entertainment” that is so incredibly pleasurable to watch you will do anything to see it again even if it ends in your own death. To describe anymore would be a disservice to the novel.

Spoilers

Anyway what are people’s theories?

How did Hal get dosed with DMZ? Was it the fungus he ate as a child? DMZ on a toothbrush?

Was JvD really deformed? Or so beautiful she needed to hide? Was she what caused the entertainments addictiveness?

What exactly were Avril’s connection to the Quebecois separatists?

How did Gately survive watching the entertainment?

Who found the Entertainment?

Did ONAN dissolve?



Ok, you know the status with me on this book. However, I will certainly ressurect this thread, once I'm done with the book! :)
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:02 pm

I appreciate it.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:26 pm

jeebus, what's the deal with you and Kirk trying to pick my pickled brain of geeky pop-cultural ephemera from 10years ago?

First HK action flicks, now INFINITE JEST?

I haven't changed much over the 10years (give (but someone please take) 50lbs or so)...still steady slackin', still workin' only enough to get by, still fucking women ridickulously out of my league, still gettin' high every day (better weed now tho')).

I fucking obsessed over this book back then.

But I'd have to crack it open again to realistically answer some of your queries, and I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. What I can answer is that the questions you pose, while being on my mind while reading, kinda faded away in the afterglow of the novel's brilliance.

For read that title...INFINITE (forever and ever and over and over again) JEST (j/k). The maddening plot mechanics, to me at least, hardly matter compared to the ideas, the revelations, the white hot enfleurage of a writer commenting not only on his times, but of all times of mankind, what it means to be human, what makes us so, blah blah blah on and on and on.

So what stands out for me, looking back years later, aren't the characters (though each and every one of them are certainly memorable, written in such a brazenly empathetic way that, at various points, thrusts one into their mindsets, whether you want to be there or not) nor the overly complicated, spiraling plot mechanics (baffling, at times, but eventually coalescing, albeit in a somewhat unsatisfactorily way)...no, what stands out is The Year of the {insert corporation here}, the brilliant musings on why and how the popular form of entertainment consumption will eventually collapse (eerily prophetic, if one looks at the plummeting ratings for broadcast TV), the hysterical analysis of why vid-phones will never, ever come to fruition*, the deconstruction of a deconstructionists film oeuvre, the hundreds of ways a far too clever wannbe sports announcer can come up with for ways to say that someone beat someone else in a game, musings on tennis, drugs, sex, beauty, love, lust, mathematics, Canadian wheelchair assassins, recovery, redemption, Brando's masculinity as a representation of the decline of man,

but, I'll answer what I can.

laterz.

*think about it for a sec...when you talk to someone one the phone, are you completely and totally concentrating on them, or are you at times running various errands, say cutting toenails or some such thing? But don't you always ASSume that the person on the the other end of the line is listening in rapt attention to your every word? Vid-phones would destroy that mutual allusion. Plus, having to look your best each and every time you want to talk to someone on the phone (camera adds 10lbs, no? And let's not talk eye-crud, stray nose hairs, facial blemishes one can conceal before meeting someone in public but not when taken unawares by a phone call...).
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:44 pm

Ohh man I loved that vid phone thing. You make valid points about the book as well and the things you mention are some of things I loved about the book as well.

I posted the questions more as jumping off points of discussing the book, rather than caring about their answer.
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Postby Kutulhu on Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:01 am

If you like Infinite Jest, I would suggest House of Leaves.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:04 am



Damn. He was a major talent and he will surely be missed.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby travis-dane on Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:01 am

Ah.....
He hanged himself.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:26 pm

Alas, Poor David

DeusExMalcontent wrote:If you haven't read Infinite Jest, you're missing out on one of the funniest, cleverest, most original and most challenging novels you're likely to ever come across.

Released in 1996, Jest -- along with its non-fiction follow-up, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again -- didn't make me dream of becoming a writer so much as it made me think that I shouldn't even bother, since I'd never have the kind of talent that David Foster Wallace did.

As a writer and an observer of culture and the human condition, few could touch him -- and he was always worthy of a certain amount of idolatry among those who would try.

I'm forced to say all of this in the past tense because two days ago David Foster Wallace was found dead in his California home. He'd hanged himself.

Only Wallace himself will ever know what was going on inside his head and why it led him to take his own life. But thankfully, his sly musings on the way the larger world thinks and behaves will stay with us.

Their impact will be, literally, infinite.
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Re: David Foster Wallace & Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:01 pm

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Re: David Foster Wallace & Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby Maui on Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:47 pm

Infinite Jest still taunts me from my bookshelf. One of these days I'll tackle it.
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Re: David Foster Wallace & Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:37 am

Maui wrote:Infinite Jest still taunts me from my bookshelf. One of these days I'll tackle it.


It's really easy to keep going with it once you actually start it!
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David Foster Wallace

Postby Non Union Super Hero on Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:56 pm

I decide a while ago that I wanted to dive into DFW's work. With that in mind I purchased, Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, and Brief Conversations with Hideous Men. I started Jest and have found myself stalled at page 40ish the most prevalent reason being, it feels really over my head, I have to reread sections quite a bit and I am just not really grasping the style of the work. That said 40 pages isn’t much but I was wondering if someone here who has read multiple books by the author could or would recommend starting with something less daunting to get a feel for the way DFW writes.
Any help is appreciated, and please feel free to recommend a book not listed if you feel as though it is a better introduction than Curious Hair or Brief Conversations.
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Re: David Foster Wallace

Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:05 pm

Non Union Super Hero wrote:I decide a while ago that I wanted to dive into DFW's work. With that in mind I purchased, Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, and Brief Conversations with Hideous Men. I started Jest and have found myself stalled at page 40ish the most prevalent reason being, it feels really over my head, I have to reread sections quite a bit and I am just not really grasping the style of the work. That said 40 pages isn’t much but I was wondering if someone here who has read multiple books by the author could or would recommend starting with something less daunting to get a feel for the way DFW writes.
Any help is appreciated, and please feel free to recommend a book not listed if you feel as though it is a better introduction than Curious Hair or Brief Conversations.
Thanks



You will feel lost especially at the beginning of Jest. It throws you into this world thats not explained and then messes up the time frame on you as well. It is daunting but stick with it as the pieces do come together.
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Re: David Foster Wallace

Postby so sorry on Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:23 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:
Non Union Super Hero wrote:I decide a while ago that I wanted to dive into DFW's work. With that in mind I purchased, Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, and Brief Conversations with Hideous Men. I started Jest and have found myself stalled at page 40ish the most prevalent reason being, it feels really over my head, I have to reread sections quite a bit and I am just not really grasping the style of the work. That said 40 pages isn’t much but I was wondering if someone here who has read multiple books by the author could or would recommend starting with something less daunting to get a feel for the way DFW writes.
Any help is appreciated, and please feel free to recommend a book not listed if you feel as though it is a better introduction than Curious Hair or Brief Conversations.
Thanks



You will feel lost especially at the beginning of Jest. It throws you into this world thats not explained and then messes up the time frame on you as well. It is daunting but stick with it as the pieces do come together.


wow, that sounds complicated. But this guy seems to think its a breeze of a read!
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Re: David Foster Wallace

Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:41 pm

so sorry wrote:
stereosforgeeks wrote:
Non Union Super Hero wrote:I decide a while ago that I wanted to dive into DFW's work. With that in mind I purchased, Infinite Jest, Girl with Curious Hair, and Brief Conversations with Hideous Men. I started Jest and have found myself stalled at page 40ish the most prevalent reason being, it feels really over my head, I have to reread sections quite a bit and I am just not really grasping the style of the work. That said 40 pages isn’t much but I was wondering if someone here who has read multiple books by the author could or would recommend starting with something less daunting to get a feel for the way DFW writes.
Any help is appreciated, and please feel free to recommend a book not listed if you feel as though it is a better introduction than Curious Hair or Brief Conversations.
Thanks



You will feel lost especially at the beginning of Jest. It throws you into this world thats not explained and then messes up the time frame on you as well. It is daunting but stick with it as the pieces do come together.


wow, that sounds complicated. But this guy seems to think its a breeze of a read!


Once you get going it is easy to stick with it!
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby AndySandwich on Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:42 pm

I feel like there's something wrong with talking about the book since one of the major themes is problems-caused-by-obsessing-over-entertainment and is itself titled after the obsessive entertainment in its plot. Anyway I really like how Wallace is in love with all his characters, how he can describe how very fucked up every single one of them is in a way that makes you love them precisely because of their damages. I like how the the prose is so dense you just read it one sentence at a time, while you're reading about getting through life just one day at a time, and how each sentence is beautifully written. I like how the story hints at its own interpretations, as one monumental effort to just entertain, or Identify, or even a really lengthy suicide note. I also really like the random dispersal of crazy, the giant babies, the objects that can't be underestimated, Hal losing his mind to Don Gately. I thought his critiques of modern entertainment were interesting and fun to read, but sort of besides the point. I don't really understand why the critics want to focus on how insightful and humorous the book is, because the best parts aren't funny.

I think this book can really teach you to look at people differently and maybe make your world a little nicer. Is anyone else really glad they read it? Did you guys draw anything you would consider significant from the book?

Btw I think House of Leaves makes you think kind of crazy and that it was largely focused on alienation which is pretty much the opposite of the feeling Infinite Jest creates.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby Silent5 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:15 am

I just finished the book on Sunday, was reading it for almost 6 months (and nothing else...) To the person who said they are stuck at page 40, yes it is dense, and you will have to constantly refer back, but just stick with it, it is so worth it, believe the hype, there's really nothing else like it. And by page 400 it all actually starts to make sense...

On that last comment about Hal losing his mind to Don Gately - very interesting. What do you mean by that? I re-read Chapter 1 after finishing, looking for clues, since it occurs after the last chapter (and the rest of the book), and I noticed a line which would have meant nothing when one starts the book: when Hal is in the ambulance, he says John Wayne would have won the Whattaburger, and he recalls John in a mask standing watch while he and Don Gately dig up his father's head... Hal doesn't seem raving mad (internally), but the father's head was exploded. What happened to John Wayne? Do Hal and Don really meet and seek the father's head for some reason? I can see why you link Hal's mind and Don's (the wraith the timing), but did you catch something I completely missed?

Anyway, I have so many questions, which is awesome, I don't often finish a book and obsess over so many nagging details (what happens to Pemulis? Will Don and the DJ get together or is she with Ken Erdeddy? What happened at the final exhibition game with the wheelchair assassins? Is Mom Incandenza a Canadian spy? ANd more, so much more...)

Read it!
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby AndySandwich on Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:21 pm

I just meant the part about him losing his ability to speak while random words start popping into Don's head from what he assumes nowhere, which I presume progresses to the point of the first chapter. Wayne is definitely the Canadian spy that I think Marathe was talking about infiltrating the school. I'd say the Moms is just banging him. In the book Orin and Joelle get abducted, so it makes sense for Hal and Don to get abducted to dig up Himself and find the master tape. But apparently it doesn't really affect his personal storyline.

I'd guess most of the story lines don't tie themselves up. I interpreted it as Wallace implementing Dr. Inc's idea of including all the background characters' personal life stories just to show that no one is the center of the universe. Have you read Wallace's commencement speech? I just read it yesterday after posting and realized that all the assumptions you start making about the guy writing this book while you're reading it turn out to be pretty true. It is amazingly self-conscious and honest literature, kind of like CT. The characters in the book really show the beauty in open honesty, and that the book is itself also uninhibitedly honest is I think what makes it such an uplifting and wholesome piece of art. I never really thought about that sort of thing before, but the way he writes really shows you the world the way he sees it, which is nice.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby The Todd on Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:51 am

i reject your reality and substitute my own
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby YualBrenna on Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:21 pm

I love The Broome of the System and have tried on so many occasions to read Infinite Jest -- but I reread it to about the same spot and then decide I should read the five other books I have had my eye on instead...can someone give me some insight about the book, is it much better than The Broome of the System, should I absolutely finish it?
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby thomasgaffney on Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:12 am

Infinite Jest goes on (to the screen)

From The Guardian:

Columbia University has had the bright idea of commissioning film-makers to realise the works of James Incandenza, hero of David Foster Wallace's magnum opus.

How surreally wonderful to discover that an entire exhibition devoted to the "works" of David Foster Wallace's fictional creation James Incandenza is set to open later this month. A cult filmmaker, Incandenza is the star of Wallace's seminal novel Infinite Jest (the 1,000-page book centres on the missing master copy of his film of the same name, so entertaining it renders spectators incapable of doing anything other than watch it).

As was his wont, Wallace included a footnote in the novel about the filmography of Incandenza, and now using the author's "detailed list of over 70 industrial, documentary, conceptual, advertorial, technical, parodic, dramatic non-commercial, and non-dramatic commercial works", Columbia University's Neiman Centre has commissioned artists and filmmakers to make the movies. They don't appear to be taking on the Infinite Jest movie itself – creating something that renders an audience catatonic with pleasure would be something of a challenge, I suppose.

Wallace is, of course, an author who inspires this sort of obsessive devotion – and his own extensive footnoting (Infinite Jest contains almost 400) means there's plenty of material to explore. But there must be lots of other fictional creations that deserve a life outside the page – David Barnett pointed last year to a trend for novels by fictional characters, but are there any other fictional filmmakers whose work you'd like to actually see? Artists? Musicians?

I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing the paintings of Elaine Risley, she of Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, I'd love to read the children's stories of AS Byatt's Olive Wellwood from The Children's Book, and perhaps it's only because we saw him in the office on Monday, and got somewhat overexcited, but wouldn't it be great if an artist recreated the illuminations from Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red? Please share your own ideas – and maybe we can inspire someone to take the projects on.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby stereosforgeeks on Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:40 am

It would be really cool to see these films. It's a pretty cool idea to honor Wallace and Infinite Jest by bringing his fictional directors work to life. Also, it's much easier than trying to condense Infinite Jest the novel into a film.
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Re: Infinite Jest (spoilers)

Postby Ribbons on Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:01 pm

Most of our hardcore book readers don't really frequent The Zone anymore, but for what it's worth, I just embarked upon Infinite Jest yesterday.

Right now I'm on the wrong side of the bookmark and the amount of pages left makes me want to cry, but I love Wallace and his writing style.
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