Quoting Hal/DFW on page 900:
"It now lately sometimes seemed a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or a pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe."
On page 934 Gately, drunk on pain, sees a vision of "the sad kid holding something terrible up by the hair and making the face of somebody shouting in panic: Too Late".-What were you intending to do when you started this book?
-I wanted to do something sad. I'd done some funny stuff and some heavy, intellectual stuff, but I'd never done anything sad. And I wanted it not to have a single main character. The other banality would be: I wanted to do something real American, about what it's like to live in America around the millennium.
-And what is that like?
-There's something particularly sad about it, something that doesn't have very much to do with physical circumstances, or the economy, or any of the stuff that gets talked about in the news. It's more like a stomach-level sadness. I see it in myself and my friends in different ways. It manifests itself as a kind of lostness. Whether it's unique to our generation I really don't know.
"Infinite Jest" is the uncanny nightmare of the dream offered us in today's headlines: groceries, videos, information, the world available "on demand."
It paints a nation of millions "plugged in" like the lab rat which freely chooses stimulation of its brain's pleasure center to food and water, and starves smiling.
Events resonate, repeat, recombine. The multitude of tales twist around each other as they descend. Imagine a double-helix in which visible directly across from each high is the low toward which one is falling. Forever falling the end always in sight. Such is the movement of Infinite Jest's plot. Such is the fate of the addicts whose courses it charts.
"In the case of "Infinite Jest," we are in a depressing, toxic and completely commercialized postmillennial America. The president is a former singer named Johnny Gentle, who heralds the advent of a "tighter, tidier nation."
[...] Again and again, the reader is asked to consider the dialectic between freedom and authority (be it the authority of the state or the authority of Alcoholics Anonymous), the relationship between cause and effect, passivity and power and the need of human beings to order their lives through obsession and distraction.
"It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle to me," says Hal, "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."
[...] At the end, that word machine is simply turned off, leaving the reader - at least the old-fashioned reader who harbors the vaguest expectations of narrative connections and beginnings, middles and ends - suspended in midair and reeling from the random muchness of detail and incident that is "Infinite Jest."
Here, as my so-called-tribute to David Foster Wallace, a serie of girls/actresses with curious hair styles: