Monday, February 06, 2006

More IJ related stuff (I'm about a quarter finished)

A big key to “getting” or even “getting thru” a reading of Infinite Jest (besides a perspicacity of brobdingnagian levels, or an unabridged OED), is figuring out some of the odd things going on throughout the book. While you won’t find it stashed next to Asimov or Bradbury or H.G. Wells (or even Samuel Delaney or Neal Stephenson), IJ is science fiction in many aspects. It takes place in the ever-popular-in-the-genre “not so distant future” (where videophones have come and gone, but the internet didn’t catch on the way it has in our timeline) of Teleputers or TPs…oh, and the US is now part of the Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.).

You see, in this future, we go and elect a former Sinatra-esque crooner with a Howard Hughesian level of germaphobia president, and somehow (I won’t totally spoil it), we finagle a way to dump our garbage in Canada (along with small parts of Maine). Oh, and instead of the US being “imperialist” it’s “experialist” as the land called the great Concavity (or Convexity, depending on your nationality prior to the formation of ONAN w/r/t the territory). Half of it is hypervegetated, and overrun with monstrous sized, skull-less babies. The other half is a barren wasteland, patrolled by rooming herds of feral hamsters. Seriously.

Also, in a move to create a more balanced budget, we move off the Roman calendar to Subsidized Time: corporate sponsored years. The years so far in the world of IJ are:

Year of the Whopper

Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad

Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar

Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken

Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishwasher

Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-to-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile (sic)

Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment (most of the book takes place in this year)

Year of Glad

So it goes to show—if you thought the budget problems we have now were bad…

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