“Infinite” Has a Finite Meaning

Shut up. Sit down. Uncle Rob has finished Infinite Jest, and is tired of hearing your whimpering about the ending and the whimpering about “What does it all mean?” So settle in. Pour yourself a drink. And listen to the guy who went to a shitty college and didn’t get an English degree explain the structure to you so you can dazzle hipsters and have a depressing and unfulfilling sexual experience. Like every other night.

Are you sitting comfortably, you no-reading-comprehension douchebags? Excellent. I’ll keep this short, since I have, as every night I spent reading this excellent book, been drinking, and yet still understand the structure and ending of this book better than you do.

Okay: so you didn’t like the ending of Infinite Jest? That’s because you are a fucking moron, because the book has no end. That scene with Gately on the beach? That’s just a scene. Where if you have any brains in your everfucking head, you say, “What the fuck?” and go back to the table of contents, and realize that the first chapter, set in the Year of Glad, takes place after anything that happens in later chapters in the book.

So it you’re smart, you loop back to the beginning, and immediately start seeing details that, over the course of a thousand or so pages, you forgot didn’t make any sense at all the first time you read it. And on the second read, you start seeing things from your first complete read that you ignored the first time around because (duh) they didn’t make any sense. You get more from the book the second loop through.

So you continue reading through the book again, and the next thing you know, you’re recursively looping through the book, picking up details you didn’t get the last time through.

You know how people who saw the actual Infinite Jest cartridge in the book put it on an infinite loop, constantly going back to the beginning to experience it anew again and again? Yeah. Wallace wrote phrases like “howling fantods;” you think he put in the recursive viewing of the cartridge because he was shitfaced and trying to make a word count? No, that’s what your Uncle Rob does. But that’s not important right now.

The original title of the book was A Failed Entertainment. Because unlike with the cartridge, a smart person would realize that this “failed” entertainment only needed looping through twice, or maybe a few times, to get the full enjoyment from it.

But you didn’t stop to figure that out. Instead you quit after reading it once and bailed to bitch online about the “ending” without ever stopping to remember that the beginning happened after the ending.

I am a hard-drinking TV and movie freak, everything that Infinite Jest holds in contempt, and I still was able to make sense of and appreciate the ending. Wallace didn’t use the word “infinite” in the title and the text for the sheer, lunatic thrill of it, you pansy, please-hold-my-hand-mister-author wusses.

Jesus; I stopped writing at this Web site to focus on writing about comic books, and I was able to puzzle this out. Apparently academia needs its prodigal drunkard back.

Okay, Uncle Rob needs another brewski. So fuck off and read Infinite Jest again. At the very least, it’ll keep you from reading The Pale King. If I was Wallace, and so utterly misunderstood vis-a-vis my magnum opus and had 400 pages and nine years of that new pile of shit under my belt, I’d hang myself too.

Posted in General Jabbering | Leave a comment

Nerd Prom 2011: Hostage Situation

The San Diego Comic-Con is an exhausting endeavor – four and a half days of non-stop events, panels, celebrity sightings, freak photography, and waiting endlessly on line for the things that a normal American takes for granted as simple sustenance, such as food, liquor, water, booze, hangover remedies, hooch, liquor, liquor, aspirin and liquor.

When you bookend this experience with cross-country travel, it’s always smartest to ease your way into the gauntlet by making the trip as easy as possible; set your flight late enough to be able to sleep in, have a nice breakfast and lunch, and check into a clean, quiet room for a beer and a quiet sleep.

I am not smart.


“I want to try out this place Avenue 5 for lunch while we’re in San Diego,” my girl said, “The people on Yelp say that they have burgers with brie, and truffle fries.”

“Lemme see that,” I said. “Jesus, this place is hell and gone from Cartegena. I don’t recognize the address, but it’s at least a bunch of miles from the convention center. There’s no way we’ll be able to get there once the convention starts.”

“We would if we took an earlier flight,” she said.

“Are you shitting me? There are only two nonstop flights a day between Boston and San Diego, and the early one’s at, like, 9:30.”

“That’s not so bad,” she said.

“You’re right… provided that we’ve simultaneously stopped drinking and gone back in time to 1999. A 9:30 flight means that we need to be at the airport for 7:30 to give the TSA plenty of time to check the space between my sack and left leg for explosives.”

“Why don’t you just go through the porno scanner?”

“Because I like the idea of forcing a government employee to put his hands there after I’ve been walking through Boston for a couple of hours. It feels like civil dissent,” I said.

“That’s not civil, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal under the Geneva Convention.”

“Maybe,” I said, “But it’s easier on the throat than screaming, ‘Attica! Attica!’ Besides, it’s just a fucking cheeseburger.”

“Yup. It’s just a cheeseburger. But you could say that about anything. For example, ‘It’s just a blowjob.'”

I sighed. “Fine. We’ll book the early flight. But it’s on you to make sure we’re up early enough to get the T to the airport.”

“Fine,” she said, “I’ll set the alarm for 4:30 so we have time to clean up and – ”

“Make it 5:30,” I said.

“Don’t you want time to shower?” she asked.

“Attica! Attica!” Continue reading

Posted in Nerd Prom 2011, San Diego Comic Con | Leave a comment

Shaky Logical Ground

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier today a 9.8 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, causing a 23-foot tsunami to hit the island, killing hundreds and causing widespread devastation including the failure of the Fukushima nuclear reactor cooling system , which has forced the venting of radioactive gas in an attempt to prevent a meltdown.

Unlike similar disasters that have happened in recent years, there’s something about this one that feels… unbelievable. And that thing is that eighteen full hours have passed as of this writing, and yet Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps and their asshole buddies (And you can use whichever meaning of the phrase “asshole buddies” you like in this context) haven’t grabbed the first microphone they could find to say that it happened because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, hates us.

While on one hand this lack of God-slobbering in the face of widespread human tragedy is somewhat refreshing, the fact of the matter is that the people of Japan need help quickly, and I’m afraid that until someone goes on record to blame this unpredictable natural event on somebody’s “sins”, this feeling of unreality will persist and hinder the mobilization of relief efforts. And since I am unable to donate money to the cause since I am unable to find anyone who will give me whiskey for free, I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and do my part by indiscriminately slinging blame around.

Continue reading

Posted in Assorted Humor, Satire and Libel | Tagged | Leave a comment

Derp Technician

My girl has a unique talent. Whenever she hits the pause button on the remote control, she invariably manages to lock onto a frame of film where the person on the screen appears to have some form of nerve damage or debilitating palsy.

It’s uncanny; with her eyes shut and the sound off, she can fire that button and make Johnny Depp look like he’s in the process of shitting his pants. And I have every confidence, based on the Inverse Square Law, that by May she’ll be able to make Charlie Sheen look like he’s busily redefining Pi.

It was a source for mild amusement between us until we recently noticed that whoever handles the graphics on The Soup and The Daily Show seems to have the same skill. Meaning that my girl’s minor wild talent has apparently become a legitimate occupational calling, albeit one currently without an official name. Being clever people, we mashed together the phrase for a talented technical craftsman and an Internet meme and called the person responsible for making public figures look like they’re T-Plus a quarter second into wailing over a withheld Hostess Sno-Bal a DERP TECHNICIAN.

Which has been a nice inside joke for us, if a little tame by our normal standards – our other most recent in-joke is finding as many non-sequitered uses as possible for the Louis CK throwaway line, “What? You don’t like rape?” – and a nice way to inject some levity into a Saturday morning’s otherwise routine thudding hangover.

So I’ve begun to take it for granted that, on those shows, I will see pictures that seem cherrypicked to make the subject look as dim as possible, to the point where during the late news last night I did a doubletake, thinking, “Wha… channel 7 hired the Derp Technician from The Soup?”

Nope. Turns out that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker just looks that retarded naturally.

Continue reading

Posted in Editorial, Foul-Mouthed Demagoguery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Learning To Flinch

President Obama was in my hometown yesterday to simultaneously talk about the importance of education and call his own into question, because a truly intelligent and educated man would have known to postpone visiting Boston until next Thursday.

Since this is Massachusetts, President Obama could easily have gotten rabid applause making an speech promising to educate kids in Dorchester by starting a band, but the election is coming up fast and he’s got a Republican Congress with which he wants to “reach a bipartisan agreement” (Much like the similar agreements reached daily in our finer prison showers), so he had to spin out the old arguments that the education system is “broken“, and is in desperate need of “reform, and most of all, results,” which is a hell of an argument from a guy who used to be a fucking teacher.

The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations… In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” That’s what they’re — that’s how they’re described.

Big fucking deal. In South Korea, cocker spaniels are known as “antipasto”. Still, the man has daily access to CIA briefings, and if he’s suddenly worried about a gap between American and South Korean education, I can only surmise that he’s expecting an imminent invasion by the Zerg. Unless he’s just worried about our ability to keep up with the famous South Korean industriousness and rapid population growth?

And I’m assuming somebody who’s… saying, put away the video games and do your homework.

So much for competing with South Korea.

Continue reading

Posted in Editorial, Foul-Mouthed Demagoguery | Tagged | 2 Comments