Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Somersaulting With Your Hand Nailed to the Ground

I titled this post the way I did because I wanted to talk a little bit about cycles. Specifically, it's beginning to hit home just how much of this book is about unsustainable cycles (I really want to call them "annular cycles" but that's redundancy since "annular", mainly, just means ring-like). Certainly any addiction is like that. A lot of other things fall into this category, though: Hal's development, while in some ways an addiction, can, I think, be better described as an unsustainable course of intellectual and athletic improvement. Steeply's Dad's addiction is also very cyclically destructive: it's based around the regular showing of M*A*S*H. On another level, the US's current political situation seemed to come out of the unsustainable cycle of American democracy. Basically, the same old elections/mismanagement kept dissatisfying everyone so they voted third party (& lived to regret it. Take that Green Party & Co!) & everything went downhill. Tennis, also, always comes back to the same place but eventually ends/is unsustainable (i.e. Every serve starts out at very similar position, & then there are sets so even more new positions). Finally, we can't, of course, neglect annular fusion which is a highly unstable cycle. There are more but I think this paragraph is getting too long. Thinking of a few circle images: tennis balls, wedding rings, wheelchair wheels.

I think the somersault w/hand nailed to the ground captures this pretty well: you're cycling (somersaulting) but your hand is nailed to the ground which will, presumably, break your cycle and result in some nasty consequences.

Entertainment destroys circles. Or, rather turns them into single points (circle w/radius = 0?).

A few (more) words on Steeply's Pa: His addiction really mirrors "Marijuana Think" in that he becomes broadly interpretative/abstract about something dumb & then ceases to be able to function. Ah, the quandries of being too intellectual: you can justify anything (as we've seen). Further, he loses the barrier between actor/character in a way somewhat similar to the loss of distinction between conscious and unconscious needs for addiction. (Also, there's the impossiblystuck metaphor)

Also, I was wondering if this was supposed to be slightly self-referential (what isn't?) in the following way: Steeply's Dad basically finds really weird symbology in M*A*S*H because there's SO MUCH of it. Just like you can find interesting sentences in the Bible/Moby Dick/any long work by looking at every nth letter. Is DFW making a slight jab at himself/IJ/us? (i.e. You think there are so many themes, but really this book is just REALLY REALLY LONG).

Oh, & Steeply's Da was right about the new type of time (subsidized!!). Eerie...

A bit on the Incandezas. First of all, a lot is randomly dropped by the section semi-narrated by Steeply (I presume) about the tennis match. First, JOI is definitely the director of Entertainment. Second, Steeply is NOT that pretty (according to Hal). What's up with Orin's taste? What does this say about JVD? Oh, speaking of which, I forget where this was dropped but she was disfigured. Why the Acteon (sp?) syndrome, then? This gets odder still as she still seems to believe that she's really, really gorgeous (her face). Does she know/is she in denial?

More evidence is also given w/r/t Orin's good lovin'. In addition to the liking women with children, Bain gives us pretty solid evidence that Orin is basically just passing on the bad treatment of his mother to his Subjects (i.e. Too much lovin'. Too Much Fun, perhaps? Which was how JVD tried to kill herself... hm.). Not 100% sure how I think this connects back to Avril/J'NR'W being together, but, again, it's clear that Avril needs to feel REALLY good about herself.

In terms of Orin/JVD's breakup, we're given a little tidbit in note 269 (3e) (pg. 1047). The first paragraph of (3e) seems like the BS reason (Bain indicates his doubts & we know that Orin knew that JVD & JOI weren't together). The "fact", however, refers, I think, to a section way back when where Orin writes the name of Avril's lover in the fogged window. It then reappears when JOI is driving and he figures out what's happened/that Avril is cheating on him. (Uncle CT seems a likely candidate for this person, although who knows) I'm not sure exactly how that works out, though. Perhaps it's some chain event (an "incident" is mentioned). Thoughts?

Odds and Ends:

Mario's disease about not being able to feel pain seems to mirror his mental (dis)abilities quite well.

The Canadian Resistance (sans the AFR), is really... well... not that great. There's Lucien & his friend who are pathetic, the guys who get beat up by a bunch of (ex?)-addicts, their leader is killed by a stuffy nose... etc. Gately seems to be single-handedly taking down the Canadian Resistance!

Lenz is, ironically, saved (from Gately's wrath) because some people come to try to kill him.

Why are things disappearing at ETA? Is this connected to Steeply/AFR?

Why does Marathe never think Steeply is being frank? Does he overinterpret just like Steeply's Dad/addicts?

"Saprogenic" (as in "Saprogenic Greetings") = to promote decay. Heh.


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