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88

Dei Gratia

Work Ethic, Grace, and Giving in Infinite Jest

8
terms
7
notes

apparently Don Gately is the character who makes IJ a masterpiece (p.88). This chapter's all about IJ: the Protestant ethic when it comes to work, the critiques of neoliberalism and trade, the portrayal of addiction as slavery, the questioning of wealth as something inherently valuable. Some other topics covered: grace and redemption, gifts, and language being the ultimate commonwealth (p.127).

Severs, J. (2017). Dei Gratia. In Severs, J. David Foster Wallace's Balancing Books: Fictions of Value. Columbia University Press, pp. 88-134

same thing as Hercules; divine hero in Greek mythology who had to perform 12 labours

89

Burn identifies Gately with Heracles and his legendary twelve labors

wasn't sure if Hercules and Heracles were the same lol

—p.89 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

Burn identifies Gately with Heracles and his legendary twelve labors

wasn't sure if Hercules and Heracles were the same lol

—p.89 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

(Greek) spiritual or mental sloth; apathy; a state of listlessness or torpor

91

interpreting the state of acedia in terms of its anticapitalist and Luddite potential

—p.91 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

interpreting the state of acedia in terms of its anticapitalist and Luddite potential

—p.91 by Jeffrey Severs
uncertain
3 years, 4 months ago

(adj) having or susceptible to many applications, interpretations, meanings, or values

96

a multivalent noun here

—p.96 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 4 months ago

a multivalent noun here

—p.96 by Jeffrey Severs
notable
3 years, 4 months ago
97

[...] One resonance of Gately's DG initials is the decigram, a common measure for drug sales, the "tenth of a gram" cocaine customers beg for [...]

really??

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

[...] One resonance of Gately's DG initials is the decigram, a common measure for drug sales, the "tenth of a gram" cocaine customers beg for [...]

really??

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago
97

Thus when Hal says in the book's stark, one-line second paragraph, "I am in here" (IJ 3), rather than a statement of location, it is the cry "I EXIST," familiar from Wallace's Markson review (BF 83). I hear in this remark "I ... in-here" or "I inhere", meaning there is a substantialness to Hal's valueless self [...]

where does he get "I inhere" from

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

Thus when Hal says in the book's stark, one-line second paragraph, "I am in here" (IJ 3), rather than a statement of location, it is the cry "I EXIST," familiar from Wallace's Markson review (BF 83). I hear in this remark "I ... in-here" or "I inhere", meaning there is a substantialness to Hal's valueless self [...]

where does he get "I inhere" from

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

(verb) exist essentially or permanently in

97

I inhere

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago

I inhere

—p.97 by Jeffrey Severs
confirm
3 years, 4 months ago
100

As the analogies betwen tennis and capitaist striving mount, we imagine the E.T.A players as young workers who have difficulties--and who are systematically kept from--balancing their massive physical exertions with mental labor on the question of what all this body-work is for, the "question[] of why" (IJ 900). [...]

—p.100 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

As the analogies betwen tennis and capitaist striving mount, we imagine the E.T.A players as young workers who have difficulties--and who are systematically kept from--balancing their massive physical exertions with mental labor on the question of what all this body-work is for, the "question[] of why" (IJ 900). [...]

—p.100 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago
102

NAFTA, negotiated throughout the late 1980s and ratified in December 1992, is widely seen as a signature extension of the logic of neoliberalism from the Reagan-Bush years into the Clinton era. As James McCarthy writes regarding the deregulatory and antistate logic behind such agreements, "These common neoliberal prescriptions [are] contributions to an overarching goal of increasing the flexibility and profitability of capital." McCarthy also notes the dire effects of such agreements for environment regulation and health, which Wallace toys with in depicting the Great Concavity. [...]

I didn't actually know that

—p.102 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

NAFTA, negotiated throughout the late 1980s and ratified in December 1992, is widely seen as a signature extension of the logic of neoliberalism from the Reagan-Bush years into the Clinton era. As James McCarthy writes regarding the deregulatory and antistate logic behind such agreements, "These common neoliberal prescriptions [are] contributions to an overarching goal of increasing the flexibility and profitability of capital." McCarthy also notes the dire effects of such agreements for environment regulation and health, which Wallace toys with in depicting the Great Concavity. [...]

I didn't actually know that

—p.102 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago
104

Steeply's name also suggests the steeply sloped yield curve of returns on investments, which are often rendered in terms of mathematical function as Y(t), or yield over time--hence a "steep Y" (= Steeply?). [...]

this actually kind of makes sense tho it sounds crazy at first

—p.104 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

Steeply's name also suggests the steeply sloped yield curve of returns on investments, which are often rendered in terms of mathematical function as Y(t), or yield over time--hence a "steep Y" (= Steeply?). [...]

this actually kind of makes sense tho it sounds crazy at first

—p.104 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago
105

While Infinite Jest obviously develops around analogies between addict and consumer, less obvious is the role played by slavery in defining the interface between the two. Wallace portrays the addict as one who lacks true economic agency to the point of being a slave--to being, in my terms, one who receives no value at all in return for his work. [...]

—p.105 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

While Infinite Jest obviously develops around analogies between addict and consumer, less obvious is the role played by slavery in defining the interface between the two. Wallace portrays the addict as one who lacks true economic agency to the point of being a slave--to being, in my terms, one who receives no value at all in return for his work. [...]

—p.105 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago
112

Initials continue generating meaning for Wallace here. The joke meaning of Hal's HI initials is that he is high all the time, but there is also a sacred meaning available to him, an eastern variation on his incandescence: in Japanese Buddhism, the character transliterated as "ka" or "hi" means fire, one of five elements and associated physically with body heat and mentally with passion. Gately's DG has sacred possibilities as well, for the letters point to his most important coin association, an abbreviation seen, among other places, on the obverse of the British pound: along the edge it reads, "ELIZABETH II DG REG FD." [...]

do they generate meaning for Wallace or do they just generate meaning for Jeffrey Severs

—p.112 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

Initials continue generating meaning for Wallace here. The joke meaning of Hal's HI initials is that he is high all the time, but there is also a sacred meaning available to him, an eastern variation on his incandescence: in Japanese Buddhism, the character transliterated as "ka" or "hi" means fire, one of five elements and associated physically with body heat and mentally with passion. Gately's DG has sacred possibilities as well, for the letters point to his most important coin association, an abbreviation seen, among other places, on the obverse of the British pound: along the edge it reads, "ELIZABETH II DG REG FD." [...]

do they generate meaning for Wallace or do they just generate meaning for Jeffrey Severs

—p.112 by Jeffrey Severs 3 years, 4 months ago

(adjective) depending on an uncertain event or contingency as to both profit and loss / (adjective) relating to luck and especially to bad luck

119

finding a limited grace means combining hard work with an essentially aleatory view of the self that is reminiscent of existentialism

cool word

—p.119 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

finding a limited grace means combining hard work with an essentially aleatory view of the self that is reminiscent of existentialism

cool word

—p.119 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

a stupid, awkward, or unlucky person

119

inspired by Sartre's Nausea as much as Pynchon's schlemihls

—p.119 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

inspired by Sartre's Nausea as much as Pynchon's schlemihls

—p.119 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

(noun) an expression of real or pretended doubt or uncertainty especially for rhetorical effect / (noun) a logical impasse or contradiction / (noun) a radical contradiction in the import of a text or theory that is seen in deconstruction as inevitable

120

the gift is, inevitably, an aporia, since it necessarily produces an exceptation of return or reimbursement

—p.120 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

the gift is, inevitably, an aporia, since it necessarily produces an exceptation of return or reimbursement

—p.120 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

(noun) charity

123

a sense of caritas underwritten by eros

—p.123 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago

a sense of caritas underwritten by eros

—p.123 by Jeffrey Severs
unknown
3 years, 4 months ago