Thursday, February 5, 2015

If I posted daily, what would it avail?  Something, I'm sure.

I'm rereading Infinite Jest, which gains significantly on a second pass-through.  Wish I could talk it over with another serious reader--especially the relation between the opening vignette (Hal in Arizona, interviewing for a tennis scholarship at ASU--but wigged out, unable to speak, and making intriguing allusions, in his ((incommunicable)) thoughts to the activities that have occurred between the start of this vignette and the end of the actions detailed in the remaining 1000 pages).

Specifically, what I wonder about--a lot--are the references to a) Gately helping Hal dig up the grave of his father (presumably to search for the "Entertainment"--at the armed behest of the Wheelchair Terrorists) b) the fate of Pemulis and c) the fate of Orin (who, seemingly, at the end of the main action of the novel, is being tortured to death by the Wheelchair guys).

At least ten other questions that I've now forgotten. I don't know what to make of it all, this book.  I mean...that's unsatisfactory.  And you know what really slows down my blogging?  How terribly responsive this keyboard is, I mean the keyboard at my desktop.  It's just typo after typo, b/c I tend to like to, you know, really slam away at these keys.  And with this thing, it's like, you breathe on it, and there's nine lines of type.  GRR.

 My sort of tentative conclusion--which is sadly empty in many ways--is that DFW, while a man of great and preternatural intelligence, was a man of only mediocre (to sub-mediocre) wisdom.  On the axis of which difference I may locate my entire aesthetic biases, philosophy, and interest.

And thinking too of King Lear, which I saw a BBC doc on last night (narrated by the intellectually unimpressive Christopher Plummer).  The great line--which I won't look up and so will probably slightly misquote--"thou should'st have been wise before thou was old."  This sometimes absent (often absent?) relationship between age and wisdom... this is a key thing, for me.

Who are the great artists of old age? Beckett and Yeats are the first two I think of--and of course the Shakespeare of Lear.  Impossible not to find similarities between Lear and the fool, ranting at each other on the heath, and the Beckett of, say, Endgame.