Infinite Jest is a long book. It's also amazing, and totally worth every moment spent with it, even if it will turn you into the butt of a million hipster jokes. One of the most memorable scenes in the book (possibly due to its tedious details and overall ridiculousness) is the ESCHATON massacre, in which the younger students at Enfield Tennis Academy in Boston play a massive global war-game on adjacent tennis courts with the aid of a randomized computer algorithm and a few pot-smoking upperclassmen overseeing the festivities. It's like life-size RISK with more tennis balls and marijuana, and, like all good fiction, it doesn't quite go as planned, as evidenced by the Decemberists' recreation of the calamity in the music video above.
I bring this up now because today, November 8, was the day that the Eschaton game took place. Infinite Jest is set vaguely in the future, at a point where time was subsidized by the ONAN government (Organization of North American Nations, the super-country formed by the US, Mexico, and Canada). So rather than assigning numbers to each new year, the government offers each new year for corporate sponsorship; the main plot of the novel, for example, takes place in the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment (YDAU for short). Using some context clues, we can actually determine that the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment was probably intended to be the year 2009, which makes today the 5th anniversary of a fictional event that took place in a 1000+ page book that came out 18 years ago.
And but then so that's my way of saying here's a bunch of fun Infinite Jest-related shit that I found on the Internet that I'm sharing here now in celebration of the life and work of the late David Foster Wallace which some of you might enjoy or care about if you, too, have given your life up to this damn tome.
Infinite Jest as Found Poetry
"Found Poetry" is a fun little thing where you existing texts that someone's already written and then select a few words or combinations of words (not too many in a row) from the extant text and turn them into something new. The randomness of the experiment can result in some truly fascinating poetry or interesting turns of phrase, some of which illuminates or comments on the text from which it drew, and some of it which stands on its own as poetry.
But it was poet Jenni B. Baker who had the brilliant idea to do this with Infinite Jest, turning Wallace's already-luscious prose into something else entirely. Each one of these was created from a single page of the book, and from what I understand, her goal is to make found poetry out of all 1079 pages. Here's are a few, but you can find more at ErasingInfinite.com:
LEGO Infinite Jest
An English professor at Capital University decided to read Infinite Jest out loud to his 11-year-old son for reasons I can't even begin to understand (unless it's to scare the kid straight off drugs?). Either way, I'm glad he did, because together, father-and-son took inspiration from The Brick Bible and decided to re-create scenes from the novel...using LEGOs.