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62

New Deals

(The) Depression and Devaluation in the Early Stories

7
terms
6
notes

about Crash of '69 (a short story that I haven't actually come across yet), John Billy, Westward, and, briefly, London. examining their links to the Great Depression and the New Deal that followed. this chapter also mentions Graeber's Debt book

Severs, J. (2017). New Deals. In Severs, J. David Foster Wallace's Balancing Books: Fictions of Value. Columbia University Press, pp. 62-87

64

[...] when the American winning streak had met another of its periodic, catastrophic ends--busts for a culture that seemed not so much expectant of constant boom as utterly dependent on it. [...]

just thought this was a nice line

—p.64 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

[...] when the American winning streak had met another of its periodic, catastrophic ends--busts for a culture that seemed not so much expectant of constant boom as utterly dependent on it. [...]

just thought this was a nice line

—p.64 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago
65

Wallace had an unerring sense that winners, examined from the oblique angles of his fition, were really losers--not schadenfreude, but a claim that any struggle other than that Kafkaesque one to "establish a human self" was utimately an illusory imposition of games' numbering and geometry on the flux of interpersonal experience and its essential lottery effects [...]

—p.65 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

Wallace had an unerring sense that winners, examined from the oblique angles of his fition, were really losers--not schadenfreude, but a claim that any struggle other than that Kafkaesque one to "establish a human self" was utimately an illusory imposition of games' numbering and geometry on the flux of interpersonal experience and its essential lottery effects [...]

—p.65 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago
67

[...] But "Crash of '69," the final title, suggests the theme is the crash of balance itself--note that the 6 and 9, unhinged from reference to a year, denote yin and yang, one's head chasing the other's tail. Wallace thus projects 1929 forward and expands it into a general crash of the American psyche and language.

also BS

—p.67 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

[...] But "Crash of '69," the final title, suggests the theme is the crash of balance itself--note that the 6 and 9, unhinged from reference to a year, denote yin and yang, one's head chasing the other's tail. Wallace thus projects 1929 forward and expands it into a general crash of the American psyche and language.

also BS

—p.67 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago
70

[...] Yes, it's great, this voice says, but might another product be greater? In this way Wallace expands the problem of use value and taste Karrier encountered: pursuing exhange value, especially as financial instruments grow more "advanced," almost inevitably leaves the body and feelings behind. On the personal level, "It's great" is the voice of a depressive denying his condition, but allowed to dictate the entire nation's conception of value, the forces of "It's great" are what produce the mania of pricing and stock-market crashes and widespread unhappiness. Wallace is preparing for Infinite Jest, where depression and a consumer culture of limitless, greater-and-greater choices will prove mutually reinforcing and utterly disastrous.

about a character saying "It's great" in "Crash of '69" (and bizarrely contrasting it with God seeing that it was good) ... seems like BS to me

—p.70 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

[...] Yes, it's great, this voice says, but might another product be greater? In this way Wallace expands the problem of use value and taste Karrier encountered: pursuing exhange value, especially as financial instruments grow more "advanced," almost inevitably leaves the body and feelings behind. On the personal level, "It's great" is the voice of a depressive denying his condition, but allowed to dictate the entire nation's conception of value, the forces of "It's great" are what produce the mania of pricing and stock-market crashes and widespread unhappiness. Wallace is preparing for Infinite Jest, where depression and a consumer culture of limitless, greater-and-greater choices will prove mutually reinforcing and utterly disastrous.

about a character saying "It's great" in "Crash of '69" (and bizarrely contrasting it with God seeing that it was good) ... seems like BS to me

—p.70 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 5 months ago

(noun) indigestion; ill humor; disgruntlement

73

Mark and D.L.'s dyspeptic traveling companion

describing Sternberg in Westward

—p.73 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

Mark and D.L.'s dyspeptic traveling companion

describing Sternberg in Westward

—p.73 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 5 months ago
77

[...] Watching an episode of Hawaii Five-0 leads J.D. to posit that the popular TV story of "white guys flying around in helicopters restoring order to his oriental island" reflects American anxiety over the Vietnam War (GCH 318). That is Wallace's invitation to read his novella--and its awkward inclusion of stereotyped "Orientals" at the Collision airport (GCH 302)--as an allegory of 1980s east/west competition: DeHaven, wearing the Ronald McDonald suit, represents a burger-flipping service economy but also, with his broken-down, homemade car, beleagured American auto manufacturing in the process of being overtaken, Wallace implies, by Japan. Hence the car full of Japanese people that speeds past the stranded, oilless main characters, leading to a racist rant from J.D. [...]

interesting theory

—p.77 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

[...] Watching an episode of Hawaii Five-0 leads J.D. to posit that the popular TV story of "white guys flying around in helicopters restoring order to his oriental island" reflects American anxiety over the Vietnam War (GCH 318). That is Wallace's invitation to read his novella--and its awkward inclusion of stereotyped "Orientals" at the Collision airport (GCH 302)--as an allegory of 1980s east/west competition: DeHaven, wearing the Ronald McDonald suit, represents a burger-flipping service economy but also, with his broken-down, homemade car, beleagured American auto manufacturing in the process of being overtaken, Wallace implies, by Japan. Hence the car full of Japanese people that speeds past the stranded, oilless main characters, leading to a racist rant from J.D. [...]

interesting theory

—p.77 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

besieged, troubled, beset with difficulties

77

beleaguered American auto manufacturing in the process of being overtaken

—p.77 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

beleaguered American auto manufacturing in the process of being overtaken

—p.77 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

(adj) anticipatory; a figure of speech in which the speaker raises an objection to their own argument and then immediately answers it; also called procatalepsis

78

David Boyd has a conversion proleptic of Chris Fogle's

—p.78 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

David Boyd has a conversion proleptic of Chris Fogle's

—p.78 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

(noun) a Greco-Christian term referring to "love: the highest form of love, charity", and "the love of God for man and of man for God

82

not even the absolute love of agape (what the Divinity students examine)

—p.82 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

not even the absolute love of agape (what the Divinity students examine)

—p.82 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

naturally accompanying or associated

83

Between those two points, in concomitant developments around "value",

—p.83 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

Between those two points, in concomitant developments around "value",

—p.83 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago
83

Between those two points, in concomitant developments around "value",

—p.83 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

Between those two points, in concomitant developments around "value",

—p.83 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago
84

[...] For Wallace, his 1980s generation may have inherited plenty of spending power from their parents, but again, in the realm of moral values, the children have been left with "an inheritance of absolutely nothing," with useless credit. [...] "Westward" places "credit," a term of finance, in the plane of human relationships. The pedantic D.L., confronting the Avis agent, gets the point across: "'Though the credit is unlimited,' [D.L.] says slowly, 'it's not ours, you're saying. It's unlimited, but it's not about responsibility, and so in some deep car-rental agency sense" (and, Wallace suggests, deep moral-philosophical "agency" sense) "isn't really credit at all?" (GCH 274). As with the farmer's grain evoking the Depression's devaluation of currency, Wallace ingeniously strips money away, laying bare the questions of honoring not the credit card but the credibility of the persons themselves. In this context, we should regard Mark himself as living currency: his name plays on the German mark (famous for 1920s hyperinflation), and his climactic realizations center on ideas about the "self's coin" (GCH 369), seemingly the medium honored in the "living transaction" of Wallace's fiction.

—p.84 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

[...] For Wallace, his 1980s generation may have inherited plenty of spending power from their parents, but again, in the realm of moral values, the children have been left with "an inheritance of absolutely nothing," with useless credit. [...] "Westward" places "credit," a term of finance, in the plane of human relationships. The pedantic D.L., confronting the Avis agent, gets the point across: "'Though the credit is unlimited,' [D.L.] says slowly, 'it's not ours, you're saying. It's unlimited, but it's not about responsibility, and so in some deep car-rental agency sense" (and, Wallace suggests, deep moral-philosophical "agency" sense) "isn't really credit at all?" (GCH 274). As with the farmer's grain evoking the Depression's devaluation of currency, Wallace ingeniously strips money away, laying bare the questions of honoring not the credit card but the credibility of the persons themselves. In this context, we should regard Mark himself as living currency: his name plays on the German mark (famous for 1920s hyperinflation), and his climactic realizations center on ideas about the "self's coin" (GCH 369), seemingly the medium honored in the "living transaction" of Wallace's fiction.

—p.84 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

German for servant or slave; mentioned in Hegel's "Lordship and Bondage" as Knechtschaft

86

Wallace activates the echo in the oddly spelled Nechtr of knecht

—p.86 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 4 months ago

Wallace activates the echo in the oddly spelled Nechtr of knecht

—p.86 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 4 months ago