‘Infinite Summer’ Category

Infinite Jest on patriotism, fanatics, love, attachments, and temples

July 4th, 2009

This seemed like an appropriate excerpt for 4th of July. Sorta.

Marathe had settled back on his bottom in the chair. ‘Your U.S.A. word for fanatic, “fanatic,” do they teach you it comes from the Latin for “temple”? It is meaning, literally, “worshipper at the temple.”‘

‘Oh Jesus now here we go again,’ Steeply said.

‘As, if you will give the permission, does this love you speak of, M. Tine’s grand love. It means only the attachment. Tine is attached, fanatically. Our attachments are our temple, what we worship, no? What we give ourselves to, what we invest with faith.’

Steeply made motions of weary familiarity. ‘Herrrrrre we go.’

Marathe ignored this. ‘Are we not all of us fanatics? I say only what you of the U.S.A. only pretend you do not know. Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose your attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.’

‘How are your wife and kids doing, up there, by the way?’

‘You of U.S.A.’s do not seem to believe you may each choose what to die for. Love of a woman, the sexual, it bends back in on the self, makes you narrow, maybe crazy. Choose with care. Love of your nation, your country and people, it enlarges the heart. Something bigger than the self.’

Steeply laid a hand between his misdirected breasts: ‘Ohh . . . Canada. . . . ‘

Marathe leaned again forward on his stumps. ‘Make amusement all you wish. But choose with care. You are what you love. No? You are, completely and only, what you would die for without, as you say, the thinking twice. You, M. Hugh Steeply: you would die without thinking for what?’

Marathe said, ‘This, is it not the choice of the most supreme importance? Who teaches your U.S.A. children how to choose their temple? What to love enough not to think two times?’

Steeply’s face had assumed the openly twisted sneering expression which he knew well Quebecers found repellent on Americans. ‘But you assume it’s always choice, conscious, decision. This isn’t just a little naive, Remy? You sit down with your little accountant’s ledger and soberly decide what to love? Always?’

‘The alternatives are –’

‘What if sometimes there is no choice about what to love? What if the temple comes to Mohammed? What if you just love? without deciding? You just do: you see her and in that instant are lost to sober account-keeping and cannot choose but to love?’

Page 106-108.

Happy independence day!

An Infinite Summer Spreadsheet

June 30th, 2009

Back in the day I used to do NaNoWriMo and in my need to record and analyze everything I created a popular NaNoWriMo Report Card that helped people track their progress on the long and fast road to 50,000 words in 30 days.

As soon as I started Infinite Jest with the Infinite Summer people (which was last night, by the way), I knew that I’d like to create a quick tool to see if I’m ahead or behind schedule.

Here’s what I came up with:

Infinite Summer Spreadsheet

Here’s a link to my Infinite Summer “template” spreadsheet in case you want a version of it.

It’s a Google Doc Spreadsheet, so if you want to use it for whatever reason, please copy or export it first. Copying it is recommended, however, since I think I used one Google-only formula (DAYS360) to calculate the number of days left until the end of the Infinite Summer (whatever that means).

Reading 11.29 pages a day all of a sudden doesn’t seem that difficult.

Plus, I’m loving the book so far.