Keep Coming Back

No one’s taken this title yet, right?

Alright. Good.

So what I want to do this week is (um) talk about Infinite Jest for a little bit – maybe take a bit of a break from (double um) talking about myself.

And as we’re getting to the really pointy end of the book now (I’m afraid it’s going to hurt a lot of you, for very different reasons) I want to make a point that’s (probably) gone unsaid (mostly) by most of us “guides”, but which nonetheless has been right there in most of our posts.

It’s that Infinite Jest rewards re-reading. Big time. Just this week I’ve come across three cherry-ringers I’ve never noticed before that I want to share with you now in case, like me, it’s taken you several reads to notice them.

We finally get to endnote 304.

Throughout at least five or six hundred pages Wallace has been trying to get us to skip ahead to the three-hundred-and-fourth endnote, promising juicy details about the wheelchair assassins and some kind of train cult.

When we finally get there, the information is presented as a quasi-academic paper framed by Jim Struck trying to plagiarise it, but what’s interesting is that the paper is by one G. Day – a character who’s familiar to us and is, right at the moment we’re taken to Struck, sharing a room with (none other than) Remy Marathe – an AFR and former train-cultist himself.

Steeply really is grotesque – in one of the ways it really matters

Remember Helen Steeply’s only putative published article for Moment magazine? Back on page 142, about the woman who’s handbag-receptacled Jarvik IX Exterior Artificial Heart was stolen? That contained all these advertorialish quotes and descriptions like “the extraordinary prosthesis”, “extroardinary heart in her purse,” and “That the prosthetic crime victim gave chase for over four blocks before collapsing onto her empty chest is testimony to the impressive capacity of the Jarvik IX replacement procedure” that made you question why the article so glowingly commended the medically miraculous exterior heart?

It’s much, much later when Marathe is drunkenly exposition-ing to Kate Gompert that we learn that he is Steeply’s Moment‘s article’s intended audience:

‘I have been knowing since the wedding night her death was coming. Her restenosis of the heart, it is irreversible. Now my Gertraude, she has been in a comatose and vegetating state for almost one year. This coma has no exit, it is said. The advanced Jaarvik IX Exterior Artificial Heart is said by the public-aid cardiologists of Switzerland to be her chance for life.

Yeah, you probably should take what Molly Notkin says in a fairly high-sodium way.

Notkin claims Joelle van Dyne’s (known, I believe, to the U.S.O.U.S. interrogators as only Madame Psychosis) is Lucille Duquette.

But we’ve seen the name Duquette before: in the James O. Incandenza filmography. And as a film-slash-film-cartridge scholar, it’s likely that Notkin knows Duquette (first initial: E) and has knowingly given the interrogators a false name.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this Duquette the priapismically guilt-ridden Pabst scholar?

Better question: what have you discovered this week?


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3 thoughts on “Keep Coming Back”

  1. Did I nod off during endnote 304? I missed that Geoffrey Day was the author of the paper that Struck was plagiarizing, and further that he Day is living with Marathe (?!). On what page do we learn about that bit of cohabitation?

    1. I had skipped ahead to endnote 304 the first time it was quod vided, so I recognized Geoffrey Day’s name later when he was said to be an academic writer, and could I.D. Gately’s exasperation with him via Struck’s reading experience. Endnote 304 is referenced as Marathe is seeking admission at Ennet House, surveying the residents and recollecting his own childhood in comparison, when he hears a clatter and shrieks from the kitchen, an incident previously mentioned involving Day, Haha, no, you obviously don’t need to nod off to miss stuff like that, but it sure makes me wonder what else I’m missing.

  2. Excellent observations. I had not put any of those together. Re-reading the final 200 pages was like drinking from a fire hose of newly-placeable factoids.

    RE Duquette, when Molly Notkin gives that as JvD’s name, I dug a into the Kindle banks to find it. E. Duquette is mentioned several times as a professor at MIT and friend/colleague of JOI. He helped JOI perpetrate the “Found Drama” revenge hoax (p1027) and is presumably the same Duquette mentioned in the cocktail chatter of Molly Notkin’s party w/r/t the Entertainment: “Some kind of abstractable hypnosis, an optical dopamine cue. A recorded delusion. Duquette says he’s lost contact with three colleagues. He said a good bit of Berkeley isn’t answering their phone.” (p233).

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