Reach and Pull

Musings on Infinite Jest

Let’s cut the shit, time to spell it out

with 2 comments

From the message board for a reality baseball league:

Okay, so, I figure you might have posted that to remind me of the “real” reasons why DFW killed himself, to ground me in the “reality” of his lifelong depression and his desperate attempts to remain alive.  Mind you, part of my view on it is that he never would have made those attempts, he would have killed himself a long time ago, if someone had only realized and expressed publicly the observation that Lyle is a wraith, and all the corollary ideas of that observation.

Here, I’m tired of beating around the Bush, I think the clock is ticking loud enough to just spill my opinion as bluntly as possible:  I was one of those who at first prayed that DFW had left a suicide note, and wondered if he had left the greatest suicide note ever written, one loaded with footnotes per usual.  Answer:  He did.  Even though he wrote some stuff after Infinite Jest, mostly non-fiction short stuff…Infinite Jest is basically the last thing he ever wrote.  Infinite Jest is DFW’s suicide note, and moreover:  He knew it when he wrote it.  It is, in fact, the greatest suicide note ever written.

Now, secondly, to give you an idea of why I think he killed himself:  Realize that JOI committed suicide not merely because he was depressed, but because [i]he felt the overwhelming need to become a wraith[/i].  He knew about wraithhood before he died.  He knew Lyle well, and Lyle was a wraith.  Are you catching on yet?  DFW killed himself to become a wraith.  Infinite Jest isn’t just a playground for his imagination, it is a “secular” scripture of sorts, and I am 100% sure DFW believed — in his real life — in the existence of wraithhood.  He killed himself in order to help us the same way JOI killed himself in order to help Hal.  JOI tried to help Hal while he was alive, tried to penetrate Hal’s solipcism with film after film after film.  Only wraithhood, the last resort, gave JOI the power to finally reach Hal and pull Hal out of himself.  What do you think…if he is still around, if his conjecture wasn’t off…what do you think DFW is doing right now?

Does all that sound crazy?  Yes.  Does it matter how it sounds?

I’m going to post this on the blog, because it needs saying.  The time for cryptic didacticism is over, there’s almost certainly no time left for it, for us.  It’s time to spell shit out as clearly as possible, regardless of how fucking bizarre it might appear at first.


Written by reachandpull

September 26, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. You are reaching and pulling something fierce here. Crazy, yes, but a bold direction to strike out in, especially with such assurance. Scripture… hmmm.

    Who, I wonder, would have been the Lyle to DFW’s JOI?


    October 1, 2008 at 6:07 am

  2. Not sure why I hadn’t replied to your comment before.
    Probably shame. Shame in my manic daemon. Ugh.

    Hmmm. Jesus? Shakespeare? Wittengstein?
    Socrates? (Diotima?) Nietzsche? Zhuangzi?
    All of the above? Someone more recent?
    A relative or friend or mentor, perhaps?

    We’ll probably never know, now.
    And, of course, it’s just fanciful speculation.



    April 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

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