Sunday, December 28, 2008

Also interesting DFW things

A DFW piece in the Atlantic.

And the Subject's snarky response published after DFW died.


"The entrance says EXIT. There isn't an exit."

Tim's post on Maya Deren and meshes made me revisit this line from the telling of JvD's last party night. I remember talking about this during book club, but this line made me think of the ending of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. As noted in the wikipedia for AP:

"The incipit of the book has Bateman staring at a graffiti on a Chemical Bank building, reading Abandon all hope ye who enter here; this phrase appears over the gates of hell in the Divine Comedy. The book ends with a scene similar to its beginning, as Bateman sits in a bar, staring at a sign that reads "THIS IS NOT AN EXIT" ; a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit. The opening and closing phrases summarize Bateman's life as a living hell he cannot escape."

Is DFW referencing Sartre or Ellis? or Both? or Neither? It seems as likely any of the three.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Partial Geography

Please comment if you have additional I.J.-Boston locations.

1. Antitoi Entertainment, Inman Sq. (p.480, not real)
2. Ryle's Jazz Club (p.479)
3. "Cambridge Theatre Company that seemed to do only German plays" [a.k.a. the A.R.T.] (p.18-19)
4. Live Poultry Fresh Killed (p.479)
5. Blanchard's Liquors in Allston (p.546)
6. Marlborough st. art gallery (p.23)
7. Brighton Projects (p.38, 130, 131) [Charlesview apartments at Harvard+Western Ave in Brighton?]
8. Winchester High School (p.39, [Mildred Bonk + Bruce Green's h.s.])
9. Mount Auburn Club (West Watertown, p.34) [wow... it really exists]
10. Newton-Wellesley Hospital (p.69 [Gompert gets electrochock therapy there, also, incidentally, I was born there])
11. Steve's Donuts in Enfield Square (p.129 [I thought it was Steve's Bakery in Somerville but then they go on to say hang out in Enfield Enfield or Allston, p.131])
12. Bow+Arrow Pub, Harvard Sq (p.129) [c.f. "do you like apples"]
13. CVS in Central Square (p.129)
14. Cheap-O records (central square) (p.129)
15. Hung Toys, Chinatown (fictional, but definitely sex shops in C-town, p.132)
16. "hot air blowergrate we use at nite at the library behind the Copley Squar...behind the brickworks behind the bush by the hot blowergrate" (p.133)
17. Dwayne R. Glynn, 176N Faneuil Blvd, Stoneham, MA (no Faneuil blvd in Stoneham, p.139)
18. Enfield: best geography given p.240-242, "arm-shape extending north from Comm Ave and separating Brighton into Upper and Lower, elbow nudging East Newton's ribs and its fist sunk into Allston" [then a long list of businesses that I'm not going to google right now] "...ETA hilltop overlooking on one side, east, historic Comm Ave's acclivated migration out of the squalor of Lower Brighton --...the huge and brooding Brighton Project high-rises with three-story-high orange ID-numerals on the sides [c.f. #7]...quarter-hourly trundle and ding of the Green Line train's labor up the Ave.'s long rise to Boston College...from both the north and northeast tree-lines ETA looks down its hill's steepest, best-planted decline into the complexly decaying grounds of Enfield Marine."
19. The Globe's map of Joelle's foot journey is good, but for the record: "wet walk here from Red Line's Downtown stop, walking the whole way from East Charles St...approaches boston common...a store 24...common's south edge is Boylston St...boylston st east means she pases statue of boston's colonel shaw and th eMA 54th...raised sword illicitly draped in a large Quebecois fleur-de-lis flag [by the Antitoi, ~487]...f.a.o. schwartz [where the weird tape dispenser statue is located]...along Upper Brighton and the cooperative Back Bay-edge brownstone" (p. 224-227)
20. "Bogart's in Porter Sq." (non-existent, p.20)
21. MIT student union (p.186-187)

My dad has two pretty good suggestions: first, he pointed out that the Longwood Cricket Club (google: "The Longwood Cricket Club may not be the oldest tennis club in the nation, but it continues to lure the best professional competition in the state...") is right in the area that we identified as potential ETA territory.

Second, he made the assertion that "___ Spur" always referred to a neighborhood around a spur in the railroad, not the highway, though made no suggestions about potential railroad spurs in Allston. He did say that the area east of Harvard Ave on Comm Ave used to be a pretty bad neighborhood (though I think that's more Brighton...). You can see the railroad tracks on google maps, if that helps. When Erdedy's buying pot on p.18, he buys it from a woman who "said she knew a guy just over the river in Allston who sold high-resin dope in moderate bulk," and that guy is most definitely the dude with the hairlip.

Film references

On p. 185, Mdme. Psychosis is said to give thumbs "-down on Deren/Hammid" and then on p.222, on J.v.D.'s walk home, her internal monologue goes: "What looks like the cage's exit is actually the bars of the cage. The afternoon's meshes. The entrance says EXIT. There isn't an exit. The ultimate annular fusion: that of exhibit and its cage." (emphasis mine). Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's Meshes of the Afternoon, in two parts, included below:

Outlines, 489-538

spoiler alert.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I think somebody's created the Entertainment in the form of a blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Cages

"According to some accounts, Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, 'Henry, what are you doing in there?' Thoreau replied, 'Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?'”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DFW doesn't know his anatomy?

In reading the section w/ the AFR's impaling of Lucien w/ his beloved broom it bothered me that DFW might have describe an anatomic impossibility.

"... and as the culcate handle navigates the inguinal canal and sigmoid with a queer deep full hot tickle and with a grunt and shove completes its passage and forms an obscene erectile bulge in the back of his red sopped jons..."

So in my mind's eye the broom navigates, from top to bottom, Lucien's mouth, esophagus, stomach (maybe) and at some point punctures his stomach traveling through his abdominal cavity and probably puncturing all sorts of things (intestines, colons, etc) and then finally sort of penetrating out of his back side/anus region. The sigmoid, assuming he means the sigmoid colon (the only anatomical sigmoid I've learned so far) part makes sense, it's the last part of the colon before it becomes the rectum and then anus and it's located in the posterior region of the abdominal cavity, but the inguinal canal is in the anterior region of the abdomen, it's the canal that the arteries, veins and vas deferens (as well as the cremaster muscle) travel through to reach the scrotum/testes. There's really now way that a straight line could be drawn between the terminus of the esophagus, the inguinal canal and the sigmoid colon.

Cool, but unhelpful anatomical textbook images Below.

Oh well, maybe I'll actually learn all the drugs he talks about at some point too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tennis - Federer

Since we've talked about it a little bit. Here's a link to DFW's Federer article.

and a Roger Federer Youtube.

Not IJ-related, but tennis related and one of my favorite Hitchcock moments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New work from DFW??

"Before his death, Wallace agreed to donate a portion of a larger work ("An Untitled Chunk") along with first publishing rights, to the students of Chaffey College, allowing us to print it in the first edition of our literary magazine. The magazine is being published this January and is the only available printing of this piece. Our contract with Wallace's family and agent dictates that we cannot publish any portion of the piece online, nor in any other publication, so this is truly a unique opportunity."


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Civil Experialism*

Enfield, MA - it was a real place. Now it's under the Quabbin Reservoir.
"Before the reservoir’s construction, there was a hill in Enfield called Quabbin Hill....When the buildings in the towns flooded by the reservoir were destroyed, the cellars were left intact. The remnants of the buildings and roads can occasionally be seen when the water level is low, and old roads that once led to the flooded towns can be followed to the water's edge."

*term coinage by Tim.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Map of Boston

Borges on Maps (and thereby the Eschaton)

Of Exactitude in Science

...In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography.

From Travels of Praiseworthy Men (1658) by J. A. Suarez Miranda

also see, e.g. Jean Baudrillard "Simulation and Simulacra" ("In the society of simulation, identities are constructed by the appropriation of images, and codes and models determine how individuals perceive themselves and relate to other people. Economics, politics, social life, and culture are all governed by the mode of simulation, whereby codes and models determine how goods are consumed and used, politics unfold, culture is produced and consumed, and everyday life is lived. ")

The 12 Steps

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.