Reach and Pull

Musings on Infinite Jest

Whew…time for more bemusing musings

with 6 comments

I’ve been rather desperate lately to disseminate what I consider to be a few master keys for unlocking the core of Infinite Jest.  I had forgotten that part of what I’d also intended to do on this blog was just babble about the book superficially, for shits and giggles.  So here, without further ado, are some songs off my iPod which I listened to intermittently while I devoured the book, and which I think would work well on any potential movie’s soundtrack:

  • Loved Despite of Great Faults by Blonde Redhead (as far as I’m concerned, the single most appropriate song for the book — it could make several appearances in the movie, accompanying many of the book’s relationships)
  • Frankie Sez by Phish (“orbits”, “circular”, “cycle”, “wheel”…really the entire lyrics are eerily suitable for IJ, maybe the second most appropriate song — from “Story of the Ghost”, an album which naturally has other good potential IJ songs)
  • Hey Chicken by Loose Fur (how is “I’m living rent free, in the back of your head” for an IJ line?)
  • Let Forever Be by The Chemical Brothers (reminds me…did anyone ask Gondry to direct IJ?)
  • Not Sport, Martial Art by Jim O’Rourke (another that could make repeat appearances, instrumental)
  • Insignificance by Jim O’Rourke (“everything that you felt was someone else giving you something”)
  • Les Yper-Sound by Stereolab (a fitting song for the ETA tournaments and separatist activity)
  • Le Voyage De Penelope by Air (a little more oomph than La Femme d’Argent, plus Odyssey tone)
  • Life in a Glass House by Radiohead (“someone’s listening”)
  • Street Spirit by Radiohead (beautiful song, relevant lyrics)
  • Nowhere Again by The Secret Machines (“erased”, etc.)
  • Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley (lol, pwn3d)
  • Aerodynamic by Daft Punk (for Lucien Antitoi’s call to arms?)
  • Spiders by Wilco (there’s plenty but…even just the title alone, right?)
  • On and On and On by Wilco (a little mushy, but…)
  • Smelling Cigarettes by The Fiery Furnaces (for the Ennet House?)
  • Animals by The Talking Heads (for Randy Lenz?)
  • Flying by The Beatles (various potential uses)
  • Water by The Beach Boys (how’s the water?)

Written by reachandpull

October 1, 2008 at 6:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I read the book to DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing….”. Recommended.

    deleted name

    October 1, 2008 at 11:17 am

  2. Got a new sound for @KenTremendous (Michael Schur) to consider for the soundtrack. “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. It may be suitable for a scene in which JOI materializes slowly next to Hal and/or Gately, then instantly appears on, well, a mountaintop. Then…”Swam all ah-CROSS…” he soars at breakneck impossible speed across, well, the ocean, blue. The benevolent counterpart to the Antitoi brother’s call-to-arms, perhaps. Then perhaps it sets the musical mood for Madame’s vigil at Gately’s bedside, with JOI manifesting there, too. Then maybe back to haunting Hal. And as the song ends, fading away.


    April 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  3. Here’s another: “Just Before Dawn” by Sonnymoon. It might work well for a Madame Psychosis section, like, say, a radio broadcast, or an experiment with Too Much Fun. The song’s beat could sync up nicely with her veil’s breath.

    Also, back to “The Story”, it would be a great mistake not to include shots of an AA meeting.

    “The Story” is one of the five six most fitting overall songs that I can personally think of.

    1. Loved Despite of Great Faults, by Blonde Redhead
    2. The Story, by Brandi Carlile
    3. Insignificance, by Jim O’Rourke
    4. Frankie Sez, by Phish
    5. Just Before Dawn, Sonnymoon
    6. Who Killed Tangerine?, by Tears for Fears
    (Hadn’t mentioned that last one yet… but it’s a no-brainer!!!!!)

    Not to mention the songs perfect for one or more individual elements.

    General AFR and ETA activity: Les Yper-Sound, by Stereolab
    Madame doing WYYY and Too Much Fun: Just Before Dawn, by Sonnymoon
    Antitoi’s wraithly call-to-arms: Aerodynamic, by Daft Punk


    April 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

  4. But, of course, to do any justice to these songs (and the book itself!), any film adaptation cannot just be a 3-hour feature for the theaters. It’s 2013, and many of our greatest cinematic narratives are about 10 to 20 times longer than that. Hence, Infinite Jest must be serialized. Perhaps as one huge 4-part 12-hour miniseries. Although I think the optimal format would be one season-long presentation on HBO or Showtime, 20-to-30 hours long. Perhaps, hmmm, 27 hours long, or 36. A nice multiple of 9. That way, songs can be played in full, unedited, unabridged, like the kind of music videos that the econo-cultural powers-that-be have seemingly decided to remove from the airwaves, depriving us of what I remember occasionally being miniature quasi-religious epiphanies, the magic of sight and harmony, harmonized. So, the 27 or 36 hour long season would provide the freedom to be musical, to invest in music. Also, you can show and say and do things on pay-cable that will not be allowed by the MPAA, and no one wants an Infinite Jest film that is neutered, purely adolescent, and twee. *coughSchurcough*

    p.s. Infinite Jest is not Catcher in the Rye, it’s (certainly!) not the Fountainhead, it’s not That Cool Book That You Read In Your Formative Years That Totally Shaped How You The Hip Consumer Would Unfold In Your Mature Years And Which You Now Look Back On With Nostalgia. No, because first of all, if you are still unfamiliar with this blog, then you probably have yet to even understand the core of the book, which should embarrass you. And so, it’s so far been a book for adults, but only read and misunderstood by children, children who may even be in their 20’s or 30’s or 40’s and may even have multiple advanced degrees from prestigious universities. Might as well still be confused 11-year-olds. Second, the book is not something you consume. No, it consumes you. It doesn’t exist just so that you, snotty suburban hipster, can grow, and then look back on the book fondly as a postmodern rite of passage. No, fuck you. The book exists to change the world, to change everyone, to change you now and tomorrow and not just back when you were young and curious and had enough time to invest in the book, badly digesting it, of course.


    April 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

  5. Holy christ, “Just Before Dawn” is soooooo PERFECT for Madame Psychosis, and the book generally. But especially, especially, especially her Too Much Fun adventures. The veil, the breath, would be so aptly reflected by the song’s opening. And how it seems to almost perfectly align with the dream theory. Hell, it even brings new ideas to mind, like, how the Mother Murder theory of metempsychosis is just…a dream philosophy, some mysterious secret key to understanding life that only really makes sense in the middle of a vigorous, most strange dream. And the idea that within the course of a single night’s sleep, we could live a thousand dream lives, die a thousand dream deaths, be continually reborn in one dream eternity after another, and then wake up. Perchance to dream! All fiction, is a kind of dream. “Here we are.” To say another way: “We’re in here.” What an incredibly poignant song. The part about being told you did okay, when your mind’s against you…many of us can relate, many of the book’s characters could relate, but…relating that to Wallace himself…touching. Just, wow. Thanks, Sonnymoon! Thank you, Miss Wise! I cannot imagine a better voice to whisper “And Lo…” Here’s thinking you have already read the book, and if not then…here’s hoping you will.

    Who will tell me when my day is through
    I will close my eyes
    When I’ve done enough

    When I’ve lived and died a thousand times
    The sun will rise
    When I do

    Just before dawn…
    Just before dawn
    Blue skies

    Here we are
    Who will be the first to go?
    Never had it cross my mind
    What goes on I’m scared to miss

    Any night
    You should have someone to hold
    Tell you that you did okay
    When your mind’s against you

    Just before dawn
    Blue skies
    Just before dawn
    Blue skies
    Blue skies


    April 12, 2013 at 5:04 am

  6. I’m in a good enough mood to propose another song, reserved for the credits, post-triumph: “Dirty Water”*, by The Standells. Lyrically, how is this not a suitably Jestian song? It so is. Like perfectly suited. “But it’s about Boston, so…too…specific.” Uhhh…maybe there’s a reason? You think you’ll find a real-life Pemulis anywhere but Boston? (By the way, you will find Pemulis in and around Southie, not Allston, although, okay, forgive me, maybe every neighborhood is capable of producing a Pemulis. But I grew up in Southie, Southie is my hometown. I knew more than a few Pemulises, more than a few Will Huntings. I am one, myself. Maybe there’s something in the water. Ah, you think I’m being paranoid. But…am I being paranoid enough?) If you cannot imagine Pemulis — if you think for one moment that Pemulis doesn’t adore “Dirty Water” (and the Red Sox, for that matter) and doesn’t put that beautiful shit on blast when he needs to be consoled, when he needs some courage…well, you’d be wrong. Again. I know. You don’t. People I know also know. People you revere as authorities to appeal to for verdicts in these kind of disputes, they don’t know. For example, did you know that Sean Kelly, the chair of Harvard’s philosophy department, is an arrogant retard? True story, lol! Cloaked in a well-tempered, cautious, minimalist version of maximalism, a veritable priest of head-spinning and head-up-own-ass dumbfuckery. A doctorate in that, I believe. And hilariously oblivious to it all, one would hope anyway. Gawd, how awful would it be, to be such a fraud and yet be fully aware of one’s own fraudulence. Thankfully, that will never be a problem for me. I sniff myself for bullshit regularly, and defying Sarah Silverman’s dictum I can indeed smell myself, and as you might be able to tell I have a world-class almost-foolproof perpetually-on bullshit-detecting-machine implanted in my head! (Metaphor alert! Just like the shit you all mistakenly think was literally implanted in JOI’s head…well, actually, I’m still open to that possibility. I might be wrong about that, and you might be right. See how easy that is?)

    *Fun anecdote: As a toddler, one of the recurring riddles I used to unsettle and tickle my family with was: “How do you get a cat to eat?” [How.] “You put its face in dirty water, hahahaha!” [LOL, wut?] Not the faintest fucking clue where that came from. Perhaps my little brain-core was already inhabited by toxoplasma or midi-chlorians or whatever, lol. The force was strong with this one. [Points thumbs inward.] At around the same time, I used to tell my family I was once a “Chinaman” in 1936, lmao. (Maybe I got that from the boob tube, totally likely.) When the song by Bette Midler, “The Rose”, was topping the charts, whenever it came on the radio, I would cry and actually sob. Like, hard. Immediately, and all throughout. I was, again, three. Three-year-olds cry, duh. But then when anyone ever tried to change the station to quickly put on some other song that wouldn’t make me cry and sob, I would only cry and sob even LOUDER! Me, at three, basically: “Must hear incredibly-sad but uplifting song! Do not change!” LOL. (Confession: It still makes me cry, to this day, every fucking time. I’m 35.) There’s more. One day, again when I was three, one of my earliest memories if not the earliest memory: I stupidly (I was three, though, lol) jammed a utensil into an electrical outlet when no one was looking, and holy shit did I get a buzz, and I then proceeded to watch the pure static on the closest television, for about 10 minutes straight, transfixed. Yes, pretty much exactly like the girl from Poltergeist, communing with the TV snow, or some such shit. True story. All of them: True stories. (Cool true stories, bro, lol!) I was a weird kid. Maybe it’s something I ate? Meh, enough about me. What’s your story?


    May 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

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