26 Days of Jest: Day 3 

It’s Day 3 of our reading challenge. We’re reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace in just 26 days. Check the category tag for what we read on days 1 and 2. My hopes for today are for the characters’ threads to start to wind together. Let’s see!

– Page 95. It’s Hal in a locker room. It seems in this version of America the things education focuses on are sports and entertainment. Once again Hal feels disconnected from his peers, and there’s no real malice amongst them. 

– Page 100. We’ve had a brief flash of Steeply and Marathe in the desert, seemingly doing nothing at all, and now we’re back in the locker room, where the students are so tired they’re having a long boring conversation about how to explain how tired they are. The speech in this novel is so improbable I want to hold a seance and ask DFW just WHERE he’d heard ANYONE have these types of conversations. 

– Page 105. Nothing has happened in 5 pages except some mild body horror, which seems to be a running theme. Now we’re back to Marathe and Steeply…. take off your wig and be shitting inside it! We’re having a discussion on romantic relationships in classical literature and myths. 

– Page 108. We’re still discussing love. I sense something of a frisson between these two. Marathe lost his legs, which we read is related to the mention of train tracks “smelled at close range”. 

– Page 113. Back to Hal. He’s being a Big Buddy to some tennis juniors, but I think he’s just depressing them and imbuing them with his own sense of futility and loneliness. He hates one of the kids, Ingersoll, because he “sees in the kid certain parts of himself he can’t or won’t accept.”

– Page 117. More Big Buddy speeches. I skim read most of this page. It’s tedious. I noticed one of them used the word “droogies” though. C’mon Clockwork Orange!

– Page 123. I may be particularly sensitive to body shaming today, but calling a large woman “U.S.S.” as in: she’s as big as a ship, is annoying the fuck out of me. I’m not sure DFW had a great opinion of women. There’s also a lot of transvestism in this book, isn’t there? Is that a theme?

– Page 125. Ok so now for some light sexual assault against a boy who would seem to have severe developmental problems.

– Page 126. Marathe and Steeply again! This time discussing The Entertainment and rumours of The anti-Entertainment, which “cures” the condition bought about by The Entertainment. 

– Page 128.  Briefly, a salty and brown little guru called Lyle. And now, folks, it’s time for A Redneck Interlude! Different rednecks this time. Not a piece of punctuation to be found, everything deliberately mis-spelled, and all of it decidedly Problematic too. Jesus this is hard to read. I presume it’s all about robbing folk, “copping” and getting high. More transvestism; the Poor Tony character is in high heels and a feather boa. May be trans, but is referred to as “he” throughout. 

– Page 134. Ok so now one of them is dead through shooting up with heroin laced with Draino. Poor Tony then “departed for green pastures and ate cheese” but I have NO IDEA what this means. 

Ok that’s enough for today! I’ve reached my limit. Like, in so many ways. Where is Orin? What about Kate Gompert? The anxious fuckboy waiting for weed? The Original Rednecks? Maybe we will find out tomorrow! 

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