Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Opposites Attract

I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately. I find the stream-of-consciousness-ness fascinating. Like a direct line to someone's brain. Some of it is drivel, but much is fun or thought provoking. (It could happen.)

I read somewhere that some know-it-all was declaring Twitter is an indication of our inability to concentrate and our need for instant gratification. I beg to differ. Tweeting can force one to be brief, more haiku than leftover brain waste. I also disagree on the grounds that I started to use Twitter while reading the most densely packed novels around; Wallace's Infinite Jest. I've referred to it here.

I finished IJ yesterday and feel a mild sense of loss at no longer having it to keep me company. The storylines are dark and the conclusions initially unsatisfying. But I'm convinced there is deeper meaning there for me if I take the time to ponder. I couldn't sleep at 3:00 this moring and thought that thinking about IJ would put me back to sleep. It did not. Quite the contrary -- it kept me up until it was time to go to work.

The book was written some 13 years ago and it predicts our day with unsettling accuracy. I suppose it wasn't too hard to see our present coming. I can by no means do a real review of this book, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I suspect that most people who read this (assuming that most of my readers are members of my family) will not be able to tolerate some of the darker themes of this book. So I'm not recommending it, but if you do read it, treat the footnotes like part of the plot. Don't skip them. Don't skip anything in fact. Some passages start out with abundant tedium, but the journey is well described and often nicely concluded. Don't expect the final conclusion to tie off loose ends. Be persistent and enjoy DFW's mastery of the craft of writing.

If you have read it, please let me know. I'd love to get your thoughts on Don Gately, the P.G.O.A.T., the cause of Hal's condition, and more.

Oh, and lastly, two thoughts from IJ that I hope will stick with me for a long time: 1) Building a wall around the day, and 2) You're not competing with the other guy. You're competing within the constraints of the game and your own ability to master yourself in the face of those constraints. The other guy is your partner in that pursuit.

That is all.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Gramma Cyddie said...

That makes me think of a similar thought. Though I find it empowering to remember that I am loved infinitely and personally by a loving Father in Heaven and therefore he will assist me and I have value, He also loves that other person who is causing me grief!
Thanks for the review!

Friday, March 27, 2009 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Stine said...

I loved his "A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again" essay about cruises. I'll have to give Infinite Jest some consideration. I'm feeling too escapist at the moment, but I know a dose of reality is coming.

Monday, March 30, 2009 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger mandi said...

Is there a twitter version of IJ?

Thursday, April 02, 2009 1:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshi Moshi McBride. Do not know exactly how I found your blog....a link to a link to a link from somewhere. You and family look well. Probably won't read IJ, my job slaps me around with realty far too much. Got winded just reading your spin cycling routine. Lived in Palo Alto, CA for years and currently live in Tremonton, Utah and see Jason Burnett occasionally at the produce section at Kents. Yes, I know Palo Alto, CA and Tremonton, Ut are Polar opposites.

Take Care,
Ted Smith

Saturday, April 04, 2009 2:32:00 PM  

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