Week Six – Pages 343*- 430 (endnotes 141 – 174)
This week we attend a dark and brutal AA meeting, learn about the birth of O.N.A.N through Mario’s Interdependence Day film screening, follow the growth of Inter-Lace, and talk pea soup with Marathe and Steeply.
We go out to a White Flag AA Meeting
*I adjusted the reading schedule last week to keep the Boston AA section intact, and I am really glad we did that. For thirty-six pages I was sitting in one of those metal chairs, right in the front row next to Gately, truly feeling the howling fantods listening to the speakers as they went on their Commitments. Needless to say, the stories of It and the baby with a serious bio-viability problem were horrifying and heartbreaking, (and oh my god there were children there listening!). And the story of John L.’s bowel movement was hilarious.
I was completely engaged by the description of how exactly AA works, according to Gately. The process of Identifying, the trite slogans that you fight against in their seeming meaninglessness, the bottom that is hit, or rather the cliff that you are ready to fall off of, when you finally Come In, face hanging down around your knees, the support the crocodiles, with their geologic amounts of sober time, offer. My heart is definitely with Gately and the Ennet House residents.
We spend Interdependence Day (post Eschaton) watching Mario’s puppet-filled tale of O.N.A.N.
Like the highly adaptable Eschaton game (see last week’s Decemberists video), I would love to see someone take a stab at recreating Mario’s film. The script is right there, all laid out! The history of O.N.A.N. as told through headlines is one of my favourite parts of this section (I love how we also follow the failing career of a nameless drug-addled headline writer).
Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner, has come to power with a sweeping victory for the Clean U.S. Party. He has nullified NATO, named himself chief of newly configured O.N.A.N, strong arming Canada to join. It seems Mexico came along fairly willingly. Luria P seems to be the brains behind the ‘gifting’ of much of the now highly-toxic northeastern US to Canada “Allow me to illustrate what Lur – just what the president means.” (p. 403). Intrigue! Why would a Quebecker want that? I am sensing a double agent thang going on between Luria and Rodney Tine.
Hal’s seventh grade paper sheds light on InterLace and Subsidized time, with the failure of network television, the success of Viney and Veals advertising agency (Nunhagen Asprin! NoCoat tongue scrapers! Johnny Gentle’s campaign!) – didn’t Erdedy work for V & V? – and Noreen Lace-Forche’s fiber optic pulse, satellite and 4.8 mb diskette service. Basically Netflix, but with news and sports. InterLace is firmly in the Gentle administration’s pocket if headlines are to be believed (p. 392).
Lyle is licking kids and handing out advice
The guru helps LaMont Chu understand the double-bind of fame, and gives advice to Ortho about his moving bed, as well as a supporting story about the man who didn’t underestimate his chair.
A few of JOI’s films are expounded on
Two of Incandenzas’ ‘anticonfluential’ films (“characterized by a stubborn and possibly irrationally irritating refusal of different narrative lines to merge into any kind of meaningful confluence” – e. 61), Medusa and Odalisque and The Joke are given extended descriptions. The description of the audience in The Joke hit a little close to home for me J.
Eric Clipperton, Suicidal Tennis Player
The rest of Clipperton’s story will come next week. We know the film of his suicide is likely buried in JOI’s grave along with Infinite Jest V. Mario crafts a parodic scenario of Johnny Gentle being “willing to eliminate own map out of sheer pique” in reference to Clipperton’s penchant for playing tennis while holding a Glock to his temple.
What would you do for a single serving of Habitant?
Steeply tries to understand why exactly the AFR, with seemingly with no political motivation are so set on causing extreme chaos and death to U.S. citizens. Marathe doesn’t really answer Steeply, but instead counters with his parable of the can of soup, trying to get Steeply to admit that Americans are controlled by self-interest? This section is interesting, because neither agent really succeeds in making his point, or getting the information they are seeking. We are however privy to a detailed description of how ugly Steeply’s feet are.