The Entertainment of Now (More or Less Misplaced)

More or Less Misplaced
More or Less Misplaced

Consider your vices. Might you still agree to partake in any particular vice if it resulted in death? At some recent point, recent enough that I am still semi-baffled, I realized that partaking in particular vices is a type of contract or agreement—an understanding that the action may end in death. I have this vague memory of a couple that chased volcano eruptions. Almost like dodging the water coming in on a shoreline, but with lava. Both of them had this understanding that they would die doing this. One died. I’ve lost the piece of the story that comes after one person died. Did the person that lived longer stop?

Did I lose this part of the story or did I misplace it? Pardon me, I’m—We’re going to have to backtrack for this!

There is a bold margin of nearly empty space at the top of page 648. (6) words are bound and suspended on the left side of this space. It looks something like this:

‘As you wish.’

Steeply and Marathe are trying to come up with the word to describe dead eyes fixated on the ‘…Entertainment of now.’

The eye-factor

As in trapped in some sort of middle.
Between two things.
Pulled apart in different directions.

All of this until Steeply brings up “Misplaced. Lost.”

Marathe sticks to “Misplaced.” Steeply holds to “Lost” until he closes the conversation with “As you wish.”

Being “Lost” or “misplaced” in that “Entertainment of now” leaves everything else in the margin.

The most important step between a useful experience and not—when captivated by the “Entertainment of now” is a big sense of:

How long.

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10 thoughts on “The Entertainment of Now (More or Less Misplaced)”

  1. Corrie, I love your discussion of vices and the volcano eruption chasers and your question of whether, after the one died, did the other continue? It’s an amazing analogy for addiction – not unlike someone who continually puts themselves in harm’s way via Substances. So I went looking for your lava chasers and found the story of Katia and Maurice Kraft who died with 41 others in the eruption of Mount Unzen (don’t get me started on how un-Zen) in Japan.

  2. Last night, for the first time, I watched “The End of the Tour.” I had been kind of resisting doing so, partly because there was controversy about how the family felt about it (i.e. not good). It struck me that The Entertainment can be seen somewhat as a metaphor for DFW’s depression, or the depression of others in the book (which I imagine are all aspects of his own depression). I went online and found this quote from the movie, near the end:

    “…It may be what in the old days was called a spiritual crisis or whatever. It’s just the feeling as though the entire, every axiom of your life turned out to be false, and there was actually nothing, and you were nothing, and it was all a delusion. And that you were better than everyone else because you saw that it was a delusion, and yet you were worse because you couldn’t function.”

    But the online quote left out the most important part (paraphrased below). The quote describes the illness, but not the potential treatment:

    DFW goes on to say that “…those feelings (thoughts?) were still in there. But the thing is to not let them drive…”

    Tragically, it’s clear that “they” eventually wrested hold of the steering wheel, from him…

    1. David, thanks for sharing your reactions to “The End of the Tour.”

      The way you pointed out that the most important part is the treatment, and the fact that it is omitted, got me thinking about that whole idea as a map of the United States. Instead of the states being labeled with their titles they each read “symptom.”

      Well, hopefully this translates. Thanks for inspiring this thought track!

  3. The context is a little different but your post reminded me of this sentence, “The eyes of men violently dead were also the eye of a fish in a vendor’s crushed ice, studying nothing.” [p 733]

    1. Rob, Awesome match-up! I’m realizing that Wallace’s fascination with eyes and their directional gaze could be related to Chuck Close and the people he decides to paint portraits of…

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