Saturday, 2 November 2013

Infinite Jest's transferrable language

I’m in the midst of completing my dissertation on David Foster Wallace, and found myself trying to explain to someone the other day how Infinite Jest changes your life (this is a cliche, I don’t care, if you read it you’ll know exactly what I mean). One of the things I described was how, for at least a month after I finished reading - and still now, at times - words or phrases from the book pop into my head, and I find myself describing things (only internally, obviously) in Wallace’s lingo. Language can do strange things to you. 

I’ve had a look on the internet, and found a ‘wiki’ for Infinite Jest, but nowhere that seems to detail particular phrases that he uses that you could actually use (if you ever find yourself in a situation with a gun and some weed). So, here is a (by no means exhaustive) guide to Infinite Jest’s wonderful, idiosyncratic lexicon.

Head-gaming/ Jonesing/ Mokus - Intellectual play: ‘I hate Todd, he’s always jonesing’. 

Map - Head: ‘My map is in a mess right now’.

Eliminate/d ‘his/her’ map - killed him/her: ‘Billy eliminated Joe’s map’. 

[to] Eat cheese - Rat someone out, inform: ‘John went to jail and ate cheese’.

Screaming Fantods - the creeps: ‘that movie gave me the screaming fantods’.

Greebles - those bits of tissue that are left when you rub something wet/‘sleep’ in the corner of your eye: ‘there are some greebles in your eyes’.

Item - Handgun: ‘Tom pulled out his handgun’. 

Material/Bob Hope - Dope: ‘Hey, you got any material?’

The Disease - Addiction: ‘the Disease ate away at him’. 

I’ll probably add more as I remember them! But, here you go, some new ways of thinking, new ways of talking: that can never be a bad thing. 


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