Shambles: Summer of Infinite Jestation


Carved out of what, though, this place?
August 11, 2010, 10:34 am
Filed under: Infinite Jest | Tags: , , , ,

Just FYI, I stopped on page 662*, right before the Steeply/Saprogenic** Greetings correspondence, while Infinite Summer has chugged up through p. 665.

This was a really intense section:

Mario will turn 19 soon.

D. Gately’s map is quite nearly eliminated. Erdedy discovers that J.v.D. likes D. Gately extracurricularly. D. Gately realizes a) that Lenz is Bing-ing, and b) that J.v.D. is Madame Psychosis.

That, and Mario also nearly stumbles upon Madame Psychosis herself. I really want them to meet: Mario, as one who has been approached by U.H.I.D. and refused to wear the veil, and J.v.D., Orin’s love from which he has never recovered, P.G.O.A.T. in the most ridiculously irresistable sense, who asks to don the veil because the extremity of her non-hideousness and non-deformity makes her feel very much a part of U.H.I.D.

Hal almost gets pwned by Ortho Stice.

Orin fills out an interesting survey form for one of his allegedly adoring/wheel-chaired fans who has a putatively Swiss accent, much like the putatively Swiss hand-model who smokes and dives into the covers… minus an autograph ruse.

Steeply encounters many left-handers at E.T.A.

We get Steeply’s version to Marathe of how his father developed the Misplaced/Lost look akin to those who have been sucked away by The Entertainment after slowly descending into convoluted apocalyptic theories involving the T.V. show M*A*S*H*. And the two (Marathe + Steeply, that is) finally, finally, part ways after a correspondence that has been chopped up and scattered about since the beginning of IJ.

Like Girl Detective (who commented in this week’s Infinite Summary) and Marathe, I’m a bit suspicious about the story that Steeply tells about his father. Indeed, why the change from Mummykins to Mumkinsky? It was certainly a tragic tale, but it mirrored accounts of what The Entertainment does too eerily well. Steeply may be a cross-dresser in the Shakespearean sense (which in my opinion really ties in well to the Orin romance – which is a slightly edited version of Orsino, a la Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night, although Orin is a hilarious caricature of the worst kind of philandering lothario), but who’s to say that this kind of (gender) duplicity doesn’t bleed into other aspects of his/her life? (Granted, Orin seems to have quite moved on… but he seemed remarkably interested in H. Steeply as a potential Subject/object for awhile.). Steeply especially seems to abound with liminality (i.e. his/her relationship with Marathe – who’s telling what and for whom and who knows who knows?). Although we do know Steeply had/has a wife.

I didn’t intend to make this all chock-heavy with Shakespeare references (looking especially to the is/seems philosophical debate), but again, Steeply brings up a really interesting point towards the end of this section (like p. 660-2ish) about The Show (with Players, though in this case, they are tennis players and not actor Players) – it being called The Show and all, and tennis being a “spectator sport” – and then there’s DFW’s seemingly free-floating digression about spec-ops, about how there’s a kind of recoil in his dystopia into “real live performance”, where the cleaning of the duckpond every year brings thousands of concentric rings of viewers.

So but Steeply’s question about E.T.A. (founded by a film director, no less, of The Entertainment) sounds to me like a legitimate one – carved out of what, indeed?

*the reason being that, accompanying Steeply/Saprogenic’s correspondence from pages 663-5 is a footnote of epic proportions… and even though the 70 preceding pages certainly whetted my appetite for something, it was certainly not that.

**FYI: saprogenic, in case you were wondering, means caused or produced by putrefaction or decay. I can’t even begin to imagine what a Saprogenic Greeting is. Or how they do business.

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