Saturday, July 16, 2016

David Foster Wallace, Pokémon Go, Trump-Pence

It feels like the Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad, or the Year of Something . In other words, it feels like we’re living in DFW Time. The Pokémon Go fad makes me recall Wallace’s idea of the “spect-op.” In the world of Infinite Jest , ninety-four percent of all entertainment is consumed at home. It’s a world of “Total freedom, privacy, choice”:

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).
But now it’s a matter of standing live witness to virtual creatures on a screen.


The Trump-Pence logo seems like icky icing on the cake of a strange and awful week. In its hilariously crude absurdity, the logo seems to have made for the world of Infinite Jest . (I can imagine an editor: “But David, don’t you think it’s a little far-fetched?”) Trump strongly resembles the novel’s Johnny Gentle, entertainer, germaphobe, and president of the United States, “first U.S. President ever to say shit publicly,” president of “a new-era’d nation that looked out for Uno.” Of course in the novel, the border that concerns the president is the one to the United States’ north.

Related reading
All OCA DFW posts (Pinboard)
A brief explanation of Subsidized Time

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