Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A “spect-op”

In the world of Infinite Jest, ninety-four percent of all entertainment is consumed at home:

Hence the new millennium’s passion for standing live witness to things. A whole sub-rosa schedule of public spectation opportunities, “spect-ops,” the priceless chance to be part of a live crowd, watching. Thus the Gapers’ Blocks at traffic accidents, sewer-gas explosions, muggings, purse-snatchings, the occasional Empire W.D.V. with an incomplete vector splatting into North Shore suburbs and planned communities and people leaving their front doors agape in their rush to get out and mill around and spectate at the circle of impacted waste drawing sober and studious crowds, milling in rings around the impact, earnestly comparing mental notes on just what it is they all see.

David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996).
On Monday, life in an English town came to a halt as crowds gathered to look at an object floating in a river.

Mystery object brings town to standstill (Bridgwater Mercury, via Boing Boing)

[W.D.V.: Waste Displacement Vehicle. E.W.D. vehicles send American garbage flying into Canada. Yes, it’s part of a new world order.]

comments: 2

Elaine said...

Looked to me like someone was busy with PhotoShop--pig's head, turtle body, both alive in their original photographs. Crowd there for another reason. Was this article from April First, by any chance?

Michael Leddy said...

Those pictures are newly added — the newspaper’s idea of a joke. But the story appears to be a real one (not from April 1).