Apologies

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I just wanted to explain my take on why Infinite Jest, a video of mother saying "i'm sorry" over and over again is as entertaining as it is. My reasoning may seem childish if not outright silly but I think that part of the reason this video is as addicting as it is because the idea of a motherly apology is so remote. Call me crazy and playing on exaggerations and jokes, but I don't think anyone can deny that at some point in their life before adulthood, they were "wronged" in some way and felt they deserved an apology they never received. What's more, you probably were forced to admit that you were at fault even when you truly believed otherwise; in a sense, a false forced confession. This double whammy makes people loose faith in any idea of justice and fairness. Moreover, because parents are the authority and monopolizer of power within a family unit, we as children view such an act as an abuse of power.

Gender in Infinite Jest

We've been here before, with the other novels, especially GR, and I'd like to revisit.

As I read this book, the vast majority of the characters are male and even in the relatively major female characters I never really sensed much of what would be considered conventional femininity. We've encountered the USSMK, Ann Kittenplan who's about as feminine as the East German women's swim team, Avril, the Incandenzas' mother but also for the most part serves both the role of mother and father, Kate Gompert who's nothing but horridly depressed and finally Joelle who we see mostly as the "pretty girl" and not particularly feminine. At the same time, Infinite Jest IV or V tells its viewer, "Death is always female and that the female is always maternal. I.e. that the woman who kills you is always your next life's mother" (788). Why such a strong focus on death as female? Why is this what people want to hear? that their mothers are "SO VERY SORRY" (839)? Or more puzzling why can Jim Incandenza alone endure the film?

DARE v2.0

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So. Upon taking a break around midnight I decided to unwind with a bit of ye old Entertainment. The hows and the whys escape me--the interwebs, like a magical forest, tend to lead to many unsettling discoveries--but I stumbled upon this little... gem, the website for the Montana Meth Project. Warning: The videos and the ads aren't exactly for the faint of heart. The blurb on the site sums it all up pretty nicely, 70-90% of teens in Montana are supposedly seeing these about three times a week--saturation-level advertising they're calling it. The ads themselves are... well... abhorrently grotesque. Like the Nunhagen-Aspirin ads, but there's nothing remotely artistic or what have you about this. "Not even once" is the general theme...

Wasted Conversation

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Finished! 3 down, 1 to go. I'm not sure I fully understood everything that happened in the end, but hopefully some of the pieces will click soon.

So. There was one scene that really tied in to the whole "family relations" thing that a lot of groups were talking about yesterday:

"What moved *me* to feel sorry for Orin was that it seemed pretty obvious that that had nothing to do with what Himself was trying to talk about. It was the most open I'd ever heard of Himself being with anybody, and it seemed terribly sad to me, somehow, that he'd wasted it on Orin. I'd never once had a conversation nearly that open or intimate with Himself" (956).

Ok, I'm finished. Whew!

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Okay, so I finished Infinite Jest this morning, and I don't really feel closure. We had some guesses reaffirmed by Hal near the end, and some light was certainly shed on Gately's past, but I didn't really feel an end. I guess I was hoping to see a little more of Joelle and to figure out more about Marathe. To tell you the truth, I am still confused about Marathe. What became of him and the wheelchair gang? Does anybody know? Were we supposed to know? I wish we knew what became of my favorite character, Pemulis. He was expelled (right?) and now he is just waiting out the semester before he leaves? I'm also guessing he wants to talk to Hal about doping him up.

nytimes sports articles

so ive been meaning to post links to these two new york times articles for a while,

http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document?_m=daa22e9836cf2a402e2fb3491b03b936&_docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVzW-zSkVA&_md5=b52a186aa4abdebf78414e9453b17b0d

"Your Brain on Baseball" by David Brooks

this is by the times's conservative pundit and it's about the exact same type of automated brain functions that wallace attirbutes to tennis players (bottom of page 260 is one example) only with baseball players at spring training, pretty interesting stuff

http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe/document?_m=9d550e9075d64e6301e2d7646ec1bf4a&_docnum=1&wchp=dGLbVzW-zSkVA&_md5=946b019e72aad143a1d68a83a16f758d

49 States? what what?

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Page 761, "...in an extreme corner are fleur-de-lis pennons on tall sharp polished sticks. C.T.'s office has an O.N.A.N. flag and a 49-star U.S.A. flag."

50 states - New Hampshire- Maine - Rhode Island - Vermont...
49??????? any ideas anyone

Teeth and Movies

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Okay, so in this section, we witness another dream about teeth. First, Hal had a nightmare about losing his teeth (449), and now Joelle on 723-724 worries obsessively about hers and has a dream about going to the dentist. Additionally, James had also made a movie called "Fun With Teeth" (987) about a dentist performing unanesthetized root canals on patients. I remember hearing that the most common dreams are about flying, falling, or losing teeth. I thought this was interesting, so I looked it up online: "This classic dream has a number of interpretations. It can literally mean that you are frightened of losing your teeth. It can show the beginning of a new phase of life just as we lose our teeth when we pass from early childhood and head towards adulthood. You may be worried about your self image or the dream may signify unexpressed anxiety."

Marathe's secret life

So, my friend from out of town and I were discussing Infinite Jest. Believe it or not, he's read it before (for FUN!) and is going through it a second time. Anyway, it was a really interesting conversation and I asked him what he thought about Marathe, since I remember we were talking about him in class the other day. My friend thinks that Marathe is not a double or a triple agent, but a QUADRUPLE agent. Ultimately, he is loyal to the Americans because his wife is sick from all the toxic poisoning and the Americans are the only ones who are willing to help her.

Any thoughts?

Footnotes! Grrrr

I'm wondering why Wallace decided to include so much vital information in the footnotes section! This section of reading was especially footnote-heavy, with two entire chapters in the footnotes instead of the main text (fn #324 and #332). These footnotes even start with the classic "17 November- Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" heading. I don't understand the stylistic reasoninig behind putting such info in the footnotes. Anyone have any ideas?

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