The Attack of the Killer Novel
Just finished Infinite Jest. Seriously, JUST now, it’s sitting next to me at the desk. Dense. Impossible at times. Joyously detailed at others. Laugh-out-loud funny, as it had better be if it’s going to be 1068 pages, counting footnotes.
I’m exhausted and confused. The ending baffled me - the book seemed to trail off, put some characters into non-linear peril and then just stop. Just as David Foster Wallace sort of trailed off, worked on another novel and then just stopped, a suicide at 46. This wasn’t his last book - there are some essay collections- but it’s his last completed novel. Is there something in this thick volume that renders the world just so banal that you cannot carry on? There is a part of me that isn’t quite sure what to do with my newfound free time. I fear it will involve a lot of mystery novels, with raised type on their covers.
Luckily, the internet is right there, and if you type in “infinite jest analysis” you are carried to a series of resources, some more helpful than others, but there’s a thoughtful piece that draws your eyes to the links that carry over the tomes massive girth, that are easy to miss if you’ve got two kids and a writing career that kept you very busy over the past few months so maybe don’t judge me i’ve been busy. Here’s the link for Here’s What Happens at the end of Infinite Jest.
But now for more bad news: the author of the above post? Aaron Swartz.
“If the deficit was actually something anybody cared about, they'd be interested in raising revenue. You don't have to raise tax rates to raise revenue, you just have to increase the number of goddamn jobs.”—Duncan Black aka Eschaton, on jobs, revenue, and the deficit.
As Gwen Ifill was being all serious person last night talking to and asking the tough questions of Jack Lew on why he won’t just admit that Social Security must be eliminated, preferably today if we as a nation are to survive, I found myself jumping up and down screaming “revenue, revenue, revenue.” It was a special Valentine’s Day moment for the wife. But: revenue. It’s a word that never, ever comes up in the MSM. Instead, they have laserlike focus on the elimination of Social Security, the one entitlement that is perfectly fine for 40+ years, and then only moderately not fine after that. But they aren’t likely to depend on it, so it has to go. Medicare? Well, not so much. They see a real benefit for themselves in that one.
This is why Our Republic is coming apart at the seams.
“Never. Is never good enough for you?”—Nancy Pelosi on when the Democratic plan to destroy Social Security would be introduced. This is the sort of Democrat we need a whole lot more of.
And, as Atrios notes, the Bush administration hadn’t yet even offered their plan and wouldn’t, really, until after the whole thing was effectively dead. They were, in fact, counting on that Defeatocratic impulse to get out there and co-own a truly terrible idea just because the Serious People wanted them to. For once, they didn’t do it. That’s true leadership.