Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: The Causes and Effects of Terrorism

    Infinite Jest is a terrorism novel. This is, in a lot of ways, no surprise.  David Foster Wallace counted Thomas Pynchon and Don Delillo as influences and both of them were interested in the topic of terrorism.  Also, it's an interesting topic for fiction and though we tend to talk about it in terms of a post-9/11 vocabulary, terrorism has always been a way that a few people have tried to influence masses and it hasn't changed all that much.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Social Media, Self Creation, Glamour Shots, and Justin Bieber

    Social media has given us the gift/curse of being able to express our fractal selves in a variety of ways. In society we're (x); at home we're (y), but on social media we can be whoever we want to be. The person in our profiles can be a refined caricature of ourselves or a new creation that reflects our deepest desires. Our social media personas, in many respects, have become as real as our flesh and bones.

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Political Advice from the Past

    I'm at a rare books library this week, with politics happily tuned down to a lower volume. That's true even though the library is around the corner from the Capitol Building, and almost across the street from the Supreme Court. So I was in town for Mitch McConnell's continued resistance to the eminent Merrick Garland, but I am busy doing other things.

    Ramona's picture

    Mitch McConnell Tells a Big Fat Lie. Or Two.

    Today, a little more than a month after Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly while hunting at a Texas ranch, President Obama announced his choice for a replacement.  He has chosen Merrick Garland, a D.C Circuit judge well known by most Beltway pols, almost unanimously endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats during previous nominations, a man whose views range from moderate to conservative, appealing to all but the most liberal among us.

    This choice by Obama was, by all accounts, deliberate.  Republicans are on record singing Garland's praises. They go way back, these guys. Good man!  If anyone could get through the gawdawful GOP gantlet this most brilliant choice for SCOTUS would be it.
    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Meta: How To Fight at Dagblog

    So, my plan has been to only blog about Infinite Jest until I'm done with my second read of the book.  That also gives me a nice chance to play in the comments on the other posts and not be one of the loudest voices in the room re: The Primary.

    That said, we've seen rising tensions re: The Primary.

    Now, I've played my fair share of War Games online...

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dear Republicans: You Did This. You Fix It.

    Dear Republicans: I know that many of you are upset by Donald Trump's rise. I know that many of you are horrified. But let's be frank. This is your party. You did this. I won't walk through the details. But the thing speaks for itself: the Republican Party planted the seeds for this, cultivated those seeds through campaign season after campaign season, and now they have borne strange fruit.

    You did this. You have to fix it.

    Topics: 
    Danny Cardwell's picture

    An Open Letter To Angry Trump Supporters

    Dear Angry Trump Supporter: I get it. For the better part of forty years I've felt an anxiety similar to what you're experiencing now. Our anger isn't that different; it's connected to our shared inability to alter our day-to-day realities in any significant way. We share an uncomfortable truth: we're stuck reacting to the ebbs and flows of society because we're powerless to control them. You've seen sections of this country abandoned by the powers that be. Some of you have been suffering economic hardships in silence for decades.

    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: President John Gentle and the Rise of Donald Trump

    As recapped in the excellent biography by D.T. Max David Foster Wallace loved television and could binge-watch with the best of them in the years before streaming Netflix. Netflix is, by the way, something that Wallace seems to have seen coming. In Infinite Jest, Netflix is an entertainment company called Interlace that sells both streaming videos and entertainment cartridges. Interlace basically destroys the advertising industry and the big television networks, by offering people the entertainment they want, when they want it.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Republican Race is Over

    As I read article after article about brokered conventions and #NeverTrump campaigns and "paths" to the nomination, I'm struck by the sad futility of it all.

    It may still be numerically possible for Trump to lose the nomination, but practically speaking, les jeux sont faits.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Where were you, Senator?

    Any time you leave a bad idea or a dangerous idea alone, any time you ignore what could become an evil force, you wind up regretting it.

    -- Lindsey Graham

    Thank you for these wise words, Senator. I couldn't agree with you more. But pardon me for asking, where the hell have you been?

    Topics: 
    Ramona's picture

    When the cameras leave Flint, Michigan Will Still Be Michigan

    On January 1, 2011, Rick Snyder, Michigan's new governor was sworn in.  Almost immediately after he solemnly swore to uphold the duties of his office, he made it clear that Michigan was in for a drubbing.  He was going to Make Michigan Great Again. The message was clear: "I'm the boss and you're not. I have friends in high places and you don't. Thanks for the votes, now get outta here."

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Trump vs Hamilton

    A brash loudmouth from New York City has been taking America by storm lately, to the consternation of the traditional political elite. I'm talking, of course, about Alexander Hamilton, and about Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's monstrous, Grammy-winning Broadway hit.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: An Artistic Dilemma

    I think that a problem artists have, when trying to deal with the world, is that we tend to know ourselves better than we know anyone else and we tend to be a cerebral, analytical and, to borrow an old term from Woody Allen, "verbal," lot.  David Foster Wallace was, artistry aside, a genius level intelligence.  He was not only extremely facile with the English language and possessor of a large vocabulary, but was highly educated in arcane modern branches of philosophy and mathematics as well.  He also had excellent understandings of music and competitive sports.

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Personal Note

    As many people who read this blog know, my mother has been very ill for some time. I don't have much to say about that, but having mentioned how sick she was it seems strange to let the topic drift off inconclusively.

    My mother has passed away. We had her funeral a week ago. I may have more to say about that later, but right now I do not.

    If you are a praying type, spare a few thoughts for my dad, who was married to her for more than 47 years, and who has suffered the heaviest loss of all. Thank you.

    Topics: 
    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Acceptable Blacks Bernie Sanders And Race

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an Uncle Tom as: 1 : a black who is overeager to win the approval of whites (as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals). Politically, this derogatory term was almost exclusively used to describe the 5-7% of African Americans who identify as Conservative or Republican, but lately it's being used to describe African Americans who support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders' inability to win over black voters in the south has caused some of his supporters, irrespective of race, to choose the easier path of Ad Hominem attacks to explain this electoral rejection instead of finding the disconnect and working to fix it. Bernie, like anyone "new" to the southern political scene, was going to have a hard time taking support away from Hillary Clinton. Yes, for the 1,378th time, I know he was part of student protests in Chicago and marched in Washington during the 60's; I know he publicly supported Jesse Jackson at a time when it wasn't politically advantageous to do so, but where has he been since then? This isn't a rhetorical question. Bernie's political career as a mayor, congressman, and senator happened in a state with virtually no racial diversity. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, will black voters in the south support Bernie Sanders?

    Topics: 
    Ramona's picture

    Bernie and Hillary and Me: Can't We All Be Friends?

    I agree with Bernie Sanders on almost everything.  I agree that the minimum wage should be raised--even higher than Bernie advocates.  I agree that workers are being shafted and our jobs have to come back from overseas. I agree that health care for all without stipulations or roadblocks has to become reality.  I agree that we can't keep funding wars around the world.

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    I'm With Her

    In 2008, I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. I would have backed Hillary in the general, happily. But I saw Obama as somewhat to Hillary's left, and I saw him as a superior campaigner who would make a stronger candidate.

    This year, I am voting for Hillary Clinton. She is strongest general election candidate the Democrats have this year, she will make a more effective president than any other Democrat in the field, and she is far better qualified than any other candidate in either party. My decision could not be simpler.

    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Infinite Winter: The Stages of Grief

    Within the first third of Infinite Jest we learn what happened when Hal Incandenza, a brilliant tennis player on the rise and son of filmmaker James Incandenza and brother of professional football kicker Orin Incandenza, found James after his suicide by microwave.

    James is the auteur behind the movie "Infinite Jest."  His suicide, perhaps on impulse after relapsing into alcoholism, was extremely gruesome.  He rigged a microwave so that he could put his head inside, effectively turning his cranium into a pressure-activated flesh bomb.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Bernie's Dream Is Set In A Nightmare

    1. (1) Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As president, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He will create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million.
    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Republicans' Choice: It's Trump or the Convention

    Donald Trump is now, after South Carolina, clearly leading the Republican primaries. Donald Trump has also been unable to get much beyond 35% of the vote in any primary or caucus. He has the largest share of support, but that share is only about a third of the Republican vote, and sometimes less. None of the other candidates can beat Trump, but that doesn't mean he's going to win.

    Topics: 

    Pages

    Latest Comments