I’ve created a new page on the site that collects the best of Infinite Jest fan art from around the internet.
Illustration by Chris Ayers
It’s possible that the source of Hal’s mental deterioration is revealed as early as page 10 of Infinite Jest, as Hal recalls an afternoon when he ate a handful of mold growing in the basement of their house. It has also been theorized that this mold may be in some way connected to the DMZ drug that factors into the plot in later chapters.
Long time followers of this blog may also notice that this is the first time I have posted any original art in a very long time. I’ve been sitting on this idea for awhile and wanted to publish for the blog’s 2 year anniversary.
If you have any requests for things in Infinite Jest that you would like to see illustrated, please post them on the Poor Yorick Entertainment Facebook Page.
Last month I shared a story about my meeting with JT Jackson, a good friend of David Foster Wallace who claimed to be a partial inspiration for the Michael Pemulis character. Jackson also claimed to have invited Wallace over one evening to listen to a record by Dr. Michael Pemulis whose name Wallace would appropriate for one of Infinite Jest’s most popular characters. I asked Jackson if he still had the record because I’d like to share it on my blog.
A reader of this blog, John Rangos III, picked up this Pemulis LP after reading Infinite Jest but was unsure of the connection to the book. My story about Jackson confirmed the connection so Rangos sent me photos of the record. It’s a split 12” with Poet’s Corner. It’s from 1987 and was published on Placebo Records. Placebo was the premiere punk label in Phoenix in the 80’s and was home for bands like Jodie Foster’s Army, Mighty Sphincter, The Feederz, Sun City Girls, The Teds and more.
Here’s a tracklisting and credits for the album.
University of Arizona “Piety Center” Newsletter - by David Foster Wallace and Jt. Jackson
This is way outside the focus of this blog, but I didn’t know where else to share it.
This afternoon I had a three hour conversation over coffee with Jt. (pronounced Jate) Jackson, a good friend of David Foster Wallace. The two of them were sort of rabble-rousers at The University of Arizona. They were in the Masters program together and had some some major differences with the faculty and administration at the school. They put together the above newsletter parody of U of A’s Poetry Center called The Piety Center. (Notice the multiple puns on the cover - Department of Slanglish, University of Aridzona). Wallace wrote and edited most of it. I got to skim it, although out of context it didn’t make a lot of sense. It mostly takes aim at other students and some faculty in the MFA program, including a entire page full of lightbulb jokes written by Dave. They published it anonymously but Jackson was identified as one of the culprits, being the one whose job it was to distribute the newsletter to the campus mailboxes. Most of the students took it as good-natured fun but some humorless members of the faculty took issue with it. While Wallace was able to retain his anonymity, the administration used it as an excuse to flunk Jackson out of the MFA program.
Jackson is a very interesting guy. He claims that the character of Michael Pemulis is partly based on him. It was Jackson who invited Dave over one day to listen to a record of a local Arizona musician named Michael Pemulis, whose name Wallace appropriated for one of Infinite Jest’s most popular characters. I asked Jackson if he still had that record and he said that he still owned a copy of a worn cassette but that a friend of his owned a vinyl LP. I’m hoping Jackson will be able to dig that up because it would be an interesting artifact for Infinite Jest fans. I did manage to dig up this supposed Pemulis music video, the validity of which has not been confirmed. http://wn.com/Dr_Michael_Pemulis
Jackson himself is quite a character. He looks like an older, more intellectual version of the X-Men’s Wolverine. He formerly served in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner. Like Wallace, he claims that he used to be capable of complicated math, but lost that ability after a near fatal car accident. He also told me lots of stories about Wallace’s younger days and said that his relationship with Wallace informed a lot of the stories in The Girl With Curious Hair.
I asked how a former Marine grew into such a rebel. “It’s a long story, but I was set up to be good.” Then he told me a story of how he walked onto a army base as a Sergeant with a military ID in a Jodie Foster’s Army t-shirt, which featured a bullseye painted on the forehead of the beloved then-president Reagan. Needless to say, he was asked by a superior officer to change clothes before he would be allowed on the base.
While I’ve only been a David Foster Wallace fan for about a year, it was still quite a treat to speak with someone so close to one of my favorite writers.
Design by Chris Ayers. Photo by Jamie Brelsford, courtesy of sxc.hu
If you made it to this page, I salute you.
Also, this image is formatted for the Facebook timeline cover image if you want to use it.
Design by Marie King
I always get excited when I see any Infinite Jest-inspired fan art on the internet. It’s a little outside the usual scope of this blog (visual artifacts that might exist within the world of the novel), but I liked this enough to include it here.
This was designed by Marie King and you can find more examples of her work here: http://marieking.blogspot.com/
This is a quote from Hal Incandenza, of course.
Design by Chris Ayers
There is an actual living pop singer named Johnny Gentle whose claim to fame was that he once had The Beatles as his backing band before they went on to become famous. The physical description of President Johnny Gentle is very much like the photos of the real Johnny Gentle that I found and I began to suspect that it was more than a coincidence. Johnny Gentle website
The Johnny Gentle of Infinite Jest is described as a handsome and charismatic former lounge singer, “the first U.S. President to ever swing his microphone around by the cord during his Inauguration Speech………managing somehow to look presidential in a Fukoama microfiltration mask…” President Gentle is a hygiene freak and germophobe and his affiliation with the Clean U.S. Party (C.U.S.P.) reflects this and defines his platform. While it’s probably unrealistic, I decided to depict Gentle in his filtration mask in the campaign poster.
I briefly considered creating a Rush Limbaugh campaign poster, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that, even as a joke.
Design by Chris Ayers
As far as I can tell from a quick Google search, there is no Allston High School, although there are a few high schools in Allston, MA.
If you’d like to show your Wolf Spider pride, the shirt is available for purchase here:
P.S. Wolf Spiders Ruleth the Land
Design by Chris Ayers
I think it’s kind of funny that the D in the EWD logo stands for ‘Displacement’ rather than ‘Disposal’, as you might expect. It’s sort of an honest admittal that all that stuff has to go somewhere. The displacement in this case is the population of the northeastern United States.
The curve in my design of the EWD logo is subtle nod to the Great Concavity/Convexity.
This is a ridiculous image, obviously. If you live near Enfield, MA you might become quite used to the constant drone of the ATHSCME fans blowing the noxious fumes back in the direction of the Concavity/Convexity but I think it would be hard to ignore the intermittent thwang of industrial catapults launching toxic waste capsules on an international flight.
Design & illustration by Chris Ayers
“The Medusa v. The Odalisque” - B.S. Latrodectus Mactans Productions. Uncredited cast; zone-plating laser holography by James O. Incadenza and Urquhart Ogilvie, Jr.; holographic fight choreography by Kenjiru Hirota courtesy of Sony Entertainment-Asia; 78 mm; 29 minutes; balck and white; silent w/ audience-noises appropriated from network broadcast television. Mobile holograms of two visually lethal mythologic females duel with reflective surfaces onstage while a live crowd of spectators turn to stone. LIMITED CELLULOID RUN; PRIVATELY RE-RELEASED ON MAGNETIC VIDEO BY LATRODECTUS MACTANS PRODUCTIONS
This is my second attempt at this poster. I just wasn’t satisfied with the first one. It relied heavily on someone else’s photograph and while I appreciate the photo for what it is, it just wasn’t as dynamic as what I had pictured in my head. I just took awhile to get the picture in my head out onto the paper.
Also, if you read the original post you might remember a mention of my own personal P.G.O.A.T. (Prettiest Girl of All Time) from seventh grade, April Moore - the tall and beautiful girl from another planet with whom I could never make eye contact. Through some creative Googling (cyber stalking) I found her online and I thought this photo in particular was very appropriate to the subject matter.
Also, I realized only after I had finished the piece that I had subconsciously drawn my first girlfriend as Medusa. So psychoanalyze that.
Download hi-res version
Design by Chris Ayers
I wonder what a casual, uninitiated viewer would make of this. I imagine it would probably be incomprehensible.What I would give to be able to read Infinite Jest’s Eschaton chapter again for the first time. I distinctly remember being in a restaurant when I read it because the other patrons kept looking at me as I tried unsuccessfully to stifle laughter.
I used Sam Potts’ character map of Infinite Jest as a starting point and then expanded upon it. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive play-by-play; I only listed the main events that lead to the scuffle at the end of the chapter. When it is clear that a particular player launched a warhead I have tried to indicate that. Otherwise the vectors come from the state. It is not clear exactly how many players participated in this game, but it is at least nine and not more than twelve. Eight of them are named and the player representing REDCHI is not named.
This is a first draft and I realize that there may be mistakes. My head hurts too much to think about it right now, but if you have suggestions of corrections please let me know.
The Tumblr version is somewhat hard to read, so you can download a high resolution version below:
Download hi-res version.
Design by Chris Ayers
“Good-Looking Men In Small Clever Rooms That Utilize Every Centimeter Of Available Space With Mind-Boggling Efficiency” - Unfinished due to hospitalization. UNRELEASED
This film was unfinished and unreleased, but that’s probably just as well because I can’t imagine trying to fit “Good-Looking Men In Small Clever Rooms That Utilize Every Centimeter Of Available Space With Mind-Boggling Efficiency” onto any movie theatre marquees.
Toward the end of the novel Hal watches a cartridge of this film. It appears to be about a depressed film professor who gives a “climactic lecture” to an audience of bored students. The man is played by P.A. Heaven a non-professional actor whom Incandenza cast whenever the role “required a deadening institutional presence.” The protagonist of the film is weeping as he delivers the lecture while the students seem to be unaffected by this.
The film seems to be focused on the world of academia so I wonder if the “small clever rooms” might refer to classrooms, but it doesn’t seem as if P.A. Heaven’s character is especially “good-looking.”
The little that we know of the film seems to suggest that it is about the loneliness of the intellectual - the difficulty and unsatisfying experience of trying to communicate with people who do not meet your own level of discourse.
The film also seems like a very cynical parody of inspirational teacher movies like Stand and Deliver or Dead Poets Society.
Design by Chris Ayers
“Homo Duplex” - B.S. Latrodectus Mactans Productions. Narrator P.A. Heaven; Super-8 mm; 70 minutes; black and white; sound. Parody of Woititz and Shulgin’s ‘poststructual antidocumentaries,’ interviews with fourteen Americans who are named John Wayne but are not the legendary 20th-century film actor John Wayne. MAGNETIC VIDEO (LIMITED RELEASE)
Two definitions I found for the term homo duplex:
(cell and molecular biology) A deoxyribonucleic acid duplex in which the nitrogenous bases of the two strands are precisely complementary.
From Ahmad Afzaal’s Blog:
Homo duplex is Latin for “the double human.” It implies that all humans have two closely related but very distinct sides to their being. The distinction between these two sides is sometimes experienced with such sharpness that we may even say that there are two distinct beings in each human. Each self, then, is double.
The double nature of humans certainly relates to the character of John Wayne. Wayne is the golden boy of Enfield Tennis Academy but it’s clear that he has a dark side. He’s discovered having a sexual affair with Avril Incandenza and is suspected to be an AFR mole inside ETA. He also goes a little crazy after ingesting some drugs and goes on a rant over the ETA intercom.
The name of this film is somewhat mysterious because it seems to obviously refer to the dual nature of John Wayne, but does that mean Incandenza realized the dual nature of Wayne during the making of this film?
I wanted to add a couple of comments from members of the Poor Yorick Entertainment Facebook page:
Jusdon Picco: Dr. Janet Woititz wrote the New York Times Best Seller Adult Children of Alcholics, considered worldwide to be the definitive work describing the issues specific to those who were raised in families impacted by alcohol, drugs and the dysfunctional behaviors of others. Alexander Shulgin is the pharmacologist credited with the popularization of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.
Jack M. Dominey: I don’t see the Homo Duplex title as referring to John “NR” Wayne, since if I recall correctly he was left out of the film when his father refused permission for Incandenza to use footage of the interview (or to film him at all?).
Most of these posters are currently available on my Cafe Press shop but I’m going to be shutting it down soon because I’m not even making enough to cover the monthly cost of operating a storefront. So, If you were planning to buy something I would say do it now.
Or, better yet, you can download hi-res print-quality versions of these for free and have them printed at your local copy shop to save yourself a ton of money. And since I’m giving these away instead of selling them, I can make available the ones with corporate logos like the Subsidized Time and The Whataburger Invitational.
Most of the designs are 11x17 at 300 dpi. All are high resolution jpegs with minimal compression.
Visit this link to download: http://chris-ayers-design.com/poor-yorick-entertainment-downloads
Design by Chris Ayers
Here’s an enlargement of the Choosy Mothers album from the Boston Globe review.
Choosy Mothers is referenced in a section about Bruce Green and are one of many suburban, blue collar rock bands that Green grew up listening to. I imagine them to sound something like The Replacements or Bruce Springsteen. Pretty much the only other thing you can infer about the band comes from its name - that it probably is a reference to Jif peanut butter’s tagline “”Choosy mothers choose Jif”, which has been around for decades. This is pretty literally reflected in the design.
In the endnote about Choosy Mothers it states that they are sort of past their prime and somewhat passe and that the band has broken up so that its members can pursue other creative avenues. For this reason (and for lack of an actual album name in the text) I chose to make it a greatest hits album.