The Wraith and Hal: A Possessive Sort of Love Beyond Language

Jesters, wraiths, Hals, Gomperts et al. of the world!

We are at the end beginning! Doesn’t it feel great?

[I’m just going to get this out of the way first: Sorry I missed my post last week; my lover broke his collarbone and all hell was revealed in increments. (Thank you, Phil, guide of guides for filling in for me and writing a spooky post on Tuesday!)]

I am feeling quite a bit of dread writing this last post. I just want to have IJ friends always and forever and in steady supply and every day ok thanks v. much no punctuation needed no thx. Continue reading “The Wraith and Hal: A Possessive Sort of Love Beyond Language”

So-called People. There’s 26 in Total.

The conversation between Mario and Avril really depresses me.

Mario: “How can you tell if someone’s sad?”

Avril: A quick smile. “You mean whether someone’s sad.” (763)

Yes, it’s very much like Avril to respond with an abstraction, to refer to language itself when in any discussion. (As writers and thinky people in general, this is almost automatic).

Though, her son’s asking about sadness. Continue reading “So-called People. There’s 26 in Total.”

In the Shadow of the Wing of the Thing

Gaudeamus Igitur!

I am behind on my reading for this week.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to drive y’all nuts!

I’d like to offer some thoughts on shadows and “thought transference.”

In a comment last week, Deluca brought up all the shadow business in Marathe and Steeply’s conversation re: M*A*S*H*. In the initial conversations between Marathe and Steeply, we have Faust and more than a few mentions of “shadows.” Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Wing of the Thing”

The Lenz-Gately Eclipse and Moloko Plus

Ok, this is going to start off sounding like it’ll be about Lenz. It won’t. But I have to say this: At this point, I stop sympathizing with Lenz. (Face contortions.) Though, he’s high (y’all Lenz haters out there remember that he’s high and actively Bing-ing, yeah?), so I still don’t hate him entirely, but he uses Gately as a shield and gets Gately shot, so, I hate Lenz. Kind of.

Lenz really gives me problems, my god.




PRACTICING MINDFULNESS. Diverting in 1, 2, 3…

These pages of IJ have always struck me as being quite deliberate. I say “deliberate” because I feel that there is some attempt to bring together the many narrative threads in these pages. I couldn’t help but feel a kind of “genre” shift as it were, especially in the Lenz vs. Nucks scene. It felt like it was out of a movie (even though we are told by our narrator who is aware of the movie-like quality e.g. we’re told that it’s impossible to fight two guys at once, in real life, unlike in movies). I was a bit disappointed with this scene. Ok, I was really disappointed. I felt like there might’ve been some eh… pressure to bring these threads together (dare I ask if it was editorial pressure? Perhaps not from the exceptional and very understanding Michael Pietsch (based on what I’ve read, and based on listening to Pietsch on YouTube), but perhaps pressure from someone else? From DFW himself? I don’t know).

The next thing I have to spill out might make me sound as terrible as Lenz, but I’m going to say it: I disliked the Joelle/Gately romantic inklings. I was not happy with that. I was really disappointed. BUT I can be a robot sometimes and GATELY IS DYING, so it’s just fine. And footnote 292 makes me feel better, so it’s fine. I guess… Was anyone else disappointed? Or elated?! To me it felt as though all the characters were suddenly in a “role,” like in a blockbuster movie. So disappointing.

Then again, in times of crisis, I definitely feel that “roles” take precedence over complex and beautiful character quirks.

You know what bugs me to no end in these pages? Gately’s thoughts about how he’s going to be perceived after his death. This made me see Gately in a whole new light, and his groin-crushing violence (which was excessive, don’t deny it. You will note that Gately is not high and is operating under the influence of himself and the fact that responsibility rests on him in this moment). Gately remembers that he should probably get on his knees (literally or not, this probably could’ve turned the situation around somewhat) and ask his idea of god for help. He does not.

What do we have here (aside from yrs truly satanic guide who is questioning one of IJ’s sweethearts and potentially siding with the murderer)?

We have the Lenz-Gately Eclipse.


In the Lenz-Gately Eclipse, our Lenz is totally powerless, hiding behind our Gately, who is very much in the moment, feeling responsible, and arguably, feeling powerful.

The question is: Who is the sun and who is the moon? Where does the earth come into all of this? Earth = field of power!


But don’t let those few sentences about Gately slip away into the darker nets of your neural network or be understood as “heroic” …

Not going to stop bugging you all just yet:

Droogies both masc., fem., and everywhere between and around and ~, I just want to remind you of Moloko Plus and what this could tell us about “milk” in IJ!

Let’s go to Wiki!

Moloko Plus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Moloko (disambiguation).

The Moloko Plus, also called Knifey Moloko is a highball cocktail drink from the book A Clockwork Orange.[1] The book does not specify ingredients, so there are many variations, all of which use a large milk base and some have drugs, such as barbiturates added.

In the book, it is stated one may have moloko plus with ‘vellocet’ (opiate), ‘synthemesc’ (synthetic mescaline), ‘drencrom’ (adrenochrome) or other hallucinogen substances. Minors may be served this drink since it contains drugs that have not been declared illegal.[citation needed]

The drink’s name originates from the Nadsat word for milk, translated as “milk plus”. The main characters in the book prepare for “ultraviolence” by drinking it

Troeltsch says: “You see bags, you see the word MILK. They’re counting on the packaging. Image management. Sensory management.” (630)

Milk is supposed to be pure nourishment to help humans grow! But in both IJ (according to Troeltsch) and Clockwork, it’s turned into something else, and it looks just like milk but it isn’t.

It helps the droogs prepare for very violent acts. It helps (if we think that Troeltsch is right) ETA kids deal with violence of all sorts to their bodies and minds. I’d say that being at ETA is pretty “violent.”

“Violent”; I like this definition from the OED for purposes above:

Undue constraint applied to nature, a trait, habit, etc., so as to restrict its development or use, or to alter it unnaturally. […]

Remember at the start of IJ we learn that Avril might be putting mnemonic steroids into Hal’s cereal? That the organochemical composition of Hal’s tennis racquet is similar in composition to the cartridge in J.O.I.’s head?

Ok, so the examples in the para. directly above are not directly related to milk, but they’re parallel to Troeltsch’s milk conspiracy because they’re both concerned with something deeply nourishing and unsuspect becoming deeply embedded and inseparable and sneakily engrained into the daily life and experience of human bodies and minds!

Now if we read IJ chronologically, the next thing that Hal does after this is watch some of J.O.I.’s films.

Is Hal preparing for ultraviolence?

If we follow this milky logic:

What is the relationship between violence and images, and what about drugs and being “human”?

When people do drugs they become inhuman (speaking in big generalizations),* EXAMPLE: LENZ (mm hmm). How much** “human” is there when there are organochemical things dancing around inside? Organochemical meaning “milk,” meaning mnemonic steroids, meaning tennis racquet chemicals in J.O.I.’s brain….

What is J.O.I. like as a human… with The Entertainment in his head?! What is The Entertainment like?!

Here is a movie in which a character has a camera implanted in his head: Death WatchInteresting that the title in French is translated as La mort en direct.


A clip. Note that the mirror and glass bits might just drop you deeper into IJ, in which case let’s hold hands really tight and not let go! K!

P.S.: Harry Dean Stanton’s in it!

I am now going to eclipse into my duvet.


*There are some people who become extremely human while on drugs. I am not one of them, but this is possible.

**I realize this is a bad question that asks for a quantitative answer, which is not possible. But I’m counting on you to understand what I mean, cause I’m deluded and hopeful at this point.




A Post in Which I Declare My Love for Randy Lenz & Visit Ludwiggy

So, I do not hate Randy Lenz*



Though, I am thoroughly disturbed by his animal killings.

What bugs me way more than Lenz’s killings, though, is Bruce Green. What makes someone like Bruce Green drawn to someone like Randy Lenz? And why is Lenz relatively pleasant around Greenie? I don’t think I’ll be able to answer this but I do want to talk about why I like Lenz, so here we go…

I have a soft spot for Lenz, not because I harbour any thoughts about how messed up he is and so feel sorry for him, or how good he could be, or how deluded he is about his addiction, or anything of that sort. No. I like Lenz because he’s beyond fucked up but he is capable of liking Green. He worries about “spurning” Green (554). This makes me like Lenz. It also “enrages Lenz to like somebody,” but he doesn’t treat Green like shit (to some extent). “Lenz likes him, and there’s always this slight hangnail of fear, like clinging, whenever he likes somebody.” (554).

I see Lenz as like an arch individualist who thinks being an “island” is totally possible, hence this delusion possibly leads to his fear re: feeling affectionate towards someone.

I also like Lenz because his feels for Greenie are for real. Yes, I do think so. And I think this might actually be – are you ready – an example of “love” in IJ.

Look at this unsound and morally corrupt passage on page 555:

“What if [Lenz] like spurns Green and Green ends up in the 3-Man room while Lenz is still in there and they have to room together and interface constantly? And if Lenz tries to temper the spurning by telling Green he likes him, where the fuck is he supposed to look when he says it? If trying to X a female species Lenz would have nullo problem with where to look. He’d have no problem with looking deep into some bitch’s eyes and looking so sincere it’s like dying inside him.” (555)

Hold on for a sec and see what Lenz is worrying about. The fact that Lenz is worried about saying anything to Green, and is worried about losing their friendship by being forced to articulate it … this is very similar to feelings I associate with “love” and “friendship” when you actually care about the person and the relationship more than what the thing itself is, and more than trying to define what the thing itself is, all the while being fully aware of just how much things could mess up if anything was said to convey how one really feels.

I can’t find that passage about Lenz taking a breath after every four blocks. Now, I know this passage might come across as a sort of total domination over Green and disregard for Green, but I was really really moved by this. I thought of it as: Lenz is so goddamn lonely that he can’t stop talking when he’s around Green.

And now, his animal torture and killings.


Every single time I read the Lenz / dying dog passage, I think of Trainspotting. There is a passage in Trainspotting in which Rents (I think) and friends talk about fucking a squirrel, jokingly, I think. But we know what Wittgenstein said about jokes… right. Right. Doesn’t reduce the messed-up levels for me. But anyway, one of them says something like, “put cellophane around it so it doesn’t split open when you fuck it.” So, basically, nothing tops that level of animal-related disturbance, for me. (It’s not in the movie, and you might just have to read the book to get the full effect of the messed-upness!)

Pulling out the book (skipping cellophane bit):

“– Leave it man. Squirrel’s botherin nae cunt likesay! Ah hate it the wey Mark’s intae hurtin animals . . . it’s wrong man. Ye cannae love yirsel if ye want tae hurt things like that. . . ah mean. What hope is thir? The squirrel’s likes fuckin lovely. He’s daein his ain thing. He’s free. That’s mibbe what Rents cannae stand. The squirrel’s free, man.”

We know that powerlessness makes people act out violently this way (pg no.?), and maybe this applies to Lenz too: Lenz can’t stand the animals, because they’re free, and he’s powerless w/r/t addiction, and is not free at all.

The question that continues to bug me re: Green being drawn to Lenz… is one that I can’t solve, without talking about it in terms of psychological patterns in Green’s life that draws him to Lenz. But I don’t really want to do that, because it would feel like repeating some things I’ve said before re: habits and lack of awareness etc.

Before I leave you with Lenz love (don’t be a hater!) (TAKE AN INTERMISSION HERE IF YOU NEED), Mario’s been on my mind.

Last week, in a comment in one of the posts, I said something like: “if Mario can’t feel pain, then his capacity for emotional pain is also affected/reduced, right?” I said so without research, but what about the below?!

I’m going to say right now: I do not understand this article fully, but look: “the ability to feel pain is necessary in order to experience empathy for pain,” though this depends on whether or not that part of the brain is damaged.**

To cut a long story short and to return to IJ, I totally cried when I read this:

“He can’t tell is Hal is sad. He is having a harder and harder time reading Hal’s states of mind or whether he’s in good spirits. This worries him. He used to be able to sort of preverbally know in his stomach generally where Hal was and what he was doing, even if Hal was far away and playing or if Mario was away, and now he can’t anymore. Feel it. […] Mario loves Hal so much it makes his heart beat hard. He doesn’t have to wonder if the difference now is him or his brother because Mario never changes.” (590)

What exactly does that last sentence mean?! Am I reading too much into it… Mario never changes. Meaning what? Meaning Mario’s love for Hal will be there regardless of whether or not he can continue to feel it!? I don’t know if that’s depressing or joyful.

Just going to leave it to Ludwiggy to articulate the rest:

 Could someone understand the word ‘pain’, who had never felt pain? – Is experience to teach me whether this is so or not? – And if we say “A man could not imagine pain without having sometime felt it” – how do we know? How can it be decided whether it is true? (Philosophical Investigations §315)

And now for those Entertainment suggestions to reset those morally corrupt buttons:

Nakeddir.  Mike Leigh.
Der Freie Wille, dir. Matthias Glasner

Yrs truly,

Alienated B.C. student (page 582)

*N.B., N.B., N.B.: My love for Lenz lasts in the realm of spoiler-free discussion, and may change later. So let’s just say, here and now, up to page 500-something, I like Lenz.
**Science ppl who know and have the brainz on this, please help.

To Occur as a Citizen is to get Wormy

I thought I’d end up writing this post about Lucien’s Antitoi’s grisly death and the terrifying and very poetic description of his last moments as he is “free, catapulted home over fans and the Convexity’s glass palisades at desperate speeds, soaring north, sounding a bell-clear and nearly maternal alarmed call-to-arms in all the world’s well-known tongues.” (489)

I also thought I might end up writing about Gately’s drive. But, kinder, we are going to talk about Schtitt! [Whip sound]

Ok, let’s get on the field for a.m. drills.

He tells ETA kids:

“On the tennis court the you the player: this is not where there is cold wind. I am saying. Different world inside. World built inside cold outside world of wind breaks the wind, shelters the player, you, if you stay the same, stay inside. […] This world inside is the same, always, if you stay there. This is what we are making, no? New type citizen. […] Citizens of this sheltering second world we are working to show you every dawn, no? To make your introduction. […]” (459)

Schtitt constantly tells ETA kids that there are no limits except the player’s own limits. He is trying to teach them to make the experience of playing on the court so total that they become unaware of any distinctions between the environment and themselves, or between the court and their mind.

Schtitt is basically saying that the cold and wind are only excuses that give the kids reason not to perform well.

The problem of limits comes up all the time. We’ve seen it before in Eschaton and map/territory failures of representation, we see it in Canada-U.S. relations, we see it in Ennet House friends on their daily basis, and we also see it in annulation!*

*Hold on one minute! Explanation coming!**
**Footnote had to move up here because I didn’t want to lose you as you scrolled to the bottom of the post! … We’re getting into annulation… tighten your brain belts!

[Whip sound] Return to Schtitt:

“So second world […] in that world is joy because there is shelter of something else […] You have a chance to occur, playing. […] This second world inside the lines. Yes? Is this adjusting? This is not adjusting. This is not adjusting to ignore cold and wind and tired. Is no cold. Is no wind. No cold and wind where you occur. No? Not “adjust to conditions.” Make this second world inside the world: here there are not conditions.” (459)

Schtitt doesn’t like the world “adjusting.”

I think what Schtitt’s talking about re: learning to make the world inside the same so that you can occur, is something I think of as an “assimilation” of sorts.

The OED online tells me that “assimilation” could mean “to absorb,” “to make like,” “to cause to resemble,” but for my purposes (leading up to “annulation”) I like this one best:

  1. with with. (In this const. some influence of II is apparent; as not only resemblance, but also alliance or incorporation is implied.)

Ok, now, “annulation”!

I have tried to watch YouTube vids of annulation and read about chemistry, but the definition I found seemed to lead back to chemistry-related stuff ONLY. But this is IJ so of course it’s not just chemistry-related.

“In organic chemistry annulation is a chemical reaction in which a new ring is constructed on a molecule.”

I thought of it like bubbles e.g. when you’re in the bathtub and the bubbles are constantly bumping into one another to join up and and make bigger and smaller bubbles etc.

(Bubble bonus: Thinking of Phil’s blue post made me think of William Gass’s On Being Blue, and Gass who said (in another book) something like God is a soap bubble, infinitely hued…)

Bubbles aside, based on the diagram in IJ, I also thought of the inside of a microwave … Does your microwave have a three-spoked thing with wheel-ish things on the underside of the spokes? And then the big glass plate over top of wheel-spoke thing?

Like this?


I AM HALTING, no worries; won’t get into microwaves and J.O.I’s suicide … today.

So back to annulation…. I knew it was wormyyy! I f*&*^ knew it!!! (All the thinking about boundaries and limits got me to thinking about The Pale King in which there are all sorts of worm-related things at the start, especially w/r/t boundaries and the porousness of certain borders…)

This from Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Among acanthocephalans, rotifers, and some other “aschelminth” groups, external ringlike formations, called annulations, occur in the covering tissues, sometimes so marked as to suggest segmentations; these formations prove to be only superficial, however, and are not indicative of true segmentation.”

Ok so, the important info. for our purposes is that the “ringlike formations, called annulations” suggest segmentations and are not indicative of true segmentation.

Back to Schtitt and Hal at the end of a.m. drills:

“Where is where you apply for citizenship in second world Mr. consciousness of ankle Incandenza, our revenant?
Hal can lean out and spit in a way that isn’t insolent. “Head, sir.”
“The human head, sir, if I got your thrust. Where I’m going to occur as a player. The game’s two heads’ one world. One world, sir.”
Schtitt sweeps the pointer in an ironic morendo arc and laughs aloud:
“Play.” (461)

So, in the passages at the start of this post, Schtitt was talking about being “here” and not in the second world where you’re aware of the conditions of wind and cold. Schtitt’s talking about total absorption, kinder!

But what this chat with Hal tells me is that, in fact, being able to be aware of multiple things at the same time is exactly how one occurs as a citizen. It’s this push/pull between being there in the world and being stuck in one’s head that makes one occur successfully and perform very well. Charles Tavis knows this…

What does this have to do with the definition of annulation I gave you for my purposes?

“The ringlike formations suggest segmentation, but are not indicative of it.”

To me, this makes Hal’s response to Schtitt infinitely complex.

Are you occurring as a citizen?

… The implications of “citizenship” for Canada-U.S. relations in IJ for another time…




Wingardium Leviosa! Do Not Underestimate Objects! Battle of the Gaze!


Welcome welcome to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — we are at the point where Infinite Jest and Harry Potter cross paths.


But seriously, things are flying around, it’s getting ghosty.

What is up with our slim and wiry Ortho “The Darkness” Stice of custom black towels, who had almost beat Hal during the afternoon match?

I think that a more important question than “how is Ortho’s bed moving up against the wall in the middle of the night?” is “why is Ortho’s bed moving up against the wall in the middle of the night.” I really love how much this creeped me out when I was newb, and how much it still does!

Also, what in the hell kind of advice does Lyle give to Ortho?! He tells him “Do not underestimate objects, […] Do not leave objects out of account. The world, after all, which is radically old, is made up mostly of objects.” And then he tells him a story about a man doing some Wingardium Leviosa, “a man who is standing 100% on top of a chair he has grabbed the back of and raised several m. off the ground.” (395)

(In this post, I will ignore the fact that Lyle feeds off of sweat, literally. But wanted to mention it because things are getting really really weird in IJ… Get ready to turn into mystics y’all! (Jk, only a little bit.))

Following that story about the levitating chair-man is the passage about Hal, who, “like most young people genetically hard-wired for a secret drug problem […] also has severe compulsion issues around nicotine and sugar.”

This objects thing has excited me for an infinitely long time, and I continue to be extremely confused and excited by it. So here’s your daily confusion fix from your IJ guide!**

Ok, so, remember that fascination you had as a kid (am projecting here, but it’ll make things simpler) about making things move simply by applying all your mental energies and concentration on it!? Yeah! I think this is very similar to the kind of concentration that accompanies compulsion-issues that Hal has, and that most of us as IJ readers most definitely have as well (joke’s on all of us!).

I still think that if I think hard enough about something, I can change it! And this is not entirely as silly sounding because it has a lot to do with awareness, choice, and will. Our Marathe can tell you all about it!

But now, if we follow what I’m saying then it would imply something along the lines of “Don’t underestimate the power of the brain and the will y’all,” but what Lyle tells us is “Do not underestimate objects.”

So the implication is that perhaps our “control” of objects is illusory in some way, and that objects have more control and agency over humans. But, of course, it’s not that simple, even though Eric Clipperton’s tennis match with a Glock at his temple could be a great case-in-point for the latter.

I was saying that the more important question is why does Stice’s bed move, and not how. It’s easy to get swayed by the “how,” and if we do that, then we fall into what just happened with me, where I reasoned: “Don’t underestimate the power of the brain and will” when in fact Lyle tells us it’s objects that aren’t to be underestimated.

I want to think of “objects” both as physical things / of matter, and also non-physical things made of non-matter. I think that the definition of “objects” expands in one of J.O.I.’s “audience-obsessed” films, The Medusa v. The Odalisque. Here we have a battle of the gaze played out by two holograms.

Totally “not-matter.” Though “L’Odalisque de Ste. Thérèse, a character out of old Quebecois mythology who was so inhumanly gorgeous that anyone who looked at her turned instantly into a human-sized precious gem.”

I find it very interesting that the immateriality of these myths in J.O.I’s film have a mythology w/a very material gem of a result.

We could say that this is like “objectification” literalized.

LaMont Chu’s session with Lyle when he confesses his desire for fame, and to see himself in pictures like his tennis heroes, can also be seen as another form of the above.

Why I’m trying to expand the meaning of “object” to try to show all the many ways that it can mean in IJ … is because I think that these matter/non-matter boundaries are very important for understanding something about why Ortho’s bed moves.

Basically, I think that if the object’s boundaries and fields of relation and agency are blurred, or lost, or malleable, then (considering that there’s a whole history of subject-object relations) the subject also changes definition as well.

BUT JUST IGNORE THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH if it was too pretentious and there were too many big words! There is more fun below (hopefully)! (À la J.O.I, I am audience-obsessedly aware that this post is getting too long.)

I constantly think about space-time warps when I read this passage, but I’m not even going to attempt go down that wormhole… And I also think of it in relation to something I remember reading and haven’t been able to place: a technology is anything that bends space around it. (Could’ve sworn it was in the context of Deleuze, but I can’t place it now.)

If we give my pseudo-scientific thoughts some attention, then what exactly is a technology if it allows 1) chair-man to bend space the way he does 2) Lyle to say Do not underestimate objects 3) the relationship between compulsion-attention and chair-man and Hal’s compulsion.

Is technology a relationship? A system of flows? A different way of communicating? A kind of telekinetic thing? Now I’m just going to throw all of us in the wormhole: What kind of properties must a person or a thing have in order to move Ortho’s bed? I certainly think this person/thing has to have crossed a boundary between person/thing, and that is how Ortho’s bed can move, and if we have come close to knowing how Ortho’s bed can move, then who has broken person/thing boundaries in IJ? This will bring us closer to the why.

I have succeeded in creeping myself out yet again.

Off to Hogwarts for some Defence Against the Dark Arts!

BEFORE I GO: “The seductive ghost of a bliss long absconded.” (374)

That’s so beautiful… is all. Harbouring hope that one day Harry Ransom Centre will say DFW wrote some goddamn poems in his adult life!


After I saw it, I’ve been unable to think about J.O.I’s The Joke*** without thinking about Leos Carax’s Holy Motors. There’s a scene/s in the beginning in which audience-actor-director boundaries are crossed to the extent of the extent maaaaang. GOOSEBUMP LEVELS Y’ALL! Pls watch for Infinite Jest purposes?

If you don’t believe how goosebump-level it is, pardon me, but I must share the weird and total beauty that is Holy Motors:


*HP fans, The Cursed Child was out yesterday!

**I do feel guilty in the wee morning hours for throwing some readers of our posts into deep confusion, especially being a guide and all. But who’s to say confusion isn’t a guide! Think of it as Infinite Jest immersion y’all!

***In my marginalia, I have “Andy Warhol did this” beside The Joke. Cannot recall what I was thinking or talking about, or what Andy Warhol did. Closest thing to “found drama” is his screen tests. Does anyone know?!

The Gear That Maps What’s Real

Well well well, welcome to the nuclear theatre of what is one of the most exciting, irritating, mind-wrenching, and what-the-hell passages of IJ.

Before I try to interface with you about Eschaton,* check out this exceptional Eschaton map from Chris Ayers.



So, I really hope nobody tried to figure out just what the “map” is and what the “territory” is, and just what the “map” was and what the “territory” was!

Don’t worry. Baudrillard, our Officer of Map-Territory Relations has figured out the situation for us:

“But it is no longer a question of either maps or territory. Something has disappeared: the sovereign difference between them that was the abstractions charm. For it is the difference which forms the poetry of the map and the charm of the territory, the magic of the concept and the charm of the real. This representational imaginary, which both culminates in and is engulfed by the cartographer’s mad project of an ideal coextensivity between the map and the territory, disappears with simulation whose operation is nuclear and genetic, and no longer specular and discursive. With it goes all of metaphysics. No more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept.”

Everyone’s favourite, Ingersoll (sort of) knows what it’s about. He knows about the “game” they’re playing: the game itself being a whole lot of rules, codes, norms, criteria kept in place for the sole purpose of winning and losing etc. (even though the purpose of the World Situation might seem noble i.e. avoiding SACPOP and INDDIR). When Ingersoll whacks Kittenplan, he’s basically pointing to the fact that map/territory boundaries no longer exist, that the game is a game, and that there are certain things that might actually be real.

Let’s do a SPASEX: scoot to the psych ward and recall Gompert talking about life as a game that she no longer wants to play (something along those lines). She is catatonic and depressive, and disregards social conventions that make up the game of daily life.

Now, take a lob: Think about the fact that these kids are playing a game that’s based on what they do every single day. They rarely have any holidays! It never ceases to amaze me how much ETA kids work, and how there is no boundary whatsoever between work and play. This isn’t nerd-dom,** it is brainwash that has become so thoroughly internalized that the work/play boundaries no longer apply. It’s the logic of competition and precariousness. Map-Territory relations “at play”!

But what does it all mean?! JK!

Baudrillard talks about the failure of representation that happens when map/territory boundaries become obsolete, which is exactly what happens in Eschaton.

I want to compute enough to say that we’re not going to be able to map map-territory relations in IJ, or even the fact that the kids playing a game on a day off is an internalization of the logic of competition and precarity and that in itself is a kind of map-territory relation on a different level … I want to compute enough to say that the map itself is at stake. And nooow I’ll tell you what I am trying to talk about:

What is the map? I ask you combatants! “Map” in Infinite Jest has changed signification and taken on different meanings, depending on the context. For example, for some of our Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House friends, “map” means face.

If we switch ends of the court and apply this meaning of “map” in Eschaton where map/territory boundaries have gone to the snow, we might come closer to understanding what the vestige of the real Situation is.

“There’s a tiny whirring sound as Ingersoll’s mental gears grind,” (335), and, “you do not get pints for hitting anybody real. Only the gear that maps what’s real.” (338).

On the other side of the court, I am taking maps to be both a verb and noun,*** the “gear” being associated with what shows up / expressions on the face – without thinking of this simply in terms of appearance/reality.

Now that we might be in deep confusion, we might as well go further! My decision-algorithm tells me this is the time to share one of my all-time fave movies with y’all: Synecdoche, New York written and directed by Charlie Kaufman.

Further decision-algorithm recommendations:

Lars von Trier’s Dogville
The Thirteenth Floor, based on the novel Simulacron-3 by Daniel Galouye.
Fassbinder’s World on a Wire, also based on novel above.
eXistenZ by our citizen of The Great Convexity, David Cronenberg.

Don’t SPASEX too much y’all. I definitely did. Must retrieve clean shirt from gear bag for post-post sweats!

*For bonus Evan Ingersoll troll points, the next time you’re talking about IJ irl, pronounce “Eschaton” like “Ey, shat on!” You might not alienate your friends — might not

**Nerd-dom/brainwash distinctions do not apply to IJ readers w/r/t IJ.

***When trying to understand how I’m taking “maps” to be both a verb and a noun, remember that we are not to refer on a 1:1 scale! So, maps does not = face, but is more like maps ~ face. Ya?


The Question Concerning Technology Smells Delicious

Hi hi hi from the Land of the Ahts,

These pages of Infinite Jest creep me out.

Thoroughly enjoyed the Orin hate yesterday. Orin is certainly detestable… but look deep within yourselves, jesters, and you shall also find you have been an Orin at some point in your life! YES! I jest — only infinitely, but ok let’s not venture too far into Orin territory. I write this next part with hesitation: Joelle might be very similar to Orin, though in a more convoluted way (her room is mirrored on all sides) because she is not visibly narcissistic and gross. Buuut, aside from these comments on our hideously beautiful lovers, what creeps me out more than anything in these pages is “ ‘That something smelled delicious.’ ” (256)

What I find completely creepy about Hal’s confession during grief therapy is that:

  • His reaction is probable and realistic, despite the absurdity.
  • It is probable and realistic because his reaction is a bodily reflex that he cannot control.
  • If he can’t control reactions such as feeling hungry when he smells his own father’s suicide-exploded head in a microwave, it makes me think big things that I can’t answer but that pester me in eternal temporal flux; obvious questions like:

– What does it mean to be “human” if we’re all equally capable of reacting this way?!* What the hell is consciousness?!*

Let’s rewind a little bit:

“The microwave, O. The rotisserie microwave over next to the fridge, on the freezer side, on the counter, under the cabinet with the plates and bowls to the left of the fridge as you face the fridge.” (248)

Now rewind even further:

… to Gately (cannot for the consciousness of me find the page right now), when he is able to find his way around Duplessis’s house with ease because he’s noticed that humans generally stow their things in the same places and in the same arrangement. Gately talks about a similar arrangement as Hal does in the para. above.

And now scoot over to the middle distance of Molly Notkin’s thesis party*** where some of the party voices say:

“— more interesting issue from a Heideggarian perspective is a priori, whether space as a concept is enframed by technology as a concept.”

“It has a mobile cunning, a kind of wraith- or phantom-like —“ (233)

Back to Hal:

… who has to hear from Lyle that Hal has to give the grief-therapist a textbook response in order to go through with it. Considering Lyle’s function and character, and based on my understanding of spiritual-ish characters (I am thinking of that rabbi at the end of A Serious Man), I know that you only hear what you are meant to hear at the time of asking, which doesn’t mean that your situation will be resolved, but whatever you’re told is told to get you moving along, so Lyle tells Hal what he needs to hear. Hal is so extremely intelligent, obsessed with language, self-conscious, and cerebral-ish that he has to fool himself into thinking that he is only acting out what the grief-therapist wants to hear. But the truth as I see it is that Lyle has framed this understanding for Hal just enough so that Hal can go through with it in his own way — so that Hal can reveal himself to himself and actually accept that something smelled delicious.

And but so, why am I giving you all of these eggies from the book?

Hal’s reflex to his father’s suicide, the way he got through grief therapy, and the way that humans somehow have very similar patterns of arranging things, and designing houses a certain way so that things end up in a similar arrangement all point to something that has to do with habit that is far from conscious…

What I just said sounds really obvious, but I’m going to give you another eggie that will hopefully make you “?!” just as much as it does to me:

“You know, of course, that human nails are the vestiges of talons and horns… That they develop in-utero long before the cerebral cortex. […] That at some point in the first trimester we lose our gills but are now still now little more than a bladdery sac of spinal fluid and a rudimentary tail and hair-follicles and little microchips of vestigial talon and horn.” (257)

Tell me, jesters, are these facts not truly exotic?! Am I making sense?!

There is no way to follow and unravel all the patterns for clean cause-and-effect relationships, but knowing the complexity of these patterns, I think that being aware of them definitely affects how we might think of free will, of consciousness, and of how we are changed by things and technologies.

In case you would like to continue feeling “?!,” I recommend Marshall McLuhan’s Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man in which he talks about how writing changed humans. In one of the essays, he discusses Shakes’s King Lear w/r/ t writing (main function of which was law-creation, in the context of KL) changing the relations among family members, specifically the relations between Lear and his daughters as one that shifted from roles to jobs.

I am not clipping my nails tonight.

See y’all at p.m. drills.

*(major emphasis on the disorienting emotion conveyed by the interrobangs).

***they are drinking sweet, muddy B.C. apple juice! Excuse me one second: SHOUT OUT TO DAVE LAIRD + SUNRYPE!

P.S.: We don’t have gills when we are bbs in the womb.

Capitulation, W-18, DMZ, and Patricia Highsmith

Mmmyelllow comrades in Jest,

I have capitulated: I am behind on my IJ reading for this week!

Here are a couple of IJ links I keep stashed w/r/t this week’s readings:

– Subsidized time.

– A little bit on the academic-y side, but Deleuze and the Three Syntheses of Time is right up there with Phil’s awesome post this wk about heroes and non-action.

And don’t tell me you haven’t thought about what DFW was thinking about when he was thinking about DMZ… I was in Calgary a couple of months ago, and W-18 was all over the news. I remember thinking, “could this be DMZ?! Omggg where are my internet IJ friends rn welp WELP!” I won’t let any anachronisms stop me from speculating…

On another tangent: the first time I read about Pemulis and his yachting cap, I immediately thought about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley, based on a book by Patricia Highsmith. HMM. Wasn’t this book on a DFW syllabus?

Sorry this is short today, IJ friends! I hope you’ll go on an internet journey with W-18 and share what you find.