Hal, who’s empty but not dumb, theorizes privately that what passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as he conceptualises it) is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic, is to be in some basic interior way forever infantile, some sort of not-quite-right-looking infant dragging itself anaclitically around the map, with big wet eyes and froggy-soft skin, huge skull, gooey drool. One of the most American things about Hal, probably, is the way he despises what it is he’s really lonely for: this hideous internal self, incontinent of sentiment and need, that pules and writhes just under the hip empty mask, anhedonia.
“Like most North Americans of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he’s devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves. It’s hard to say for sure whether this is even exceptionally bad, this tendency.”
It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their entire lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately - the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person. Something pathetic about it. A flight-from in the form of a plunging-into. Flight from exactly what? These rooms blandly filled with excrement and meat? To what purpose?
Hal Incandenza, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Hal, who’s empty but not dumb, theorizes privately that what passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as he conceptualizes it) is probably to be unavoidable sentimental and naive and goo-prone and generally pathetic.
a cold day in a warm climate a mix for the students of enfield tennis academy
1. “king of the beach” // wavves 2. “is this it” // the strokes 3. “a day without me” // U2 4. “rock the casbah” // the clash 5. “the reeling” // passion pit 6. “the fear” // ben howard 7. “i don’t want love” // the antlers 8. “comeback kid” // sleigh bells 9. “sabotage” // beastie boys 10. “sleepyhead/kids” // mgmt/passion pit 11. “how it starts” // the features 12. “on melancholy hill” // gorillaz 13. “shape shifter” // local natives 14. “a rush of blood to the head" // coldplay 15. “the card cheat” // the clash 16. “high and dry” // radiohead 17. “mt. washington” // local natives 18. “swimmer” // caroline 19. “blue ridge mountains" // fleet foxes 20. “talk” // coldplay
Hal Incandenza has an almost obsessive dislike for deLint, whom he tells Mario he sometimes cannot quite believe is even real, and tries to get to the side of, to see whether deLint has a true z coordinate or is just a cutout or projection.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest.
“a true z coordinate”, hahaha, oh god, I am so in love with this book.
No one who talks about God can have experienced God’s Love, [Marguerite Porete] asserts, because such Love “takes away absolutely the practice of telling.” She reinforces this point later by arguing that, once a soul has experienced divine Love, no one but God ever understands that soul again.
Anne Carson, “How Women Like Sappho, Marguerite Porete and Simone Weil Tell God”
holy shit HAL HAL HAL HAL HAL this makes so much sense
The Whataburger Southwest Junior Invitational is a major event on the junior tennis tour. For the top players at Enfield Tennis Academy, “The Whataburger” is quite a source of anticipation. The event is held annually in Tucson, AZ.
Whataburger is a regional, real world brand, although I had never heard of it until I moved to Phoenix, AZ. It has a charming, distinctive and old fashioned logo. Whataburger operates fast food restaurants mostly in the southern parts of the United States. There are currently six Whataburger locations in the Tucson area, where parts of the novel take place. On a personal note, as fast food goes, I find Whataburger to be well below average, with their stale buns and wimpy fries, although they are open 24 hours and there is one within walking distance of my house, which probably explains my repeated patronage.
In the real world I can’t find any evidence that Whataburger has ever sponsored a junior tennis event, although I did find that in 2004 they sponsored a college track meet in San Antonio, TX.
The location for the Whataburger Southwest Junior Tennis Invitational, The Randolph Tennis Center, is mentioned early in the novel, during Hal’s interview at the University of Arizona. This is a real location, which can be viewed here.
I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I
281. This had been one of Hal’s deepest and most pregnant abstractions, one he’d come up with once while getting secretely high in the Pump Room. That we’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that he goes around feeling like he misses somebody he’s never even met?
I was at Target and wearing my Enfield Tennis Academy sweatshirt and this mid-thirties-looking man sidles up to me and goes “Hal? My gosh I didn’t recognize you! You’re so much cuter than the book described you!” and I just squinted and kind of let out my breath in a hiss and he laughed because I think he thought I was referencing Hal’s speaking condition but really I had nothing but all-encompassing, thought-smothering hate in my heart