Friday, September 30, 2011

infinite jest, day one

'My application's not bought,' I am telling them, calling into the darkness of the red cave that opens out before closed eyes. 'I am not just a boy who plays tennis. I have an intricate history. Experiences and feelings. I'm complex.

'I read,' I say. "I study and read. I bet I've read everything you've read. Don't think I haven't. I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM-drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it." My instincts concerning syntax and mechanics are better than your own, I can tell, with due respect. 

'But it transcends the mechanics. I'm not a machine. I feel and believe. I have opinions. Some of them are interesting. I could, if you'd let me, talk and talk. Let's talk about anything. I believe the influence of Kierkegaard on Camus is underestimated. I believe Dennis Gabor may very well have been the Antichrist. I believe Hobbes is just Rousseau in a dark mirror. I believe, with Hegel, that transcendence is absorption. I could interface you guys right under the table,' I say. 'I'm not just a creatus, manufactured, conditioned, bred for a function.'

I open my eyes. 'Please don't think I don't care.'

I look out. Directed my way is horror. I rise from the chair. I see jowls sagging, eyebrows high on trembling foreheads, cheeks bright-white. The chair recedes below me.

'Sweet mother of Christ,' the Director says.*

David Foster Wallace loved words. But more than a deep love--and thus intimate understanding--of words, Wallace's prose reveals his intrinsic instinct for rhythm, time, and thus coercion. He takes us with him. Sentences pile upon one another, gaining momentum and weight; culminating in a crash: "Please don't think I don't care." Palpable and heavy, Wallace's words have dimension and history.

* Wallace, David Foster. Infinite Jest: A Novel. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1996. (11-12)

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