Snap judgments (or lazy transcribing) for a book of incomprehensible noise and yet-frequent-and-super-potent-poignant signal:
- “i.e. almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it” (291)
- Orin. “Sometimes he got an erection” (298). So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.
- Mario’s birth and physicality section (p.313)? Possibly the greatest character description I’ve ever read, e.g. “they force Mario to move in the sort of lurchy half-stumble of a vaudeville inebriate”; “He had to be more or less scraped out, Mario, like the meat of an oyster from a womb to whose sides he’d been found spiderishly clinging, tiny and unobtrusive, attached by cords of sinew at both feed and a hand, the other fist stuck to his face by the same material”; “Mario’s khaki-colored skin, an odd dead gray-green that in its corticate texture and together with his atrophic in-curled arms and arachnodactylism gave him, particularly from a middle-distance, an almost uncannily reptilian/dinosaurian look”. Like, can we get an artist’s rendering of this beautiful creature with his “involuntarily constant smile?” How is this absurdly deformed human being, clinging to a likeness of his species and loving every moment of his existence, the foil for all the other character’s woes? What might we learn from this scraped-out-of-the-womb born-too-soon-or-too-late-and-not-bothered-by-it-at-all inverse Miniver Cheevy? Mario, the “(semi-) walking miracle…floats” through existence, a barely held together bundle of joy.
- “An aftertaste of shame after revealing passion of any belief and type when with Americans, as if he had made flatulence instead of had revealed belief” (318). This in a U.S.A. that would die for Entertainment over anything else. Is that what we’ve come to? Our temple is the ever-expanding entertainment matrix of social reality, and we’re sacrificing ourselves to it like lemmings. We forget the sacrifice, we think we’re free and choosing, but we’ve never really learned what it means to be free nor how to choose. We have “the habit of children: lazy, lonely, self” (321). Except that we have no Father (so to speak). Or we killed our Father (so to speak). We have only the comfort of freedom-from (mainly ourselves), but not freedom-to. “How to choose any but a child’s greedy choices if there is no loving-filled father to guide, inform, teach the person how to choose?” (320) So what political/social/economic order would actually serve humanity and not just particular humans? In our current order, we seem free from love, not free to love, trapped as we are in our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of the universe (to paraphrase DFW’s Kenyon College speech).
- Fuck Eschaton.
- I mean, it’s cute and clever and shit, but man is it exhausting. Which, like, okay, maybe that’s the point, but again, DFW, I don’t want to feel exhausted for so much of the novel. “But Lou, that’s life. Constant exhaustion with moments of exhilaration. So you’re experiencing life via the novel.” Well fuck that, why not just go live? “Precisely.”
- Wait, so is reading this book an abusable escape? From/to what?
- Maps are fun, except that they’re terrifying illusions of order and identity. Of the head or of the world, they divide us away from the unity toward which we should be questing.
- Fuller loves Gately and AA. I don’t really Identify. I’m too busy “Out There,” I suppose, except not on drugs. Or at least, not on the drugs habitually and probably unfairly labeled (even though technically accurate) as drugs. Blogging, this thing that’s happening right now, it’s a drug, isn’t it? A high? An escape? “A fuckin livin death” (347)? #firstworlddrugs
- Cliches. No. They just. I mean. No. Why? But really though? Cliches? They work? They’re true? But.
- “It’s all optional: do it or die” (357). Thanks, Hamlet. I’m sick of your infinite jest (pun fucking intended, if this is even a pun).
- This novel is The Spider, and it’s Starving Itself.
- “How do trite things get to be trite? Why is the truth usually not just un- but anti-interesting?” (358)
- In AA, you get socialized into catchphrases as your salvation. Even if you don’t believe, just start talking. Start buying in. Keep “Coming In.” Before long, you’ll be saved. From yourself. From choice. Same with E.T.A. Just follow protocol. Listen to your elders/Crocodiles/proctors/predecessors. They’ve seen the cosmic joke. They’ve escaped it through myriad miseries, and they’re settling into the luxurious waiting room of life, waiting for Doctor Death to call them in for release. Join them. Don’t question it. Eventually, you’ll see too how true everything they’re saying is. Fake it till you make it. When you make it, you won’t care that you’ve faked it. You won’t know that you’re still faking it, and that you’re not making anything, because what is it anyway that you’re meant to fake/make?
- Oh poor Statue of Liberty, commodified and commercialized and welcoming newcomers with the bliss of consumerism.
- Incestuous diddling. But…
- “So no whys or wherefores allowed. In other words check your head at the door.” (374)
Do not ask WHY
If you dont want to DIE
Do like your TOLD
If you want to get OLD
- Abandon all hope, ye who enter this Infinite Jest. Hell is