Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

187

The Politics of Boredom and the Boredom of Politics in The Pale King

3
terms
2
notes

the history of boredom (acedia, melancholy, ennui, etc); how TPK documents a variety of boredoms (the existential, the quotidian, that arising from neoliberalism). he talks a lot about boredom and neoliberalism (cites David Harvey's Brief History of Neoliberalism and quotes its definition), and gives some political and historical context for Chris Fogle's chapter + Spackman stuff. on how giving in to boredom is irresponsible and childish; instead we must transcend it. it may be boring to pay attention to things other than the self, but if we want to find relevance and meaning, that's where we'll find them.

Clare, R. (2014). The Politics of Boredom and the Boredom of Politics in The Pale King. In ? David Foster Wallace and "The Long Thing": New Essays on the Novels. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 187-208

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

188
—p.188 default author
unknown
1 year, 8 months ago
—p.188 default author
unknown
1 year, 8 months ago

ridiculous, foolish

190

stultifying political and economic systems

—p.190 default author
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

stultifying political and economic systems

—p.190 default author
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago
194

An even more damning comment on this older existential discourse occurs in the middle of Chris Fogle's story of personal conversion from “wastoid" to IRS devotee and wiggler. Fogle describes taking, ironically enough, a "Literature of Alienation" course during his "nihilistic" years at Fogle's failure to get through Camus' The Fall is partly ironic in and of itself, but his ability "to totally bullshit my way through the Literature of Alienation midterm" (186-7) suggests that there is something outdated or cliched about "alienation" and existential thought in the postmodern era. Whether or not the "B" Fogle received on the exam is really indicative of "a meaningless bullshit response to meaningless bullshit" (187), it does reveal the limitations of any literature of alienation. Instead of finding something of value in existentialist literature (for which, considering his nihilistic outlook on life at the time, he would appear primed), the younger Fogle finds it a waste of time and can easily mimic its familiar discourse.

inspiration

—p.194 by Ralph Clare 1 year, 6 months ago

An even more damning comment on this older existential discourse occurs in the middle of Chris Fogle's story of personal conversion from “wastoid" to IRS devotee and wiggler. Fogle describes taking, ironically enough, a "Literature of Alienation" course during his "nihilistic" years at Fogle's failure to get through Camus' The Fall is partly ironic in and of itself, but his ability "to totally bullshit my way through the Literature of Alienation midterm" (186-7) suggests that there is something outdated or cliched about "alienation" and existential thought in the postmodern era. Whether or not the "B" Fogle received on the exam is really indicative of "a meaningless bullshit response to meaningless bullshit" (187), it does reveal the limitations of any literature of alienation. Instead of finding something of value in existentialist literature (for which, considering his nihilistic outlook on life at the time, he would appear primed), the younger Fogle finds it a waste of time and can easily mimic its familiar discourse.

inspiration

—p.194 by Ralph Clare 1 year, 6 months ago

(stagnation + inflation) when inflation is high, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high

197

quoted from TPK

—p.197 by David Foster Wallace
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

quoted from TPK

—p.197 by David Foster Wallace
notable
1 year, 8 months ago
200

In using the IRS as representative of neoliberalism in general, The Pale King is able to connect neoliberalism back to boredom in an illuminating way. This becomes evident when David Wallace remarks that "[t]he real reason why US citizens were/are not aware of these conflicts, changes, and stakes is that the whole subject of tax policy and administration is dull. Massively, spectacularly dull" (83). Thus it is that boredom and apathy become a kind of political tool, or a sure bet to manufacture consent, since "if sensitive issues of governance can be made sufficiently dull and arcane, there will be no need for officials to hide or dissemble, because no one not directly involved will pay enough attention to cause trouble" (84). It would seem, then, that choosing not to pay attention to such "boring" things as political and economic issues does not mean one will lead a life "free" of constraint, but that one will pay off this debt with the freedoms that were granted long ago.

basically neoliberalism crept up on us under cover of boredom

—p.200 by Ralph Clare 1 year, 6 months ago

In using the IRS as representative of neoliberalism in general, The Pale King is able to connect neoliberalism back to boredom in an illuminating way. This becomes evident when David Wallace remarks that "[t]he real reason why US citizens were/are not aware of these conflicts, changes, and stakes is that the whole subject of tax policy and administration is dull. Massively, spectacularly dull" (83). Thus it is that boredom and apathy become a kind of political tool, or a sure bet to manufacture consent, since "if sensitive issues of governance can be made sufficiently dull and arcane, there will be no need for officials to hide or dissemble, because no one not directly involved will pay enough attention to cause trouble" (84). It would seem, then, that choosing not to pay attention to such "boring" things as political and economic issues does not mean one will lead a life "free" of constraint, but that one will pay off this debt with the freedoms that were granted long ago.

basically neoliberalism crept up on us under cover of boredom

—p.200 by Ralph Clare 1 year, 6 months ago