INFINITE JEST readalong pp 665-711

Blood Sister design by Chris Ayers

Blood Sister design by Chris Ayers

Welcome back! Time is short, the post is late, and I’m tired, so I’m going to jump right in.

pp 666-673 A bunch of the younger ETA boys are in the tunnels, underneath the Ortho/Hal game, cleaning up as punishment for the Eschaton debacle, yet also as an excuse to look for a large rodent that Kent Blott claims to have seen. My little boys also like dark, small spaces, so I thought it interesting to contrast young to older boys, and to females, even “the butchest” ones, thanks for the sensitivity, DFW, who never wastes an opportunity to verbally kertwang on a large or masculine female. They put a bunch of unlabelled tapes in bag. Clenette is later seen carrying a full backpack of dumpster pilferage. Could a copy of the Entertainment be heading down the hill?

PP 673-682 The match, again, this time with Steeply talking to Thierry Poutrincourt. They talk about transcending or getting sucked into celebrity.

pp 682-686 Older brother Matty Pemulis in a bar, sees Poor Tony walk by–is this after his seizure on the train? A horrifying childhood rape story similar to the one told about the woman with the catatonic adoptive sister. Yikes. No wonder Michael Pemulis is dead set on never returning to Allston.

pp 686-689 After supper of the match, Hal goes up the viewing room, starts to watch old tapes of his dad’s, note: all of them labelled.

pp 689-691 Poor Tony survived the seizure! But, I fear for his long term viability.

pp692 Geoffrey Day almost misses Lenz. Penises.

pp 692l-698 the difference between mild depression, anhedonia, and clinical, like Kate Gompert’s.

pp 698-700 Kate Gompert and Ruth Van Cleve, and then these are the women Poor Tony is pursuing, thinking about snatching their purses.

700 Troeltsch, surrounded by Seldane, or is it the Tenuate he’s “promoted” from Pemulis’ stash?

Pemulis checks his DMZ stash in the ceiling.

Lyle hovers.

p 701 Schtitt and Mario go for ice cream. Similar to downhill swooping of AFR kidnappers with WHYY guy.

Avril calls Moment Magazine.

pp 701-711 Joelle is in hospital, mopping brow of unconscious Don. He lives! Hal watches Blood Sister: One Tough Nun, based on his father’s experience in Boston AA, and people keep coming in to watch with him.

Vince wanted to know on Twitter if note 290, about Blood Sister and the veiled character, is addressed to the reader: how she may or may not be actually physically scarred, and the older kids hope she’s not as that would be too “gooey” or sentimental, or obvious. Is DFW poking at the reader’s curiosity about whether Joelle is really scarred under the veil, or just hiding her debilitating prettiness?

Gotta get to work, so this is all I’ve got this week. What did everyone else think?

Only six more shortish sections to go! Is anyone going to throw caution to the winds and just read on through?

10/6 pp 711-755
10/13 pp 755-808
10/20 pp 809-854
10/27 pp 854-902
11/3 pp 902-941
11/10 941-981 THE END

6 Responses to “INFINITE JEST readalong pp 665-711”

  1. Heidi Says:

    Read a bit further than p.711, at least according to ebook pagination. Mostly because I wanted to close out the episodes. At “A disadvantage of your nasally ingested cocaine…” p.716

    Where are the responsible adults in these ETA kids’ lives? Feeling kinda horrified that they’re left to their own devices so much, watching things like “Blood Sister”.

    Lengthy meditation on depression super challenging to read. Timing not great. My cod what this whole book, in retrospect, seems to fairly shout re: DFW’s own struggles.

  2. V Says:

    While this section was all over the map, leading Heidi to term it extra-struggley on Twitter, I do feel we actually got closer to finding IJ, either in the tunnels or in the viewing room with Hal.

  3. girldetective Says:

    Vince, finding Infinite Jest, the heart or nugget or crux of the novel we’re reading, or Infinite Jest, the entertainment tape by JOI? Or, both? I think both.

    The kids in the tunnel is very much like Steven King’s It, and I think both the entertainment and the Blott-reported rodent are referred to at different points as It with a capital “I”.

    Both of the last 2 sections between moon chapters are very long, so I’ve broken them down into manageable chunks, but that does mean that things will feel unfinished for this section till we get to 808, and then again for everything after 808 to 981.

  4. V Says:

    I meant IJ the film, but it most definitely feels like an apt double meaning.

    At one point, Heidi, didn’t we have one set of parents doing a drive-by, whether it was a visit or dropoff.

  5. girldetective Says:

    I think one of the things this section shows is that these kids aren’t average or normal kids. I’m struck by the endnote about how anyone over 13 would think being actually scarred would be gooey–how many actual 13yo would have this awareness? And it’s interesting because DFW both in real life and in the book was a proponent of goo–see the section in which Mario discusses how most people avoid real stuff, and judge others for being moved by it, as Hal is silent about how he likes Wave Bye Bye to the Bureaucrat, the gooey movie he watched before Blood Sister. Yet these kids are being trained for the show, so they are really in a metaphorical (and literal!) bubble and rarified atmosphere at the top of the hill, in the Lung. Also, note the number of “good” parents in the book.

    As for kid viewing–how many of you watched horror movies early in the life–Halloween, (9th grade) Poltergeist (8th I think) and more? I was not very old. And it is modern, in the era of the helicopter parents, far after DFW and we were raised, that parents are hypercontrolling of screen time and violent tv and video games.

  6. Heidi Says:

    “It” is also what Kate G. calls her depression. Interesting…

    My parents were far from “helicopter parents”; we ran pretty feral and w/out much supervision all around our immediate neighborhood and some of us explored our smallish city well beyond that. As long as we were in by curfew. That said, I wasn’t allowed much leeway when it came to tv or movies. Parents were consulted. Mandatory. Reading was a different matter and I snuck a fair share of “adult” books off my mom’s shelf. That stuff happens in your own imagination though, what your mind conjures.

    I do have vivid memories of going to the movie theater w/ one of my grade school pals and her teen sister to see “Yellow Submarine”. Had nightmares for ages afterwards. Those apple-bonkers and shark-bellied fez-wearing dudes and blue meanies… Think my parents must’ve thought animation, the Beatles, what harm could there be in that? No, I don’t know if the teen sister was tripping.