Monday, August 22, 2011

Eschaton-inspired video

The Decemberists have released an Infinite Jest-inspired video for “Calamity Song.” The specific inspiration: the novel’s Eschaton episode.

First Watch: The Decemberists, “Calamity Song” (NPR)

Update: The New York Times reports that Michael Schur, who directed this video, has the film rights to Infinite Jest.

[I’ll admit it: the Eschaton episode is my least-favorite part of Infinite Jest.]

comments: 2

Stefan said...

Thanks for this post, Michael. There isn't much we disagree on, but this is one of those rare occasions. Although this part of IJ dragged a little, I thought it was mostly excellent, maybe because I could so easily imagine inventing such a game with my childhood friends, playing it, and having it end in a melee. To me, Eschaton seems like a hybrid of the best indoor games (Risk, Dungeons & Dragons, chess) and the best outdoor games (tag, Kill the Man with the Ball). But I can see your point too, and it probably doesn't help that you aren't so enthusiastic about the Decemberists. I can again see your point--they can be a little cutesy and maybe even pretentious at times--but I really like most of their stuff. And although I don't add the following to persuade anyone, I can't resist mentioning that "Calamity Song" sounds a lot like early R.E.M, especially "(Don't go back to) Rockville" from their first LP. (Re childhood games: "Kill the Man with the Ball" was what we called it, but I believe it goes by many names. Some aren't very nice.)

Michael Leddy said...

Stefan, I think the ideas in the Eschaton section are important ones — dedication to a cause (as in Marathe-Steeply dialogues), the difference between territory and map, the line between reality and play. But the narrative itself feels like a slog to me.

I think the Decemberists are fine, but musically my head is just elsewhere (blues, jazz, old-timey, Messrs. Wilson and Parks, &c.).

By the way, I just read in the NYT that Michael Schur, the director of this video, has the film rights to Infinite Jest.