Year of Glad – Mario Incandenza’s 1st and Only…

It was a mistake not to slog through James O. Incandenza’s filmography because the sillyly titled films and documentaries shed light on some things that wouldn’t otherwise make sense if you skipped the longest, most patient-testing footnote you ever read that is David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Not to be reductionist about JO Incandenza but he seems to me the David Foster Wallace alter-ego: killed self at 54 (JO), a genius who had plenty of unfinished work, and with a family that seemed to function unretardedly, in short, not the type of family that Jonathan Franzen or Wes Anderson would make subjects out of. Ok, it’s a little reductionist and shallow but I’m only through the first hundred pages. It’s slogging made flesh, as an ETAer  would put it, but in parts a barrel of monkey’s worth of fun, indeed – Dave Eggers. And then I got to the Kate Gompert part where she had this to say:

‘I think there must be probably different types of suicides. I’m not one of the self-hating ones. The type of like “I’m shit and the world’d be better off without poor me” type that says that but also imagines what everybody’ll say at their funeral. I’ve met types like that on wards. Poor-me-I-hate-me-punish-me-come-to-my-funeral. Then they show you a 20 X 25 glossy of their dead cat. It’s all self-pity bullshit. It’s bullshit. I didn’t have any special grudges. I didn’t fail an exam or get dumped by anybody. All these types. Hurt themselves.’

It helps to have an e-book of this so that if you feel like Kate Gompert, you can just copy and paste and announce fancily. So David is Kate Gompert, probably.

It’s not a very practical pursuit to try and reread something this big, a thousand-paged novel with lots and lots of fun footnotes all around. But I want to advance my once lost cause and I now have reading buddy who I’ll depend on to correct some of my perceptions about how certain scenes are actually not. And I know just how boring it is to hear about someone tell about the rereading of a book as if it’s a trek in the mountains. But if anything, reading Infinite Jest makes of you a person who would say things like happification, etc. In short, it’s worth it and also it’s nothing because in the end it’s just a book. And also, says someone who went through it already, it might take a whole season to finish it and summer’s just the right season for despairing over certain unattainables (undamaged scalp, a drop in the temperature, great looking torso) so it’s complementary reading. And it’s forgivable to think that this might be a means to ‘squander an insatiable need to advance some impression of himself,’ (myself, yourself) by picking this book up again.

So far, it’s the ETA tennis boys bitching about the tennis academy in the locker rooms and afterward in the viewing rooms where some boys wish they were tennis racketing their buddies in the head just because one finds another one inexplicably repulsive. What they actually do is they bitch for you. The bitching in the locker room routine is a masquerade. It is bitching about life not tennis. And while I already hate being simplistic about anything that is ever contained in this book, that is how it seems to me plainly put.

DFW has so far described how he may felt about his own depression but to link these similarities to his characters is kind of lazy because unlike your average depressive, say Elizabeth Wurtzel who would just say “I’m depressed’, Wallace conjures a multitude of people who would speak all the ways that he thought of how he’s had enough, even though that’s too presumptuous a presumption. He sets up an enormous backdrop, gets these depressives from anywhere in the book, and sticks them in like a glue in between that holds the so far Incandenza’s and the ETA boys’ narrative being the one that seem to go somewhere.

I stop for now at Mario Incandenza’s First And Only Even Remotely Romantic Experience Thus Far. Mario from what I recall is an interesting boy but maybe not as much as Hal who would beat Mario at a how many cutting, witty things can you say in a conversation contest, but I’m thinking Mario’s bound to get even weirder. There’s no logic so far to the sequence and I have yet to grasp the Years. No clue as to what could possibly be meant by the year of the depend adult undergarment which sounded from the moment I read it intriguing and usable. There’s just so much in here. Book is lovable so far.

3 thoughts on “Year of Glad – Mario Incandenza’s 1st and Only…

  1. “And it’s forgivable to think that this might be a means to ‘squander an insatiable need to advance some impression of himself,’ (myself, yourself) by picking this book up again.”

    But what if you want to look smart, (or pretentious)? Then this is the perfect tool to do so. Hehe. I’ve been kind of wary to read it on the train lest people think who’s this smartass? Though I did try last night on the bus but I couldn’t find the perfect position so I just gave up. 😀

    Nothing much to comment on the post; not that much to update either. I’m at around page 140+, slowed down a bit since I went back to internship duties this week.

    And about ascribing most things to his depression/subsequent suicide, many DFW purists think that that’s pretty much giving him short shrift for the real genius in his writing. Though I have to admit that I also can’t help it coloring my views of the book. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to consider it yet another aspect of this massive sprawl of a book. 🙂


  2. i forgot to say i really liked mario’s 1st and only even remotely romantic experience, thus far. it was just so perfectly awkwardly sweet. and, i love love the corrections. 😀


  3. i know, it’s too easy to think that everyone here’s the dfw character and i agree w/the kotke guy who said it’s an injustice to his work to think that ohmygod kate gompert is dfw but how else to see the eloquence in that sort of manifesto but that. oh well, 1st hundred pages still. hehe. i have to slow down too but maybe try to get through the first half by end of june.

    i never read it in public transpo either because it’s just too pretentious even for me hehe. besides it’s not healthy.

    i love the corrections too, his other stuff not so much. he was friends w/dfw pala. interesting.


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